Why was Japan upset with the Versailles Peace Conference?

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Japan was upset at the Versailles Peace Conference after World War I because it wanted a clause on racial inequality to be included in the charter of the League of Nations.  The clause was rejected even though a majority of the delegates voted for it.  It was rejected because important...

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Japan was upset at the Versailles Peace Conference after World War I because it wanted a clause on racial inequality to be included in the charter of the League of Nations.  The clause was rejected even though a majority of the delegates voted for it.  It was rejected because important countries like the US and Great Britain opposed it.

By the time of the peace conference, Japan was very concerned that it should be treated as an equal to the Western, white countries of the world.  It had been forced to sign unequal treaties with the West before it was a powerful country.  Japanese nationals had suffered from discrimination when they went to other countries, particularly the United States.  Japan was a proud country and it felt that it had proven that it was equal to the European countries by industrializing and by being able to defeat Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.  Therefore, Japan wanted a clause in the League of Nations’ charter that would require equal treatment of people of all races.

The US and Great Britain (along with Australia) were strongly opposed to this idea.  The US was, of course, a segregated country where racial discrimination was the law.  The British Empire was based largely on the idea that white people deserved to rule over non-whites.  For these reasons, they strongly opposed Japan’s proposal.  (Of course, Japan itself was not innocent in that it already controlled Korea, Taiwan, and parts of China and did not treat the natives of those lands as equals.)  Because its proposal for racial equality was rejected, Japan felt insulted and was upset about the outcome of the Versailles Peace Conference.

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