No. 292.
Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard.

No. 117.]

Sir: I have endeavored, since my entrance upon the duties of this mission, by all legitimate means within my power, to encourage the discussion of the trade relations of Japan and the United States, with the object of intelligently familiarizing exporters and importers of our respective countries, through the Japanese and American press and otherwise, with the great pecuniary advantage to both of encouraging and increasing that trade. In my dispatch No. 105 I had the honor to inclose for your perusal a very able article from the native press—“Jiji Shimpo”—breathing as it did a healthy and intelligent spirit of political as well as commercial friendship toward the United States. This influential native editor (whose leaders are largely translated and copied by the English press here) is devoting much of his great talents and zeal to almost daily discussions in his daily paper of the Japanese-American trade relations. Herewith inclosed I desire respectfully to call your attention to another and later article, which presents this subject in a true light, and which is certainly warranted by the facts of the case. A spirit of inquiry has been aroused, and if our own (American) merchants would turn their attention in a practical business way toward the East, studying the character and wants of this trade, there is no reason why in the next decade the aggregate exports and imports of the two countries should not double, or even quadruple, the present quantity and value.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 117.]

The Jiji Shimpo, returning to the subject of commercial relations between Japan and the United States, says:

“Having regard to the positions of the two countries geographically, and also to the nature of their products it seems as if the trade between them ought to undergo a yearly increase. Whether it is that the Japanese are too short-sighted to grasp the situation, or that the people of the States are too busily engaged at homo to look in this direction, it is not at present necessary to decide, but it is matter for grave regret that the negligence of the two nations has tended to retard the development of their commercial relations. According to the trade report of 1883, the trade between this country and England is represented by yen 4,832,800 in exports, and yen 12,744,944 [Page 561] in imports; while our commerce with the United States of America is shown by yen 13,247,840 in exports, and yen 3,187,114 in imports. There may be several circumstances to account for this difference, but the chief cause seems to be that the merchants of America do not pay so much attention to the trade with Japan as Englishmen do. If American merchants desire to improve their commercial relations with this country they can easily do so. They have the disposal of several commodities that can be profitably imported here, such for instance as cotton fabrics, woolen goods, and other articles of a miscellaneous nature. Nor is there any lack of articles here to be imported to their side.

“To mention an example, the large amount of sulphur used in American factories, at present supplied by Italy, might be imported from this country, as our article is better and cheaper than the Italian. Apart from the negligence of American merchants, however, there is another circumstance, and it is this: that American importers have not the advantage of a return freight. This, of course, arises from the negligence of our merchants to supply them with suitable articles to take home. It is therefore to be desired that Japanese merchants should strive to supply the demands of Americans, at the same time importing as much as possible from America, excepting rails and other iron wares, which are best made in England. It is not necessary that our railroads should be of elegant construction; practical utility alone should be made the aim. We ought therefore to consider it best not only to import American materials of construction, but also to hire American engineers. Both countries have natural products which can be profitably exchanged. Last year, while on his way to his post here, the American minister, Mr. Hubbard, made a speech at San Francisco, in which we remember he alluded to the want of interest taken by American merchants in the trade with Japan, and pointed out that the present volume of that trade might be easily increased two or three fold. True, much is to be ascribed to the negligence of the Americans, but the indolence of the Japanese has been hardly less blameworthy. We hope our merchants will endeavor to show the Americans than the Japanese trade is sufficiently promising to repay any attention they may bestow on it.”