(1800-1917) British – Japanese Naval Treaties

Because of the shift in power and possible threat to British interests, Britain and Japan signed a treaty on 31 January 1902 which lasted until 1923. Both parties affirmed that they were open door powers. The treaty was only broken as US insistence in 1923 as part of the Washington Naval Treaty discussions.

 

After the 1894 Sino-Japanese war, Japanese was the supreme naval power in the Far East and could “operate more cheaply than a squadron of European Powers”.[1] By this time she possessed 28 modern naval vessels with naval bases and dry-docks. In 1895 six battleships and six cruisers were added built along then British designs.[2]

Because of the shift in power and possible threat to British interests, Britain and Japan signed a treaty on 31 January 1902 which lasted until 1923. Both parties affirmed that they were open door powers. The treaty was only broken as US insistence in 1923 as part of the Washington Naval Treaty discussions.

Both parties affirmed in the agreement that:

If either Japan or Great Britain in defence of their respective interests should become involved in war with another power the other high contracting power will maintain a strict neutrality and use its efforts to prevent the other power from joining in hostilities against its ally. Furthermore, if any outside power should join in the hostilities the other party will come to its assistance and conduct the war in common.[3]

[1] Edwards, Peter J., The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service, Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation, 2010, p. 14.

[2] ibid., p. 14.

[3] ibid., p. 14.