2 JUNE 1939, Page 1

Japan and the Great Powers Japan is vigorously continuing her

policy of testing the strength and the policies of the Great Powers in the Far East by deliberately infringing their rights. The Kulangsu incident is not yet closed ; the British, French and Japanese naval authorities have agreed in a common desire to with- draw their forces, but Japan insists on the appointment of three additional Japanese members to the Municipal Council, which would give her control. Moreover, the Tokyo Foreign Office has explicitly affirmed Japan's right to send armed forces into the International Settlements in China, and at Kulangsu has asserted in practice the right to blockade them, as the settlement is now cut off by the Japanese from food- supplies from the mainland. A further abuse of inter- national rights, which has aroused strong protests, has been committed by' the stopping of the P. and 0. Ranpura ' and French and German liners; and Japan's interference with foreign shipping is reported to be increasing. Japan's vigour in inventing and asserting new rights in China is to be explained by the increasing pressure of the military and economic situation ; it is the vigour of a nation in crisis. Decrees issued last week impose a stricter mobilisation of materials for war purposes, and it is expected that food con- sumption will henceforward be restricted for the benefit of the export trade on which Japan depends for the foreign exchange, increasingly difficult to obtain, to pay for her imports of munitions.