Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation
The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation was signed on July 16th 1894. It is also referred to as Aoki- Kimberly Treaty or Nichi Ei Tsusho Kokai Joyaku in Japanese. It was signed between the Japanese and British. This treaty was championed by the Japanese and negotiations begun in the 1890s. The major negotiators of the treaty were Minister Hugh Fraser of Britain and Viscount Aoki Shuzo of Japan. However, following Minister Hugh Fraser’s sudden death in Tokyo, the treaty was actually signed in London by the Viscount and the 1st Earl of Kimberley, John Wodehouse.
What was the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation about?
The treaty was majorly negotiated with regard to the extra territorial issues between the two countries. The British who resided in Japan were governed by the British Law. This made it difficult for the foreigners to be judged through the local system. There were three areas of jurisdiction including the British Supreme Court for China, the British Court for Japan and the Court for Japan. There were also consular courts in every treaty port and these were used in addressing cases for the foreigners residing in Japan.
The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation targeted these extra territorial issues because they created inequality amongst the different parties. It aimed at providing jurisdiction for all the foreigners residing in Japan and abolishing all the consular courts.
Why was the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation important?
It is regarded as one of the most important breakthroughs that ended the era of unequal treaties between the Japanese and the British. It was very important for both parties to conclude and sign this treaty because the British and the Japanese needed to form an alliance. The Anglo-Japan alliance could not be formed because the parties were considered unequal. The law stipulated that alliances could not be formed between unequal parties. The move to sign the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation lifted off this obstacle and hence paved way for Japan and Britain to sign the Anglo-Japan Alliance in 1902.
What was the impact of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation?
Apart from the significant Anglo-Japan Alliance of 1902, the move by Japan and Britain to sign the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation had other impacts both at national and international levels.
The laws in Japan were changed and the British citizens residing in Japan would be subject to jurisdiction under the Japanese law rather than British law. However, this new law did not apply to the pending and ongoing cases. The old laws were abolished and so were the consular courts which were used in practicing them.
Additionally, other countries which had been practicing extra territorial laws also transformed their systems to ensure that foreigners were under the residing country laws. The separate laws that allowed foreigners to be tried in their original countries were thus abolished in most parts of the world.
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