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 Original research in UK government archives has established for the first time orderly sequences of valuable historical documents, many of which were unknown or inaccessible or previously withheld.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.
ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES