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Empire of Japan
Japan Flag
The Flag of Japan
Full Name 大日本帝國

Greater Japanese Empire

Common Name Japan
Motto 五箇条の御誓文

(The Oath in Five Articles)

Anthem 君が代

(His Imperial Majesty's Reign)

Official Languages Japanese
Capital Tokyo
Government Structure Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State Hirohito (era name: Showa)
Head of Government Inukai Tsuyoshi
Currency Yen
Established 1868
Area (excluding colonies) 675,000 km²
Population (excluding colonies) Around 97 million

History

While the Peace with Honour of 1921 recognized Japan's rule of her overseas territories, most importantly Korea, the situation in Japan was already critical well before the end of Weltkrieg. The collapse of the Republic of France busted the "Great War boom", and accelerated economic deterioration. Starting with the Rice Riot of 1918, the later period of the Taisho Era (1912-1926) witnessed severe economic crises and social conflict.

Japanese anarchists saw their chance to replicate France's syndicalist revolution in the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923. The anarchist uprising was crushed, and in the midst of the following red scare an anarchist named Namba Daisuke attempted to assassinate Prince Regent Hirohito on 27 December. Prime Minister Admiral Yamamoto Gonnohyoe and his cabinet resigned immediately. Martial law was imposed over the entire country for the first time in Japanese History.

With understanding from the Genro, Army Minister General Tanaka Giichi, also the leader of the Choshu faction within the Imperial Japanese Army, was appointed as Prime Minister to stabilize the country. His appointment divided the Imperial Diet sharply, particularly the former ruling party Rikken Seiyukai, which the quarrel between the supporters and the opponents of the Tanaka cabinet resulted in splitting the party into two, with the supporters of Tanaka forming the Seiyuhonto. In the general election of 1925, the Seiyuhonto effectively performed as the ruling party, and with the opposition in disarray the Tanaka regime was able to force the Peace Preservation Law, which enabled the state to impose the death penalty on those who attempted to harm the 'National Polity'. The law symbolized the draconian rule of Tanaka.

However, with the British Revolution of 1925, the German dominance over the European market, and the continued economic decline in America, Japan's export-led economy continued free fall with no end in sight. In early 1926, a scandal over the so-called Earthquake bills and the Bank of Taiwan broke out, causing a series of massive bank closures. In the diplomatic front, Tanaka's indecisive policies failed to secure Japanese interests in China from the advancing Nationalists nor from the German intervention. The weakness of his rule was exposed.

In April 1926, the two main opposition parties, the Rikken Seiyukai and the Kenseikai, formed a coalition and started the '2nd Movement to Protect the Constitution'. Facing popular support for the opposition and the Prince Regent's indirect intervention, Tanaka and his cabinet was forced to resign. In an event later called the 'Constitutional Restoration of 1926', the Rikken Seiyukai and the Kenseikai formed the 'Constitutionalist coalition' cabinet, with promises of democratic governance, universal suffrage, and party-based cabinet.

However, the coalition soon broke down over the policy in China. The Seiyukai called for 'active policy' and favored intervention in China in support for Zhang Zuolin with the goal of preventing the complete German domination of China, while the Kenseikai was ready to accept the new order in China in return for recognition of Japanese economic interests and even saw the possibility of isolating the German position through working with the new Chinese state. With the collapse of the Constitutionalist coalition, Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi approached the Seiyuhonto, eventually merging the two parties into one again.

The Japanese troops were quickly deployed across the South Manchurian Railway Zone to deter the Germans and their allies from entering Manchuria. Diplomatic pressures emanating from Berlin prevented active Japanese intervention in the war, but the expedition solidified Japan's position in Manchuria and secured Zhang's power base, eventually culminated in the formation of the Anguojun Government.

The chaotic year of 1926 ended with the death of Emperor Taisho and his son Hirohito assumed the throne with the era name of Showa. In the next nine years the Inukai cabinet presided over mild economic recovery through interventionist policies and achieved peaceful political developments, but hardship still persists in the countryside and extremism is growing. Japan in 1936 is poised to extend her empire, with Germany's dominance of the world appearing to be in decline the Japanese look greedily at both the remaining Qing Chinese territories and the German pacific possessions, but first the country must overcome its internal strife and unrest.

