National Geographic : 1899 Sep
THE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF JAPAN 337 that the market in Japan for manufactures of this class will be seriously impaired by local production and manufacture. One important factor entering into the question of local man ufactures in Japan, making her a competitor with other coun tries which have formerly held this market, is that of labor. All recent writers agree that rates of wages in Japan have very much increased in the last few years and are likely to con tinue to increase, and that the fear formerly expressed that a combination of modern manufacturing developments with the cheap labor of the Orient would result in driving the manufact urers of other parts of the world out of the markets thus far does not seem to have been justified by the experiment. An interesting illustration of this statement is seen in the importa tions of clocks and watches. The opinion was expressed a few years ago that the cleverness of Japanese workmen in repro ducing articles of delicate workmanship brought to their atten tion would soon reduce to a minimum the importation of clocks and watches and other articles of this character. Experi ence, however, has not justified this belief. The importation of clocks and watches into Japan, according to the official figures of the Japanese government, has increased from $320,000 in 1892 to $1,400,000 in 1898. That the effect of the new treaties upon the business relations of foreigners in Japan will be extremely important, not alone to foreigners, but to Japanese commerce in general, is shown by the fact that in 1898 foreign merchants exported $53,650,000 in value of the total exports of $81,075,000, and imported $91,800,000 of the total imports, which amounted in that year to $136,720,000, or, in other words, of the total foreign commerce of Japan in 1898, which amounted to $217,800,000, $145,450,000, or about 67 per cent, was conducted by foreigners. While the foreign residents of Japan generally look with some anxiety upon the effect of the new relations, which will subject them to Japanese laws and customs, it is believed that their anxiety is more the dread of a change from a system to which they have always been accustomed than to any real hardships or disadvan tages which the new order is likely to develop.