Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
The logic of "refusal to allow meddling" : "Open door" policy and "Monroe Doctrine" in arguments about the League of Nations and Washington Conference
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2007 Volume 116 Issue 10 Pages 1629-1663


The main focus of this article is the perception within Japanese public opinion about how the East Asian international order should be structured and function following the end of the First World War. In concrete terms, the author discusses how the logic of "refusing to allow meddling in the affairs of East Asia" was formed through process of the founding of the League of Nations and the proceedings of the Washington Conference of 1921-22, and in what way this logic was legitimized, the answers to which will hopefully better clarify Japan's perceptions of East Asia at the time. Regarding the League of Nations, during its formation period, there were expectations in Japan that the new world organization would institute an "open door" policy for solving the problems at hand. Utilizing the League to force the United States, Great Britain and France to open their doors was no doubt an attempt by Japan to further its national interests, but at the same time was legitimized on the basis of such a policy being implemented in the spirit of internationalism. However, in reality, as a result of the Washington Conference, an open door policy was demanded of Japan, which led to a greater presence of the West, especially the United States, in the international affairs of East Asia. This the reason why the Conference was so strongly criticized in Japanese public opinion. This criticism was based on international law, the Monroe Doctrine and the "open door" policy itself. In any case, such criticism created the logic for Japan's claims to the right to refuse meddling by the West in the international affairs of East Asia. That is to say, Japan legitimized attempts to protect its national interests in the form of a "refusal to allow meddling" according the above three "universal principles." In response to the heavy pressure that was applied to abide by the "Washington Treaty system, " Japan stubbornly rebutted with its own logic of the right to "refute meddling, " which helped set the tone for subsequent political views about East Asian affairs in Japan.

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© 2007 The Historical Society of Japan
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