When a shipping investigation was on in Washington a year ago, many members of the committee were amazed to learn that Japan already controls seventy-two per cent. of the shipping on the Pacific. Ask a Chilean or Peruvian whether he prefers to travel on an American or a Japanese ship. He laughs and answers that American ships to the western coast of South America would be as tubs are to titanics—only until the new registry bill passed there were hardly any ships under the United States flag on the Southern Pacific. Each of these Japanese ships is so heavily subsidized it could run without a passenger or a cargo; high as one hundred thousand dollars a voyage for many ships. Its crews are paid eight to ten dollars a month, where American and Canadian crews demand and get forty to fifty dollars. In cheapness of labor, in efficiency of service, in government aid and style of building no American nor Canadian ships can stand up against them. And again Japan asks—why not? Atlantic commerce is a prize worth four billions a year. When the Orient fully awakens, will Pacific commerce total four billions a year? Who rules the sea rules the world. Japan’s ships dominate seventy-two per cent. of the Pacific’s commerce now.
So when the war broke out, Japan shouldered not the white man’s burden but the Brown Brother’s and plunged in to police Asia. Again—why not? As Uncle Sam polices the two Americas, and John Bull the seas of the world, so the Mikado undertakes to police the sea lanes of the Orient. The Jappy said when he met the diplomats on the subject of coolie immigration that he would prove himself the partner of the white man at the world’s council boards—or step back.
Is it a menace or a portent? Certainly not a menace, when accepted as a matter of fact. Only the fact must be faced and realized, and the new chessman’s moves recognized. Uncle Sam has the police job of one world, South America; Great Britain of another—Europe. Will the little Jappy-Chappy take the job for that other world, where the Star of the Orient seems to be swinging into new orbits? The Jappy-Chappy isn’t saying much; but he is essentially on the job for all he is worth; and Canada hasn’t wakened up to what that may mean to her Pacific Coast.
Is it, then, that Canada fears the growth of Japan as a great world power? No, the thing is deeper than that. We have come to the place where we must go deeper than surface signs and use neither rose water nor kid gloves. The question of the Chinese and the Japanese is entirely distinct from the Hindu.