§ 1. Sir J. D. REES
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any and, if so, what representations have been made to the Japanese Government regarding the position of the owners of property held on perpetual lease in localities which, until 1899, were subject to extra-territorial jurisdiction; whether The Hague Tribunal found that both such land and the buildings erected and to be erected thereupon were exempt from all charges other than those expressly allowed in the leases; whether the Japanese Government has declined to recognise this interpretation of the Arbitration Court, and has either permitted or has not disallowed the action of the 777 Yokohama municipality, which is distraining for house tax in respect of buildings erected upon such ex-extra-territorial lands; and, if representations have been made, what reply to them the Government has received?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Acland)
The question of perpetual leases in Japan has formed the subject of communication between the British and Japanese Governments for some years past. The Japanese Government complied with the direct decision of The Hague award, but they have not accepted the views held by the British, French, and German Governments as to the indirect consequences of that award. Negotiations are however proceeding with a view to arriving at a permanent settlement of the whole question. As regards the latter part of the hon. Member's question, I have received a report from His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokio that the Yokohama municipality had levied municipal business and income taxes on certain British and other foreign firms, owning premises built on perpetual leasehold lots, on the ground that such firms being registered as Japanese ordinary partnerships are subject to the same taxes as individual Japanese. The matter has been brought, however, to the notice of the Japanese Government by His Majesty's Ambassador.
§ Sir J. D. REES
Is the net result, that so far as the British is concerned, that The Hague Tribunal decision is not observed?
§ Mr. ACLAND
Well, Sir, there may be some substance in the view that Japanese partnerships must come under Japanese taxation.