The Russo-Japanese War began in February 1904 (37th year of Meiji) and lasted for 18 months until it was brought to a close in August 1905 (38th year of Meiji) at the Portsmouth Peace Conference.
Japan decided to sever diplomatic relations and declare war against Russia at an extraordinary Imperial Conference on February 4, 1904. Armed conflict broke out with the Russian fleet on February 8. On February 9, "the Imperial Edict on the declaration of war against Russia" was issued, and Japan entered into full scale war with Russia.
Japan gained the upper hand militarily, but started to exhaust national resources as the war became protracted. Russia on the other hand saw the Revolution break out. Both countries were thus finding it increasingly difficult to continue the war. It was then that President Theodore Roosevelt of the United States stepped in. Under his mediation, the Portsmouth Peace Conference was held. After a month long negotiation, the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty was signed on September 5, 1905 (38th year of Meiji) and ratified on October 16th. The instruments of ratification were exchanged in Washington D.C. on November 25.
The "Imperial Edict on peace with Russia" was the proclamation by the Emperor on the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty. The Imperial signature "Gyomei" and the Imperial seal "Gyoji" can be seen at the end of the document.
The "Privy Council minutes on the ratification of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty" includes a report by the chairman Ito Hirobumi at the meeting of the Council which was called to address the issue in the presence of the Emperor on October 4, 1905 (38th year of Meiji). Ito's report clearly indicates the significance of the Russo-Japanese War and the thinking of the Japanese government at the time.
Ito Hirobumi requested the Council to consider the case on its own merits, taking into account all aspects of the war since its beginning, as well as Russia's remaining capabilities and the broader world environment. He urged Council members to draw their own conclusion, and not be carried away by the views of the public or the House of Representatives. The treaty's ratification was approved unanimously.