MR. GRIFFTH-BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, (1) whether his attention has been called to the recent reports of Mr. Longford, Vice-Consul at Tokyo, from which it appears that the value of the foreign trade of Japan had risen from 64 million dollars in 1885 to over 230 million dollars in 1894, and is now more than half the value of the entire foreign trade of China; (2) whether this trade shows signs of still further increase owing to the great opening up of the country caused by the recent war; and, (3) whether, in view of the exceedingly keen competition among the various European Nations and the United States to secure this trade, he will consider the advisability of appointing a Commercial Attaché to our Legation at Tokyo, whose sole duty it shall be to assist British merchants to obtain as large a share in this trade as possible?
The figures are correctly quoted from Mr. Longford's Reports, and from the Return published for the first half of 1895 (Annual Series No. 1,650) the trade would appear to be still increasing. Mr. Brennan, of Her Majesty's Consular Service, has already been instructed to visit the Treaty Ports of China, Japan and Corea, and to report to us to what extent and in what way British trade has been affected by the recent war between China and Japan, and as to what steps should be taken for its promotion in the future. Until this Report has been received it would be premature to consider the suggestion made in the last paragraph of the question.