A Political History of Japan during the Meiji Era, 1867-1912

By Walter Wallace McLaren | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR

WHEN the Diet met on December 22, 1900, to organize for its fifteenth session, the Seiyukai commanded 155 seats, the Kenseito 101, the Teikokuto 14, and the Independents 30. The Government had a small majority in a House composed of 300 members. On December 25 the formal opening was held. The Emperor attended in person and received the Speech from the Throne from the hands of the Prime Minister, the two main topics referred to being the Boxer Rebellion and a project for an increase of taxation. The next day the reply to the Speech was drafted, and the House rose for the New Year recess, having previously agreed to reassemble on January 20.

The Budget was brought down to the Lower House immediately after the recess; the estimates provided for the balancing of the revenues and expenditures at approximately 255,000,000 yen, of which amount 88,000,000 yen was to be devoted to the military services; but the total figures in the estimates were of far less interest than the new taxation Bills, by which it was proposed to increase the levies on sugar, saké, beer, tobacco, etc. A large section of the Seiyukai opposed the new tax proposals, and a general meeting of the party was held on January 28 to arrange a compromise. Ito made his attitude clear by threatening to resign from the party if the Bills were not passed. Accordingly, on February 7 the

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