Japanese declaration of war against Germany, 23 August 1914
We, by the grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial, do hereby make the following proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects:
We hereby declare war against Germany, and we command our army and navy to carry on hostilities against that Empire with all their strength, and we also command all our competent authorities to make every effort, in pursuance of their respective duties to attain the national aim by all means within the limits of the law of nations.
Since the outbreak of the present war in Europe, calamitous effect of which we view with grave concern, we on our part have entertained hopes of preserving the peace of the Far East by the maintenance of strict neutrality, but the action of Germany has at length compelled Great Britain, our ally, to open hostilities against that country, and Germany is at Kiaochou, its leased territory in China, busy with warlike preparations, while its armed vessels cruising seas of eastern Asia are threatening our commerce and that of our ally. The peace of the Far East is thus in jeopardy.
Accordingly, our Government and that of His Britannic Majesty, after full and frank communication with each other, agreed to take such measures as may be necessary for the protection of the general interests, contemplated in the agreement of alliance, and we on our part being desirous to attain that object by peaceful means commended our Government to offer with sincerity and advice to the Imperial German Government. By the last day appointed for the purpose, however, our Government failed to receive an answer accepting their advice. It is with profound regret that we, in spite of our ardent devotion to the cause of peace, are thus compelled to declare war, especially at this period of our reign and while we are still in mourning for our lamented mother.
It is our earnest wish that by the loyalty and valor of our faithful subjects peace may soon be restored and the glory of the Empire be enhanced.
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