“Compulsory enlistment was introduced in Japan in 1873 with the principle of universal conscription. It advocated military service as the right of the people but it is well known that the general public did not welcome the new compulsory regime and there was a tendency to avoid being drafted into the armed services.
“… Japan’s victory [in the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895] raised the public’s opinion of the military dramatically and changed citizens’ attitudes towards military service. [But] there remained many cases of draft avoidance and also desertion. By 1903, the number had reached 70,000, more than one-eighth of eligible personnel, Leading up to the Russo-Japanese War, the governmen had to search for draft dodgers to procure sufficient soldiers.”
– The Russo-Japanese War in Global Perspective: World War Zero, Volume 2, edited by David Wolff, Steve Marks, Bruce Menning, David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, John Steinberg & Shinji Yokote, 2006