No. 414.
Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard.

No. 346.]

Sir: I transmit herewith the annual return of the foreign trade of the Empire of Japan for 1886. The total value of Japan’s export trade for the year was 48,870,471 yen, and the total value of her import trade for the same period was 32,168,432 yen, being a total of import and export trade for year of 81,038,903 yen, which is an increase of 16,601,510 yen over the total trade of 1885. The excess of export over import trade for the year under consideration was 16,702,039 yen.

The following table shows a comparative statement of the total export and import trade for 1885 and 1886 between Japan and some of the principal commercial countries. The values in this table as well as all values in this dispatch are expressed in Japanese yen.

Countries. 1885. 1886. Gain.
Yen. Yen. Yen.
United States and Canada 18,340,052 23,347,202 5,007,150
France 8,065,777 10,963. 815 2,898,036
China 13,418,518 16,718,758 3,300,240
Great Britain 14,827,399 16,898,603 2,071,204
Germany 2,129,585 3,178,117 1,048,532
Corea 469,114 1,392,763 923,640
East Indies and Siam 3,889,047 4,210,462 321,415
Australia 355,556 550,379 191,823
[Page 661]

Exports from Japan to some of the principal commercial countries for 1885 and 1886.

Countries. 1885. 1886. Gain.
Yen. Yen. Yen.
United States and Canada 15,613,868 19,988,216 4,374,348
France 6,735,911 9,632,902 2,896,991
Great Britain 2,411,978 4,195,355 1,783,377
Germany 493,333 864,458 371,125
East Indies and Siam 492,083 649,143 157,000
Italy 120,593 181,200 60,607
China 7,655,468 9,594,907 1,939,439
Australia 281,235 469,914 185,679
Corea 229,600 829,316 599,716
Russia 245,291 231,695 14,596
Austria 24,607 156,315 131,708

Imports into Japan for 1885 and 1886 from some of the principal commercial countries.

Countries. 1885. 1886. Gain.
Yen. Yen. Yen.
Great Britain 12,415,421 12,703,248 287,827
China 5,763,050 7,123,851 1,360,801
East Indies and Siam 3,396,961 3,561,319 164,355
United States and Canada 2,720,184 3,358,986 632,802
Germany 1,655,652 2,313,659 648,007
France 1,329,866 1,330,913 1,047
Corea 239,514 563,447 323,933
Belgium 317,682 507,908 190,226
Switzerland 306,254 263,446 42,808
Italy 95,998 119,557 23 559
Australia 71,321 80,465 9,144

Of Japan’s nearly 49,000,000 yen in value of exports it is interesting to note that the following twenty-seven articles form over 45,000,000 yen:

Articles. Value. Articles. Value.
Yen. Yen.
Silk, all kinds 21,070,636 Fans 195,144
Tea, all kinds 7,723,320 Matches 378,017
Rice 3,300,599 Screens 193,124
Coal, including for ship use 2,208,548 Bamboo ware 191,271
Fish including shell-fish 1,819,905 Bronzes 193,231
Porcelain 1,002,384 Hides and skins 216,852
Copper 2,130,880 Wheat 231,078
Camphor 928,027 Mushrooms 437,397
Lacquered ware 589,169 Kanten 392,604
Sea-weed 598,414 Beche de mer 196,425
Straw ware 179,618 Peppermint oil 63,206
Cotton piece goods 229,665 Sulphur 72,938
Tobacco 126,612 Antimony 154,318
Rags 175,718

The foregoing list includes only Japanese productions and manufactures. Re-exported foreign commodities have been omitted from it.

Of the 32,000,000 yen of Japan’s import from foreign countries, the following twenty-eight articles compose over 30,000,000 yen.

[Page 662]
Articles. Value. Articles. Value.
Yen. Yen.
Wools, woolen yarns, blankets, buntings, and other woolen goods 3,565,871 Iron—pig., bar, railroad plate, and sheet 206,579
Kerosene oil 2,358,497 Steel and steel ware 2,079,233
Sugar 5,557,012 Other metal manufactures 568,511
Cotton yarns 5,905,457 Raw cotton 618,429
Hair, horns, hides, etc. 1,061,799 Flour 99,156
Shirtings, white and gray 1,145,253 Provisions, including butter, hams, bacon, and condensed milk 361,800
Victoria lawns, T-cloths, and other cotton goods 1,223,326 Books and pencils 169,480
Tobacco 93,098 Paper, all kind 196,230
Wines and liquors 488,551 Clocks 88,589
Cannons, muskets, etc 374,491 Locomotives, and parts of 90,089
Medicines and chemicals 979,894 Watches 165,774
Dyes and paints 653,207 Hats, caps, etc 122,213
Glass and glassware 249,047 Machinery—mining, pumping, paper making, etc 459,584
Grain and seeds 103,146
Iron nails 456,499

The principal imports from the United States to Japan for 1886.

Articles. Value. Articles. Value.
Yen. Yen.
Kerosene oil 2,358,497 Mercury 44,875
Leather 149,852 Cotton duck 22,789
Flour 97,454 Tobacco 29,316
Provisions 60,553 Watches and fittings 18,255
Condensed milk 57,102 Drugs, medicines, and chemicals 50,642
Books 53,230 Lead pencils 43,655
Clocks 81,331 Iron, and manufactures of 16,130

I beg to call your attention to the interesting fact that while the aggregate value of imports from the United States into Japan increased in 1886 over 1885 632,802 yen, the gain on kerosene alone was 690,776 over 1885, the falling off being in such imports as leather, clocks’ watches, etc., and several other articles, as a comparison of the tables of the years 1885 and 1886 respectively indicates. The total imports from the United States for 1885, 2,726, 184, while for 1886 the imports have increased to 3,083,001. These figures speak for themselves, indicating the fact that while the balance of trade against the United States has not been decreased, American exports to Japan have increased in 1886 over 1885 more than half a million in value to with 632,802. The demand, per contra America for Japanese productions has increased largely over 1885, the Japanese exports to America in 1885 being more than 15,000,000, while for 1886 it has swelled to over 19,000,000. We buy of Japan more than Great Britain does by 15,792,861 than France by 10,355.314; and than Germany by 19,123,75. The United States should and can sell more largely to Japan than now of the varied products of our soil—wheat, flour, etc., and the manufactures of our mills and the fabrics of our looms. The absolute cost of production and manufacture, the vast advantage in the distance of transportation by sea, should enable our people to place their goods in the Eastern markets at as low prices (certainly for the same grade of goods) as French, English, or German manufacturers. Tour commercial statistics of the trade relations between China and the United States show the gratifying fact that American “piece goods” and cotton and woolen fabrics have found a ready and annually increasing demand in China. Why not in Japan, with her 38,000,000 of consumers, as well? I have had the honor to direct your attention to the fact heretofore [Page 663] that, so far as concerns materials for railway construction and bridges and locomotives, etc. (and even our iron and steel rails can enter into competition with English and German rails if our people will only submit to smaller profits, as the latter do in their shipments hither), we can successfully compete with our European rivals.

I have, etc.,

Richard B. Hubbard.

P. S.—I have omitted in the foregoing dispatch to call attention to the fact that the Japanese customs returns, herewith inclosed, speak of the “United States and Canada” as one; and that “East Indies and Siam “are put together. This is confusing, but as to the relative proportion of English and American trade it does not practically alter the status. “British India,” as the Department is aware, is only a part of the “East Indies,” while Siam no more belongs to Great Britain than Canada does to the United States.