Politics

The Constitution of the Empire of Japan, enacted in 1890, defined the Emperor to be "the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercise them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution". As such, the Emperor has the supreme command of the military and the right to appoint and dismiss ministers, who in turn are only accountable to the Emperor. However, the Emperor is not expected to exercise his power on his own. The Emperor, "sacred and inviolable", and his line, "unbroken for ages eternal", is the source of all state sovereignty and all state authority, but the Emperor is 'only' the head of the state and not the state itself, and the Emperor is expected to exercise his power on will of the state, which is limited by the constitution, and not on the Emperor's own will.

An alternative interpretation, advocated by the military and various right-wing groups, rejects the separation of the Emperor and the state. In this view, any attempt to separate the Emperor's divine sovereignty is heretical and treasonous. Accordingly, the Emperor is to exercise his unchallenged power on his unchallenged will. Inevitably, this interpretation denies the legitimacy of the parliamentary system currently practiced in Japan.

The Imperial Diet is the parliamentary and representative institution of the state, divided into the House of Peers and the House of Representatives. The House of Peers is exclusively composed of the highest part of the society, such as imperial family members, nobles, high tax payers, scientists, and politicians. The House of Representatives is elected by all men over the age of 25 and its members are not appointed by the Emperor. The Diet's representative capacity, and its power to 'consent' the exercise of the legislative power and pass the state budget or even the constitutional amendment guarantees its relative independence and thus superiority over other 'advisory' institutions, such as the Privy Council, composed of entirely appointed councilors. In reality, however, the Privy Council was able to override the Imperial Diet and the elected government in several occasions through its capability to 'advise' the Emperor.

Party politics is dominated by the Rikken Seiyukai (Association of Friends of Constitutional Government). The Rikken Seiyukai had been the largest party in the House of Representatives for most years since its foundation in 1900, and under the leadership of the prime minister Inukai Tsuyoshi the party has won all three general elections since the Constitutional Restoration of 1926, easily outnumbering the leading opposition party Minseito (Democratic Party).

In general the Seiyukai is associated with conservatism and the Minseito with liberalism. Originally these two 'mainstream parties' had little to no fundamental differences. The Seiyukai was founded by Ito Hirobumi as a 'government coalition' for the Meiji oligarchy, while the Minseito's predecessor Kenseikai (Constitutional Government Association) was also a coalition of anti-Seiyukai forces gathered around the Rikken Doshikai (Association of Believers of Constitutional Government), which in turn was originally meant to be a 'government party' for another Meiji oligarch, Katsura Taro.

The Genro's distaste for Katsura's successor Kato Takaaki, and the continued Seiyukai monopoly on power made the Rikken Doshikai and the Kenseikai to lean towards liberal politics, while the Seiyukai's long status as the 'natural governing party' and its traditional support for the establishment, such as the Zaibatsu groups and the landlords, made the Seiyukai's ideological orientation strongly conservative. The Constitutional Restoration of 1926 and the subsequent political realignment sharpened the distinction between the two mainstream parties. The Seiyuhonto, the de facto ruling party under the Tanaka regime, was (re)incorporated into the Rikken Seiyukai, while the Kenseikai reformed itself into the Minseito in their efforts to "rally the rising forces and emerge a great force that would dominate the decade", in the words of the party's new chairman Hamaguchi Osachi.

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Military

Japan is the foremost military powerhouse in Asia. Possessing the third largest navy in the world and a considerable large army with modern equipment, tactics, and the industrial capacity to supply it. Japan is a force to be reckoned with in any conflict taking place in the Far-East. Still, the armed forces of Japan face several problems. The relative lack of resources in the Japanese home islands places severe restrictions on the capability of Japan to wage a long-term war and the supply convoys of the Pacific are vulnerable to naval attacks.

Army

The majority of the standing army of Japan is currently stationed in Fengtian, Transamur, and Korea.

Navy

The Nihon Kaigun is one of the few navies in the world that employ aircraft carriers and thus it has significant power-projection capabilites and most major ports in the Pacific are within its reach. Being one of the largest navies of the world, the Nihon Kaigun has a vast array of vessels, from the aforementioned aircraft carriers to battleships and cruisers of various sizes. One of the most important tasks of the navy is to protect the vital trade and supply routes of the Pacific and a vast number of destroyers are deployed for this task.

Air Force

The Air Force is mainly tasked with supporting the two other military branches and thus employs a significant amount of tactical and naval bombers, the latter which are also used for convoy protection.

Foreign relations

Military and economic alliance with Transamur. Japan has political and economic control over Transamur and Fengtian.

Very good relations with Fengtian and Transamur.

Friendly relations with Mongolia and Canada.

Unfriendly relations with Germany and Qing Empire.

Foreign Relations

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Allies and Dependencies

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Colonial Empire

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Culture

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See also

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