Japan: Political And Economic Reports 1906–1970

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-900-0     Published: 1994, 2002
Extent:  14 volumes, 9,500 pages   Editor: R.L. Jarman
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings
See sample pages: not available


Japan: Political And Economic Reports 1906–1970 is a revised edition of Archive Editions’ 1994 title (Japan and Dependencies: Political and Economic Reports ) which ran up to 1960. It provides an extensive series of British diplomatic reports containing a continuous account of developments in Japanese history from 1906-1960, now updated by the addition of previously withheld documents from the 1940s and 2 volumes of documents from 1960-1970. It is further changed by the removal of the volumes relating to the dependencies, Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria.
The resulting 9500 pages is a considerable piece of research which provides descriptions and assessments of Japanese international relations, internal political and economic affairs and post-war civil and economic reconstruction following 1945, It is of particular importance as Japan has viewed latterly as one of the great engines of economic change in the twentieth century.


This publication provides a virtually complete collection of British diplomatic reports on Japan from 1906 to 1970. Original research in UK government archives has established for the first time orderly sequences of valuable historical documents, many of which were unknown or inaccessible or previously withheld.
The reports reflect in detail the evolution of relations between Japan and the UK from the early 20th century up to 1970. The collection also demonstrates the involvement of the UK, as well as the US, in the emergence of the ´new Japan´ after the second World War. The documents reveal in the greatest detail the complex process of administration and reconstruction of today´s industrial Japanese state. Collectively the series of reports presents a profound and complex research source for evidence of Japan´s development, as seen through foreign eyes, in the half-century dominated by two world wars as well as by Japan´s Asian wars with Russia and China. Only in the reports of the 1950s do we see emerging, and with incredible speed, the recognizable economic miracle of the modern Japan.
The British political reports start with the year 1906, following Japan´s war with Russia. The early volumes cover the death of the Emperor Meiji in 1912, the Regency of Hirohito in 1921 and his accession in 1928. The great disaster of September 1923 is reported - the destruction of half of Tokyo and the whole of Yokohama by earthquake and fire.
The reports reflect the expansion of the Japanese Empire, and although the reports concerning the administration of Formosa and Korea throughout the early period, and the annexation of Manchukuo in the early 1930s have been detached from the previous collection and are included in their respective country collections, the British diplomatic reports provide detailed discussion of the Manchurian question in and later, from 1937 on, the origins and progress of the war with China are observed and reported. In common with most countries where there was a British presence at the time there is little coverage available for World War I but the gradual advance of World War II and its extraordinary course including Pearl Harbour and Hiroshima/Nagasaki are covered in detail.
Following World War II, the documents reveal detailed aspects of the administration of the Allied Powers, working through the new Japanese Government and the new constitution. In 1946 the Emperor renounces his divinity and the reports reflect the progress of astonishing political and social reforms including disarmament, democratization, land reform and educational reform. 

Volumes 13 and 14 update the main set by the addition of previously withheld documents from the 1940s and 2 volumes of documents from 1960-1970: Volume 13: Political and Economic Reports 1960-1962;14 Political and Economic Reports 1963-1970. 

The decade 1960-1970 was the culmination of a long climb to prosperity under the sheet-anchor of defence of the country by the USA. Supply for US offshore procurement for the VietNam war helped to improve Japan's economic performance and a complete public abhorrance for any governmental spend on re-armament meant a concentration of improvement in living standards domestically. By the end of the decade, however, the return of Okinawa to Japanese control and the subsequent drawing back of the US administration meant that Japan was once again having to consider self-defence and the spending associated with it. furthermore, its position as a new economic giant provoked the international view that Japan should begin to shoulder its share of global economic responsibility: the "post-war era" was over.


This series comprises the periodic political and economic reports sent by British diplomats based in Japan from 1906 until 1970 – in other words, the reports on political and/or economic matters that were sent at regular intervals (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or annually). Some of these reports were written for publication (and can now be located at the British Library or Cambridge University Library). Other reports were confidential and were intended to be seen only by the British Foreign Secretary and permanent officials in the Foreign Office – these were only released to the general public 30, or in some cases 50, years after they were written, and some reports are still considered so sensitive that they have still not been released to public scrutiny. The released papers can now be examined in the Foreign Office files or Tokyo Embassy files, located in the Public Record Office, London. Obviously, this series can only publish what has been released – where there are some reports which are missing, we have pointed them out and ventured an explanation for their absence – either they were not written at all, or they were never received in London because of difficulty of transmission, or they have been withheld because of their continuing sensitivity.
Political Reports: Japan’s relations with foreign powers
The reports throw continuous and detailed light on the course of Japan’s turbulent foreign relations in the first half of the 20th century. The phase of imperial expansion and the territorial conflicts with Russia and China are clearly documented and analysed from the British diplomatic viewpoint. The most detailed narrative refers to relations with the British, including the question of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1921 and a variety of detailed political and economic questions throughout the pre-war and modern period. The post-war reports make numerous observations on Japanese-American relations, particularly during the period of U.S. occupation.
Economic Reports: development and trade
Economic reports are found regularly from 1930 to 1963, including both annual and monthly reports. The reports cover budget affairs, industrial production, shipping and trade figures as well as comment and analysis. The pre-war reports examine Japan’s capacity to finance the continuous military activity of the 1930s. The reports for the 1950s and 1960s reflect the dynamic post-war economic recovery. The immediate post-war reports have much to say on the formation and organisation of trade unions and on day-to-day labour problems.


Volume 1 Political Reports 1906-1922
Volume 2 Economic Reports 1906-1912
1906-1912 Trade Reports
Volume 3 Political Reports 1923-1931
1923-1931 Annual Reports
1931 25-year Review by Sir F. Lindley
Volume 4 Economic Reports 1913-1926
1913-1926 Department of Trade Reports
Volume 5 Political Reports 1932-1937
1932-1937 Annual Reports
1934-1935 Press Summaries
1935-1937 Political Diaries
Volume 6 Economic Reports 1926-1935
1926-1935 Department of Trade Reports
Volume 7 Political Reports 1938-1942
1938-1939 Annual Reports
1938-1940 Political Diaries
1940, 1942 Political Reviews
Volume 8 Economic Reports 1936-1941
1936-1941 All surviving annual, quarterly and monthly reports
Volume 9 Political Reports 1945-1953
1945 Review (August-September)
1945-1953 Political Diaries
1946-1953 Annual Reviews

Volume 10 Economic Reports 1947-1951
1947 Economic Notes
1947-1949 Labour Reports
1948-1951 Monthly Economic Reports
Volume 11 Political Reports 1954-1960
1954-1960 Political Diaries
1954-1960 Annual Reviews
Volume 12 Economic Reports 1952-1960
1952-1954 Monthly Economic Reports
1958-1959 Monthly Economic Reports
1958-1960 Annual Reviews
Volume 13 Political and Economic Reports 1960-1962
1961-1962 Political Diaries
1961 Political Reviews
1961-1962 Annual Reviews
1961-1962 Monthly Economic Reports
Volume 14 Political and Economic Reports 1963-1970
1963-1968 Political Diaries