26 MAY 1939, Page 3

Japan and the Axis Italy has had no choice but

to accept the military alliance pressed upon her by Berlin ; Japan, who can still decide her own policy, has this week finally iefused to enter into any new commitments with her partners in the Anti-Comintern Pact. The decision was only taken after a keen and pro- tracted struggle, in which the Army urged, and the Navy opposed, a doser alliance with Berlin and Rome. This divergence of opinion follows from the different tasks the two services have to perform. From a military alliance with the Axis, which would strengthen Germany for an open conflict in Europe, the Army hopes for some assistance in its unaccomplished conquest of China ; in Japan the reason for Chiang Kai-shek's successful resistance is found in the support China receives from Great Britain and America. The Navy, on the other hand, cannot but fear an alliance which might encourage the Axis Powers to engage in a conflict wherein Japan would be faced by the combined forces of Russia, Great Britain and America ; and the Navy's fears of such a result may well have been strengthened recently by the unexpectedly firm attitude adopted by Great Britain and America at Kulaiigsu. Agreement between the Army and Navy leaders was only reached at a meeting late last week, and the victory of the Navy view must also be re- garded as a victory for moderate opinion in Japan.

* * * *