During the first two decades of the 20th century, relations between the United States and Japan were marked by increasing tensions and attempts to reduce the risk of diplomatic conflict. Each side had territory and interests in Asia, which they feared would threaten the other. U.S. treatment of Japanese immigrants and competition for economic and trade opportunities in China have also exacerbated tensions. At the same time, the territorial claims of each Pacific country have served as the basis for several agreements between the two nations, with each government striving to protect its own strategic and economic interests. However, in subsequent years, tensions increased over Japanese actions in northeastern China and immigration to the United States. In 1905, the Japanese began to establish more formal control over southern Manchuria by forcing China to transfer property rights to Japan on the South Manchurian Railway. The Japanese took advantage of this opening to make further incursions into northeastern China, which worried the Roosevelt administration about the violation of the ideals of free enterprise and the maintenance of China`s territorial integrity. At the same time, Japanese leaders expressed frustration with the treatment of Japanese immigrants in the United States.
A Japanese-American treaty signed in 1894 guaranteed the Japanese the right to emigrate to the United States and enjoy the same rights in the country as American citizens. However, in 1906, the San Francisco Board of Education passed a measure to send Japanese and Chinese children to separate schools. The Japanese government was outraged by this policy and claimed that it was contrary to the 1894 treaty. In a series of notes exchanged between late 1907 and early 1908, collectively known as the gentlemen`s agreement, the U.S. government agreed to pressure the San Francisco authorities to withdraw the measure and the Japanese government promised to limit the immigration of workers to the United States. In 1919, Japan and the United States clashed again in the League of Nations negotiations. The United States refused to accept Japan`s request for a racial equality clause or an admission of equality between nations. In addition, the Treaty of Versaille gave Japan control of valuable German concessions to Shandong, which caused an outcry in China. This, combined with the growing fear of a militant Japan, contributed to the league`s alliance defeat in the U.S. Senate. Persistent problems preventing accommodation have continued to be racial equality (particularly with respect to the treatment of Japanese immigrants in the United States) and differences in the management of expansion in Asia.
Despite numerous efforts to reach agreement on these points, Japan and the United States were again divided in the early 1920s. Once the immigration problem was resolved, the two countries met to secure each other`s territories and interests in East Asia. In 1908, U.S. Secretary of State Elihu Root and Japanese Ambassador Takahira Kogoro reached an agreement in which Japan promised to respect U.S. territorial possessions in the Pacific, its open-door policy in China, and limiting immigration to the United States, as outlined in the gentlemen`s agreement. The Japanese government has redirected its migrant workers to their stocks in Manchuria, saying they do not belong to China. For its part, the United States recognized Japanese control of Taiwan and the Pescadores, as well as Japan`s special interest in Manchuria. By repeating each country`s position in the region, the Root Takahira agreement served to reduce the risk of misunderstanding or war between the two nations. The Russo-Japanese War was a military conflict between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan from 1904 to 1905.