Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay.

No. 392.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of instruction No. 260, of the 6th ultimo, in reply to my dispatches Nos. 364 and 365, of the 4th and 6th of October last, in respect to perpetual leases in foreign settlements in Japan being confirmed, under the treaty, without other conditions being imposed than are prescribed in existing leases, stating that, in the confirmation of such leases, no change in vested rights can be effected by requiring them to be registered as perpetual superficies, if such would be the effect, thus approving the position taken by me in that regard. Concerning the assignment of such leases, however, I am instructed that, as between private parties for private purposes, citizens of the United States are subject to the same registration fee or charge as is imposed upon Japanese subjects, unless the original leases stipulate to the contrary.

I now have the honor to report that by imperial ordinance (copy inclosed) the Japanese Government has so amended the law of registration as to recognize that perpetual leases of property in foreign settlements can be registered as such without change, instead of as perpetual superficies as heretofore required, thus substantially though indirectly conceding my claim in that particular.

In respect to the requirement that a registration tax of 2½ per cent on value to be paid by the assignee of a perpetual lease in foreign settlements between private parties, I infer from a conversation which I have had with the minister of foreign affairs that such registration [Page 319]tax is not to be enforced—conceding my contention that such tax ought not to be required to be paid in consideration of the stipulations of the leases themselves and the provisions of Article XVII of the treaty—though it will be enforced upon registration of mortgages and other liens on such property.

I have, etc.,

A. E. Buck.
[Inclosure.]

the transfer of land.

Imperial ordinance No. 458 of December 27, 1899.

[Translated by Dr. L. Lönholm.]

The imperial ordinance No. 329, of the year 1899, is amended as follows:

Article I. When a superficies (perpetual lease) created in a foreign settlement is transferred, such transfer can not be set up against third persons unless it is entered in the title deed by the chihōchōa of the place where such land is situated.

If an application according to the foregoing provision has been made by the parties concerned, or if a notification concerning a superficies (perpetual lease) has been made, the chihōchō must, without delay, give notice thereof to the registry office within whose jurisdiction the land is situated.

When a chihōchō gives notice of the transfer of a superficies (perpetual lease) a copy of the title deed must be annexed; but in case of a second or subsequent notice it is sufficient to add the designation of the land, the names of the parties concerned, their nationality and domicile, the ground of the transfer of the right, and the date.

If a right other than that mentioned under paragraph 1, which might be setup against third persons, has been duly acquired by an alien or a foreign juridical person before the time fixed in the imperial ordinance No. 251 of the thirty-second year of Meiji,b but has not been registered before the said time, it can not be set up against third persons, unless it is registered up to the 31st of December, 1900.

Article IV. When an application for registration is made, all facts which can be set up against third persons must be mentioned in the application, and the documents necessary to prove such facts must be annexed.

When a registry office has received a notice of the transfer of a superficies (perpetual lease) it must register it ex officio, and the same applies when in case of a notification concerning a superficies (perpetual lease) an alteration in a registration is to take place.

If when an application for the registration of a right whose subject is a superficies (perpetual lease) is made, such superficies (perpetual lease) is not yet registered, such registration must be made ex officio.

additional provisions.

Entries as to the transfer of a superficies (perpetual lease), made in a title deed by a chihōchō or a consulate before the taking effect of this ordinance, have the same effect as entries made by a chihōchō according to the provisions of this ordinance; but this does not affect the rights of third persons which have been registered after the time fixed in imperial ordinance No. 251 of the thirty-second year of Meiji.

  1. That is, for Yokohama and Kobe, the kencho.
  2. That is, the time fixed for the taking effect of the treaties.