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FOREIGN OFFICE FILES FOR JAPAN AND THE FAR EAST
Series One: Embassy & Consular Archives - Japan (1905-1940)
(Public Record Office Class FO 262)

Part 4: Detailed Correspondence for 1927-1929 (PRO Class FO 262/1673-1741)

Part 4 focuses on the growing status of Japan as a Great Power, her naval strength and industrial development under Emperor Hirohito. It makes available complete subject files for the years 1927 to 1929. These comprise detailed correspondence and background papers arranged alphabetically by subject heading within each calendar year.

There is an abundance of material on China, Japan and Manchuria. There are also lots of files on political developments in Japan and the rival factions with significant documents on:

  • The banking crisis of 1927 which brought down Wakatsuki's cabinet.
  • General Tanaka Giichi's much tougher policy towards China and his concerns about Japan's status in Manchuria.
  • Victories by Japanese forces halting the Kuomintang advance into north China.
  • The assassination of the Chinese war-lord of Manchuria, Chang Tso-lin, leading to the resignation of Tanaka's government in the summer of 1929. The 1928 conspiracy was a precursor to the events of 1931. Tanaka wanted to discipline those in the Army who were responsible, but the Emperor and the Chief of General Staff preferred to overlook the indiscipline. An important precedent had been set.

Hamaguchi's cabinet, containing some excellent men, took office in 1929. From here on scholars can study all the evidence about the moderate, liberal tendencies of Hamaguchi's administration against the background of increasing unease in the Army, the onset of the Depression and the expansion of the Japanese Navy. Researchers need to look at these files to fully understand the events of 1930 and 1931.

  • The files on Russia reveal that both British and Japanese Governments are nervous about Russian intentions in the region.
  • Material on Naval Disarmament sets the stage for the London Naval Disarmament Conference of 1930.
  • There is good material on the Iron and Steel Industry in Japan, the Economic Situation, Education, Housing, Import Duties, Railways and also on prominent individuals both in Japan and abroad.


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