The Japanese Embassy to the Department of State21

Statement Issued After Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting September 24, 1931

The Japanese Government has constantly been exercising honest endeavors in pursuance of its settled policy to foster friendly relations between Japan and China and to promote the common prosperity and well-being of the two countries. Unfortunately, the conduct of officials and individuals of China, for some years past, has been such that our national sentiment has frequently been irritated. In particular, unpleasant incidents have taken place one after another in regions of Manchuria and Mongolia in which Japan is interetsed in especial degree until an impression has gained strength in the minds of the Japanese people that Japan’s fair and friendly attitude is not being reciprocated by China in like spirit. Amidst an atmosphere of perturbation and anxiety thus created a detachment of Chinese troops destroyed tracks of the South Manchurian Railway in the vicinity of Mukden and attacked our railway guards at midnight of September 18th. A clash between Japanese and Chinese troops then took place.
The situation became critical as the number of Japanese guards stationed along the entire railway did not then exceed ten thousand four hundred while there were in juxtaposition some two hundred twenty thousand Chinese soldiers. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of Japanese residents were placed in jeopardy. In order to forestall imminent disaster the Japanese army had to act swiftly. The Chinese soldiers, garrisoned in neighboring localities, were disarmed and the [Page 12] duty of maintaining peace and order was left in the hands of the local Chinese organizations under the supervision of the Japanese troops.
These measures having been taken, our soldiers were mostly withdrawn within the railway zone. There still remain some detachments in Mukden and Kirin and small number of men in a few other places. But nowhere does a state of military occupation as such exist. Reports that Japanese authorities have seized customs or salt gabelle office at Yingkou or that they have taken control of Chinese railways between Supingkai and Chengchiatun or between Mukden and Sinmintun are entirely untrue, nor has the story of our troops having ever been sent north of Changchun or into Chientao any foundation in fact.
The Japanese Government at a special cabinet meeting September 19th took decision that all possible efforts should be made to prevent aggravation of the situation and instructions to that effect were given to the commander of the Manchurian garrison. It is true that a detachment was despatched from Changchun to Kirin September 21st, but it was not with a view to military occupation but only for the purpose of removing the menace to the South Manchuria Railway on flank. As soon as that object has been attained the bulk of our detachment will be withdrawn. It may be added that while a mixed brigade of four thousand men was sent from Korea to join the Manchurian garrison the total number of men in the garrison at present still remains within the limit set by the treaty and that fact cannot therefore be regarded as having in any way added to the seriousness of the international situation.
It may be superfluous to repeat that the Japanese Government harbors no territorial designs in Manchuria. What we desire is that Japanese subjects shall be enabled to safely engage in various peaceful pursuits and be given an opportunity for participating in the development of that land by means of capital and labor. It is the proper duty of a government to protect the rights and interests legitimately enjoyed by the nation or individuals. The endeavors of the Japanese Government to guard the South Manchurian Railway against wanton attacks would be viewed in no other light. The Japanese Government, true to established policy, is prepared to cooperate with the Chinese Government in order to prevent the present incident from developing into a disastrous situation between the two countries and to work out such constructive plans as will once for all eradicate causes for future friction. The Japanese Government would be more than gratified if the present difficulty could be brought to a solution which will give a new turn to mutual relations of the two countries.
  1. Left with the Under Secretary of State by the Japanese Ambassador on September 25, 1931.