He westernization and reformation of Japan in the nineteenth century were motivated in large measure by a desire to escape the fate of Asian nations that had failed to make a thorough renovation. The example of China in particular seemed to prove the aggressive nature of European imperialism and the necessity for speedy and drastic changes. Japan's modernization, however, was not motivated by a defense mentality alone. There was, rather, a defense-in-depth concept whereby a renovated Japanese nation should, at the very least, join and, if possible, lead other Asian countries in resistance to the West. This awareness of community with Asia was a constant factor in Japanese politics during the Meiji period. The leaders of the liberal-democratic movement emphasized this theme most strongly; they sought from the first to apply their ideas abroad. They condemned their government's apparent indifference to Asian affairs and its anxiety to please the West. The liberals found a more ready response to such charges than they did to their proposals for changes at home, and so they tended to use them more and more. When this nationalist emphasis is considered in conjunction with the lack of a program of domestic and economic reform, the total effect of the liberal-democratic movement can be considered as tending toward militarism and aggression as often as it did toward peace and democracy.

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