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Abstract

Although the military and geopolitical relevance of World War I to Japan must be considered limited, its economic impact was considerable. In sharp contrast to the prewar deficit years, Japan saw its external trade expand rapidly. This article describes how the country's establishment reacted to this shift. In addition to lending to several allies, it also engaged in the politically risky strategy of extending loans to China. These "Nishihara loans" not only reverberated in U.S.-Japan relations for decades to come, but also impacted the Terauchi cabinet's decision to take part in a multilateral Siberian intervention. The domestic consequences of this intervention (the rice riots of 1918) would lead to the downfall of the cabinet and the shelving of pan-Asianist policies until the early 1930s. Economically, the 1920s were a decade of crises and reorientation in the postwar, mostly American-led order.

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