According to baglib, the first years of this era have passed for Japan in a vigilant and active peace. As things currently stand, his interests are based on China and Manchuria. China is basically a vast market where the products of its industries find almost unlimited consumption. In the absence of external threats to the territorial integrity and independence of that republic, as a consequence of Washington’s commitments, Japan has given a new orientation to its policy towards China, allowing the chaotic situation of this to be resolved. by itself, intervening vigorously in the places and moments in which the protection and safety of their subjects have requested it. On the other hand, the interests that Japan has in Manchuria are of a different nature and much more vital: economic, first of all, because the exploitation of the raw materials of which that territory abounds (especially coal and iron, which feed the ever-growing industries of the empire) involved enormous investments of Japanese capital; strategic, then, because, due to its position, Manchuria constitutes an excellent observatory for the surveillance of all Chinese politics, as well as being able to function as a valid bulwark against any Asian people. It is in view of this importance that Japan has favored in Manchuria the birth of a nationalist current and the development of an autonomist tendency aimed at separation from China. By saying Manchuria, however, we mean the southern part of it, consisting of a central plain, intensely populated, where the Japanese organization has created a thriving agriculture, whose main products (wheat, rice, soy, flax, beet and tobacco), along with those of fruit growing, so prosperous as to deserve the name of California of China for the region, are abundantly exported. Northern Manchuria, located in the Amur basin, with a cold climate and therefore escaped by the Japanese colonist, is, geographically, a continuation of Siberia, which sees the increasing influence of Russia, aimed at annexing it.
In a producing country of such vast extent, such as Manchuria, the railways have, of course, an enormous importance which becomes even greater if for commercial purposes we add strategic ones. The Manchu railway system is essentially composed of the Manchuli-Vladivostok line and the Harbin-Port Arthur branch, the lower section of which, Chang Ch’un-Port Arthur and branches, constitutes the Southern Manchu railway, ceded by the Portsmouth Treaty by Russia to Japan in the hands of predominantly Japanese capital, which exploit mines and blast furnaces and maintain schools and hospitals. The latter, as can be understood, is the key to the economy of the region and its possession has powerfully contributed to assuring Japan a position of absolute supremacy there. It is in the policy of Japanese penetration in Manchuria that the origins of the Chinese anti-Japanese movement, powerfully nourished by the nationalistic currents that have recently arisen in China, must be sought, a movement that is the cause of the Japanese action in Manchuria and Shanghai (1931-32). The independent government of Mukden had begun, in agreement with the Chinese one in Nanjing, a policy aimed at limiting as much as possible foreign interference, particularly Japanese, in Manchuria. The essential part of this policy was to include the boycott of Japanese-operated lines, with a program of new railway constructions capable of competing with and devaluing them. This is how, in 1931, Japan, seizing the pretext of some hostile acts carried out by Chinese hands in Manchuria, he occupied with arms a land which he had radically transformed in twenty years of tenacious efforts and to which many interests bind him. His action raised great resentment throughout China, where a boycott of Japanese goods was carried out in retaliation. In Shanghai, incidents between Japanese residents and elements of the local anti-Japanese organizations led, at the beginning of 1932, to a large-scale military action by Japan against the city, whose indigenous neighborhoods and suburbs, amid fierce fighting, were bombed and razed. on the ground, while the Chinese delegate in Geneva denounced the aggression suffered to the League of Nations.
Amidst the lengthy procedure and the hesitation of the Geneva assembly, events precipitated. On February 19, 1932, after an attempt at an agreement failed, the Japanese resumed the offensive more violently. The resistance of the Chinese was heroic and admirable, but in the night from 1 to 2 March, after a fierce action, they abandoned their lines and retreated for over 20 km., As the Japanese wanted. On May 5, the two contenders, after much discussion, signed an agreement that ended the conflict. Meanwhile, in Manchuria, independence was proclaimed on 18 February and on 9 March, in Chang-Ch’un, the capital of the new state, Pu-Yi, the dethroned emperor of China, was installed in the office of “administrator” of the state. Mancese (Man-chu Kuo): last result, this too, of Japan’s vigilant policy in Manchuria, achieved in an effort to free it from the not disinterested greed for interference on the part of other nations. And while the commission sent by the League of Nations presented its report (Lytton report) on the latest events in Geneva, Japan recognized the independence of the Man-chou Kuo, granting itself particular privileges in the new state, on September 15, 1932 (v.manchuria).