No. 320.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.

No. 863.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith, for your information, the report of the Japanese minister of finance of the estimated revenues and expenditures of His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Government for the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1878, and ending June 30, 1879.

The report shows the present liabilities of the government to be 375,000,000 yen, and proposes to provide for a reduction thereof of 20,000,000 yen per annum and its full payment in twenty-eight years.

The revenues for the current fiscal year are estimated at 53,275,900 yen, and the expenditure thereof at a like amount.

Of the estimated revenue for the year 40,373,935 yen is to be derived from land tax alone, while but 1,070,684 yen is estimated from imposts upon imports for the year.

And this system of raising more than three-fourths of the national revenue by a tax on the lands of the producers of the nation’s bread is the necessary result of the existing commercial restrictions imposed by treaties upon this empire and to perpetuate which is the manifest purpose, in my opinion, of some of the European states. It is to the honor of the United States of America that its government, under your just and enlightened action, has declared its-readiness to lift from the oppressed people of Japan this burden, too grievous longer to be borne.

I have, &c.,

[Page 514]
[Inclosure in No. 863.]


[From the Tokio Times, September 14, 1878.]

notification no. 38.

To Kuwan, In, Sho, Shi, Fu, Ken:

It is hereby notified that the following tables of revenues and expenditures for the year between July of the 11th and June of the 12th of Meiji, inclusive, have been presented by Okuma Shigenobu, minister of finance.

Daijo Dai jin.

The tables of the estimated revenues and expenditures for the year between July of the 11th and June of the 12th of Meiji have been prepared. I now respectfully present them to your excellency. I must premise that this statement, when compared with that of the previous year, will show in some respects an increase, and in others a decrease, on the sides both of income and expenditure. The causes of the various differences will be explained in detail in the introduction; but I will here briefly refer to some of the more important of them. The insurrection which occurred in the southwest last year had a considerable effect upon the then future financial condition of the country. The items of repayment of the national debt; annuities for meritorious services; favored allowances to soldiers, and police and other expenditures, have greatly increased. In other branches of the public service extra disbursements have been necessary; but, on the other hand, the ordinary expenses of the Dai jo Kwan and other departments, namely, In, Sho, Shi, and Kioku, have been reduced. Owing to the outlay entailed in the suppression of the rebellion and the consequent debts incurred by the government, the issue of pension bonds to Kuwa-shi-zoku, and loans raised for the assistance of various industries, the national liabilities now amount to more than 375,000,000 yen; and the plan of repayment previously devised cannot be carried into effect. Now I submit my views for the establishment of a new system, whereby I propose to devote the sum of 20,000,000 yen a year to the purpose of liquidating the government indebtedness, which will be cleared off in twenty-eight years from the present time. The amount of the debt being so great, the annual appropriation, covering, I grant, more than one-third of the yearly revenue, cannot be expected to be of trifling amount. And, in order to allow this system to be worked out to its successful termination, we have but to be careful, to practice economy in our expenditures, and to avoid exceeding the sums here calculated upon as available. For, if such excess should be permitted, it is easy to see that the credit of the government with the people would be destroyed, and then the distress which must follow on a great financial calamity would be so great that its results can hardly be predicted. The reason why I, Shigenobu, strenuously insist upon this point here is that I esteem it as most important; and I beg that your excellency also will vouchsafe to accord to it your illustrious consideration.

Minister of Finance.

To his excellency Sanjo Saneyoshi,
Daijo Dai jin.