Sugar growers, who dominated the Hawaiian Islands’ economy, imported thousands of immigrant laborers first from China, then Japan. “With startling rapidity the islands were flooded with Japanese, whose numbers increased from 116 in 1883 to 24,407 in 1896, out of a total population of 109,020.” At the time, the Republic of Hawai‘i and the US were in discussions for annexation of the Islands by the US. Japan protested Hawaiian annexation.
“What the Hawaiian treaty of annexation proposes is the extension of the treaties of the United States to the incorporated territory to replace the necessarily extinguished Hawaiian treaties in order that the guarantees of treaty rights to all may be unquestionable and continuous. … To this end the termination of the existing treaties of Hawai‘i is recited as a condition precedent. … It is the fact of the Hawai‘i’s ceasing to exist as an independent contract that extinguishes those contracts.”