Treaty Series No. 807

Convention Between the United States of America and Japan, Signed at Washington, May 31, 19285

The President of the United States of America and His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, being desirous of avoiding any difficulties which might arise between them in connection with the laws in force in the United States on the subject of alcoholic beverages, have decided to conclude a Convention for that purpose, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries:

  • The President of the United States of America, Frank B. Kellogg, Secretary of State of the United States;
  • His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Tsuneo Matsudaira, Jusammi, the First Class of the Imperial Order of the Sacred Treasure, His Majesty’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America;

Who, having communicated their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:

Article I

The High Contracting Parties declare that it is their firm intention to uphold the principle that three marine miles extending from the coastline outwards and measured from low-water mark constitute the proper limits of territorial waters.

Article II

The Japanese Government agree that they will raise no objection to the boarding of private vessels under the Japanese flag outside the limits of territorial waters by the authorities of the United States, its territories or possessions, in order that enquiries may be addressed to those on board and an examination be made of [Page 132]the ship’s papers for the purpose of ascertaining whether the vessel or those on board are endeavoring to import or have imported alcoholic beverages into the United States, its territories or possessions, in violation of the laws there in force. When such enquiries and examination show a reasonable ground for suspicion, a search of the vessel may be initiated.
If there is reasonable cause for belief that the vessel has committed or is committing or attempting to commit an offense against the laws of the United States, its territories or possessions, prohibiting the importation of alcoholic beverages, the vessel may be seized and taken into a port of the United States, its territories or possessions, for adjudication in accordance with such laws.
The rights conferred by this article shall not be exercised at a greater distance from the coast of the United States, its territories or possessions, than can be traversed in one hour by the vessel suspected of endeavoring to commit the offense. In cases, however, in which the liquor is intended to be conveyed to the United States, its territories or possessions, by a vessel other than the one boarded and searched, it shall be the speed of such other vessel, and not the speed of the vessel boarded, which shall determine the distance from the coast at which the right under this article can be exercised.

Article III

No penalty or forfeiture under the laws of the United States shall be applicable or attach to alcoholic liquors or to vessels or persons by reason of the carriage of such liquors, when such liquors are listed as sea stores or cargo destined for a port foreign to the United States, its territories or possessions, on board Japanese vessels voyaging to or from ports of the United States, or its territories or possessions, or passing through the territorial waters thereof, provided that such liquors shall be kept under seal continuously while the vessel on which they are carried remains within said territorial waters and that no part of such liquors shall at any time or place be unladen within the United States, its territories or possessions.

Article IV

Any claim by a Japanese vessel for compensation on the ground that it has suffered loss or injury through the improper or unreasonable exercise of the rights conferred by Article II of this Convention or on the ground that it has not been given the benefit of Article III shall be referred for the joint consideration of two persons, one of whom shall be nominated by each of the High Contracting Parties.

Effect shall be given to the recommendations contained in any such [Page 133]joint report. If no joint report can be agreed upon, the claim shall be referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague described in the Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes, concluded at The Hague, October 18, 1907. The arbitral tribunal shall be constituted in accordance with Article 87 (Chapter IV) and with Article 59 (Chapter III) of the said Convention. The proceedings shall be regulated by so much of Chapter IV of the said Convention and of Chapter III thereof (special regard being had for Articles 70 and 74, but excepting Articles 53 and 54) as the tribunal may consider to be applicable and to be consistent with the provisions of this agreement. All sums of money which may be awarded by the tribunal on account of any claim shall be paid within eighteen months after the date of the final award without interest and without deduction, save as hereafter specified. Each Government shall bear its own expenses. The expenses of the tribunal shall be defrayed by a ratable deduction from the amount of the sums awarded by it, at a rate of five per cent on such sums, or at such lower rate as may be agreed upon between the two Governments; the deficiency, if any, shall be defrayed in equal moieties by the two Governments.

Article V

This Convention shall be subject to ratification and shall remain in force for a period of one year from the date of the exchange of ratifications.

Three months before the expiration of the said period of one year, either of the High Contracting Parties may give notice of its desire to propose modifications in the terms of the Convention.

If such modifications have not been agreed upon before the expiration of the term of one year mentioned above, the Convention shall lapse.

If no notice is given on either side of the desire to propose modifications, the Convention shall remain in force for another year, and so on automatically, but subject always in respect of each such period of a year to the right on either side to propose as provided above three months before its expiration modifications in the Convention, and to the provision that if such modifications are not agreed upon before the close of the period of one year, the Convention shall lapse.

Article VI

In the event that either of the High Contracting Parties shall be prevented either by judicial decision or legislative action from giving full effect to the provisions of the present Convention the said Convention shall automatically lapse, and, on such lapse or whenever this Convention shall cease to be in force, each High Contracting [Page 134]Party shall enjoy all the rights which it would have possessed had this Convention not been concluded.

The present Convention shall be duly ratified by the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof and by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan; and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington as soon as possible.

In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention in duplicate and have thereunto affixed their seals.

Frank B. Kellogg

T. Matsudaira
  1. Ratification advised by the Senate, Jan. 26, 1929; ratified by the President, Jan. 30, 1929; ratified by Japan, Nov. 22, 1929; ratifications exchanged at Washington, Jan. 16, 1930; proclaimed by the President, Jan. 16, 1930.