[Footnote FA: List given in Rept. of Mer. Marine Com., with totals paid in 1902-03, vol. 2, p. 946.]
[Footnote FB: Mecker.]
While France is the bounty-giving nation par excellence, Japan is a pressing second. The development of a modern merchant marine, together with a modern navy, was among the first undertakings of the awakening empire upon her assumption of Occidental civilization. Adopting what seemed to her statesmen of the new regime, from their study of Western methods, to be the speediest way to that end, she started out energetically to attain it through lavish money-grants from the national treasury for the establishment of steamship companies of her own people in coastwise and ocean service, and of modernized ship-yards and shipbuilders.
The initial venture resulted in the creation of a steamship monopoly. This was the subsidizing, in 1877, of the pioneer concern, to supply steam communication between various domestic ports, and also with Siberia, China, and Corea. It was founded by a broad-visioned Japanese merchant, Jwasaki Yataro,[FC] and controlled by him. To break his monopoly the Government in 1882 set up a rival State-supported company.[FC] After a period of “desperate competition” and warfare, Jwasaki persuaded the new concern to unite with his. So was effected a community of interests after the most approved Western pattern.[FC] By this union was formed, in 1885, the powerful Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Mail Steamship Company), which remained the most powerful of Japanese steamship establishments, with lines running to the same ports to which the American steamers run.
Coincident with the State-aiding of steamship companies was the granting of liberal postal subvention. Next followed the institution of a general subsidy system, frankly designed to stimulate domestic shipbuilding and to further navigation by Japanese ships.
This system was embodied in two acts promulgated in 1896, the year after the finish of the Japan-China War (1894-95), when the merchant marine was growing pretty rapidly, but not rapidly enough for the aspiring nation. These were, a Shipbuilding Encouragement Law, the aim of which was to stimulate the building of vessels above 700 tons; and a Navigation Encouragement Law, to foster open-sea navigation. Their model was the French system.
These laws offered construction and navigation subsidies, and also made provision for a widely extended postal service with increased postal subventions. The construction bounties were available for “any company composed of Japanese subjects exclusively as members and shareholders which shall establish a ship-yard conforming to the requirements of the Minister of State for Communications, and shall build ships.” The rates were fixed as follows: for ships of over 1000 tons, twenty yen ($9.96) per