HC Deb 16 June 1881 vol 262 cc635-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is true, as stated in the "Journal des Debats" of the 10th instant, that in 1878 Sir Harry Parkes, Minister to Japan, issued a decree punishing any British subject who should publish a newspaper in the Japanese language with imprisonment with or without hard labour; and, whether, if so, the decree is operative?


A Regulation prohibiting British subjects from printing and publishing newspapers in Japan in the Japanese language was issued by Her Majesty's Minister to Japan in February, 1876, and was approved by the Government of that day, on the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown. It was stated at the time that this step was taken by Her Majesty's Minister to Japan on the application of the Japanese Government, who represented that the publication of newspapers in the Japanese language by foreigners, who are not amenable to their jurisdiction, would be subversive of internal order, and would cause grave injury to the public interests of Japan. The Regulation was issued under the China and Japan Order in Council, 1865 (sections 85, 86, 88, and 90), and the penalty attached to it was the ordinary penalty prescribed by the Order in Council for breaches of all Regulations made under that Order—namely, Liability to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months, with or without hard labour, and with or without a fine not exceeding 500 dollars, or a fine not exceeding 500 dollars without imprisonment. The amonnt of the penalty actually inflicted in any case would be in the discretion of the Court hearing the charge. No case has arisen, either of a prosecution being instituted or of a penalty being inflicted under this newspaper Regulation.