The Meiji leaders had experienced both the corrupt Tokugawa feudal rule and the pressure of Western imperialism. They agreed that modernization was the only way to save the country. Towards this end they issued a “Five Articles Oath” or “Charter Oath”. In this they stated that 1) Deliberative assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by public discussion. 2) All classes, high and low, shall unite in vigorously carrying out the administration of affairs of state. 3) The common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall each be allowed to pursue his own calling so that there may be no discontent. 4) Evil customs of the past shall be broken off and everything based upon the just laws of nature. 5) Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.
In 1871, the Meiji government announced the abolition of feudalism as a form of government. Clan governments and clan armies were ordered to dismiss. The Central Government divided Japan into 75 prefectures governed by centrally appointed officials. In 1873, it was announced that all landowners had to pay a yearly tax of 3% of the land value. Certificates of landownership were given to the farmers who paid taxes. They also provided for a new Council of State, legislative bodies, and systems of ranks for nobles and officials, limiting office tenure to four years, allowed public balloting, and ordered new local administrative rules. Shintoism, was adopted by