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Yes. Japan can be regarded as a world power by 1. After the success of the Meiji Modernization, Japan became a strong country. She fully satisfied all the conditions required to be a world power. Japan had a stable and centralized government run by enlightened rulers. She attained the highest literacy rate in Asia. She had a strong army and navy and became a rich country exporting goods to other places. Japan also had a constitution. Japan also won in foreign wars and gained concessions. In 185, she defeated China in the Sino-Japanese War and gained most-favoured-nation treatment and extraterritorial rights. She also gained territories from China. In 105, Japan defeated Russia and attained a world power status. Japan even joined the First World War and joined the allied powers. Seeing Japan’s power, foreign powers were willing to treat Japan equally. In 18, the European powers were willing to give up extraterritorial rights in Japan. Also Japan and Britain formed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 11 made on equal footing. Japan could attend international post-war conferences such as Paris Peace Conference in 11 where she gained territorial rewards such as Shandong. This showed that Japan can be regarded as a world power.


After the success of the Meiji Modernization., Japan was recognized as a great power in the Far East. During the reform periods, she abolished feudalism and created a centralized government. This helped to create a strong and efficient foundation for carrying out drastic changes in the country. Also, the government was headed by the Meiji Oligarchy. They were capable rulers and were well-educated, enlightened and saw Japan’s need to reform. With a stable government, Japan was governed effectively and required the conditions for a ‘world power’.


The Japanese were educated. Japan practiced compulsory education in the Meiji era. She attained the highest rate of literacy in Asia, and by the end of the 1th century, less than 5% of her population was uneducated. This indicates Japan being a modernized state. Also, as most of her population were educated, they had skills and technical knowledge needed for industrial development, which contributed greatly Japan’s industry. This satisfied the education condition needed for a ‘world power’.


Japan had a strong army and navy after the Meiji Reform. The army and navy were well-equipped with strong and modern weapons and well-trained by Western methods. Her military can be seen in the victory of the Sino-Japanese War in 185. Japan which is only a small country, won China which is a big country. With strong military, she can protect herself from western aggression. Also, the success in military reform encouraged her expansionist policy. She was confident in winning the foreign wars and can expand her empire in this way. Her victory in the Sino-Japanese War in 185 and the Russo-Japanese War in 105 proved her military strength to the European powers. They were impressed by it and respected Japan. They allied with Japan on equal terms. This required the military conditions needed to become a ‘world power’.


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Japan was a rich nation. By the 1880s, she was able to export goods to other


countries and earn profits. She was able to use the profits to develop her heavy and light industry. This satisfied the economic conditions needed to become a world power.


Also, Japan had a constitution. Although the constitution was superficially democratic only, but Japan had took the first step by allowing 1% of her population in deciding the government affairs. This met the requirement of the constitution.


Externally, Japan was imperialistic. She was aggressive and always wanted to expand her empire. She became involved in foreign wars in 1870s. She annexed the Liuqiu Islands in 187. She then tried to continue her encroachment on Korea. This led to the Sino-Japanese War in 184. China was defeated and was forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonseki where China had to give land, indemnity, most-favoured-nation treatment and extraterritorial rights. Japan thus attained equality with other western countries in China. Later, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 104. They signed the Treaty of Portsmouth where Russia had to transfer her concessions such as Southern Sakhalin and South Manchuria to Japan. This was the first time in modern history that a European power was defeated by an Asian country. All the Western powers were impressed by Japan and Japan attained a ‘world power’ status. This showed Japan was aggressive and turned many places into her protectorates by 105. Her empire was largely expanded and this met the imperialistic condition to become a ‘world power’.





Lastly, Japan was respected by the western powers. They treated Japan equally. In 18, when the European powers saw Japan’s success in the Meiji Modernization, they were willing to give up their extraterritorial rights. In 10 Britain and Japan signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. It was the first alliance between a Western and a non-western nation made on equal footing. This showed Britain recognized Japan as a ‘world power’ and was willing to make an alliance with her. After the victory in the Russo-Japanese War, even France tried to conclude a friendship treaty with Japan on equal terms. In 114, Japan took part in the First World War and fought alongside her allies. She was then invited to join the Paris Peace Conference and took Shandong from Germany. Japan later became a permanent member of the League of Nations, together with Britain, France and Italy. Japan was later invited to the Washington Conference together with eight foreign countries. In the Five-Power Pact, Japan was allowed to build more capital ships than France and Italy. These incidents showed that the other Western countries respected Japan and her ‘world power’ status was confirmed.


Japan met all the conditions needed to become a ‘world power’. She had a stable government, her people were educated, she had strong military strength, was rich and had a constitution. Also, Japan was imperialistic and took part in many foreign wars in order to gain concessions. Lastly, she was respected by the Western powers and confirmed her ‘world power’ status.





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