Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation

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Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, 16 July 1894.

The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (日英通商航海条約 Nichi-Ei Tsūshō Kōkai Jōyaku?) signed by Britain and Japan, on July 16, 1894, was a breakthrough agreement; it heralded the end of the unequal treaties and the system of extraterritoriality in Japan. The treaty came into force on July 17, 1899.

From that date British subjects in Japan were subject to Japanese laws instead of British laws. The jurisdiction of the British Supreme Court for China and Japan, the Court for Japan under it and consular courts in each treaty port ceased on that date, save for pending cases which were allowed to continue. British subjects from that date became subject to the jurisdiction of Japanese courts.

Other countries soon followed suit and the system of separate laws, which governed all the foreigners who were obliged to reside in the treaty ports, was thus abolished.

A copy of the treaty can be found in the Foreign Office treaty database.

The treaty was signed in London by John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley for Britain and Aoki Shūzō for Japan. It was a necessary pre-condition to the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902, as an alliance cannot be formed between unequal contracting parties. One of the important contributors to the negotiations leading to the treaty was the Minister Hugh Fraser, who died in Tokyo about a month before the treaty was concluded. Another was John Harington Gubbins.

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