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Abstract:

International Studies Paper
The Revision of Japan's Early Commercial Treaties.
Nigel Brailey, Sir Hugh Cortazzi, James Hoare and Ayako Hotta-Lister
November 1999
Paper No' IS/1999/377:
Full Paper (pdf)

A joint symposium between the Japan Society and the London School of Economics and Political Science was held in the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines on 9 July 1999 to mark the centenary of Treaty Revision in Japan. In the Bakumatsu period of the 1850s and 1860s Japan had entered into a number of commercial treaties with foreign countries which (among other things) gave foreign nationals extraterritorial rights in Japanese treaty ports. These treaties were re-negotiated with the individual countries in the 1890s and the new treaties came into effect in July-August 1899. Hence the centenary. The four speakers covered the full period from the conclusion of the first treaties in the 1850s to the re-negotiation of the treaties in 1911. Sir Hugh Cortazzi dealt with the various initiatives which led to the first commercial treaties with Japan between 1853 and 1868. Dr James Hoare, in dealing with the working of the early treaties and the attitudes of the foreign communities in the treaty ports, pointed out that the treaties had been modified many times. Dr Nigel Brailey spoke on Sir Ernest Satow who as British minister to Japan from 1895 was the responsible official as the 'unequal treaties' were coming to an end. He had earlier been minister in Bangkok and knew how strongly the Thais wanted their 'unequal treaties' revised at that time. While the question of jurisdiction under the treaties had been largely settled, the question of Japan's tariff autonomy remained unresolved. Dr Ayako Hotta-Lister in the final paper gave an account of how the Japanese, in a mood of increased confidence after the Russo-Japanese war, ended the earlier treaties with a view to concluding the Anglo-Japanese Tariff Treaty of 1911. By this re-negotiation Japan secured tariff autonomy and improved the terms of the commercial treaty but allowed concessions to Britain who had been her ally for almost a decade. Japan's struggle for treaty and tariff