THIS THE SAMPLE OF e-book in CD-rom ,the complete cd WITH ILLUSTRATION EXIST BUT ONLY FOR pREMIUM mEMBER,PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA COMMENT IN THIS BLOG
The Dai Nippon leader
DURING WORLD WAR II
Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA
After 68 years Dai Nippon surrendered in 1945 still not many informations about the Dai Nippon leader which related to that surrender moment.
I have made a research about them and everybody will know their biography
This informations still not complete ,please corrections and more info via comment
Jakarta March 2012
Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA
The Name of the Dai Nippon leader during Surrendered in 1945
The Suzuki cabinet in June, 1945
As prime minister, Adm. Kantarō Suzuki headed the Japanese government in the final months of the war
Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō
War Minister Korechika Anami
General Tanaka Shizuichi
The coup collapsed after Shizuichi Tanaka convinced the rebellious officers to go home. Tanaka committed suicide nine days later
General Kawabe Masakazu
Admiral Soemu Toyoda
Major Kenji Hatanaka
Kenji Hatanaka, leader of the coup d’état
Surrender ceremonies throughout the Pacific theater
Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō
Wrestling with a guilty verdict
Kazuhiko Togo’s grandfather was a Class-A war criminal. Here, he tells how he feels about that
Special to The Japan Times
Kazuhiko Togo, a retired career official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Ambassador to the Netherlands, is the grandson of Shigenori Togo, Japan’s foreign minister at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.
|Guilty: Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, who was convicted at the Tokyo Trial of Class-A war crimes. COURTESY OF KAZUHIKO TOGO|
His grandfather is one of the convicted Class-A war criminals who is enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
The enshrinement at this Shinto shrine that is a sacred site for Japan’s war dead was done without his family’s consent.
Kazuhiko Togo was raised under the shadow of the postwar International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), and he struggles over the verdicts, believing that his grandfather was wrongly found guilty of crimes against peace, while acknowledging that the nation must accept the verdicts as a price of its reintegration into the community of nations.
Due to a vigorous defense involving a U.S. attorney and his son-in-law, Shigenori Togo was given a 20-year prison sentence, the second-lightest among the 25 defendants sentenced at the conclusion of the trial 60 years ago.
Kazuhiko Togo’s grandmother, Togo’s German wife, and his mother, Shigenori’s only daughter, attended all sessions in which his grandfather took part. On the day of the verdict, his mother thought “we won,” given that 16 defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment and seven others were condemned to death by hanging, sentences that were carried out on Dec. 23, 1948.
Soon after finishing his memoirs, Togo died of a heart attack in prison in 1950 at the age of 67.
As foreign minister from Oct. 1941 to Sept. 1942, and again from April 1945 to Aug. 1945, he worked hard to avert war with the United States, and later worked hard to bring the war to a close — in both cases defying hardline military leaders who were eager for war and opposed to surrender.
However, given that he was foreign minister when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, and as he signed the declaration of war, he was targeted for prosecution.
Kazuhiko Togo said that, at the IMTFE, his grandfather sought to defend his own record and that of his nation.
His grandfather argued that Japan’s war against the U.S. was one of self-defense. On Nov. 26, 1941, the U.S. issued the Hull Note, a diplomatic proposal taken by many in Japan to be an ultimatum tantamount to a declaration of war. Togo’s mother told him, “Your grandfather, when he came home after receiving the Hull Note, was completely shattered and lost hope for peace.”
The Class-A war criminals were prosecuted for having committed “crimes against peace” by conspiring to engage in a war of aggression. Togo is critical of the IMTFE because of the deeply flawed legal procedures, the retroactive application of laws in contravention to international law and doubts that there was a conspiracy to wage a war of aggression.
Togo, however, accepts Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty (signed Sept. 8, 1951; in force from April 28, 1952) in which Japan accepted the verdicts of the IMTFE. The reintegration of Japan into the community of nations is based on a network of treaties and agreements that stem from Article 11. Having worked as a diplomat, Togo is keenly aware of how important it is for Japan to adhere to this network of treaties, saying: “To derogate these treaties is madness. There are no responsible political leaders who even for a minute dare to derogate postwar treaty obligations.”
|Interested party: Kazuhiko Togo is a retired diplomat and the grandson of Shigenori Togo, Japan’s foreign minister at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. To this day he remains troubled about the Tokyo Trial that found his grandfather guilty of Class-A war crimes. COURTESY OF KAZUHIKO TOGO|
For Togo, as a private citizen and researcher, there is a need to harmonize the unacceptability of the verdict about crimes against peace and the obligation to accept the verdicts of the IMTFE.
The virtue of the IMTFE was the chance to argue against the charges and explain the outbreak of war from Japan’s perspective. Thus, Togo praises the decision to appoint legal representation for the defendants, including U.S. lawyers, saying that they represented the “best of U.S. democratic traditions” and “were deeply appreciated by almost all of the defendants.”
Togo agrees with the decision by the U.S. not to prosecute Emperor Hirohito (known posthumously as Emperor Showa), arguing that preserving the Imperial Household was the only condition the Japanese insisted on in agreeing to the terms of surrender. Having raised no objections to this condition in accepting Japan’s surrender, the U.S. was obliged to honor it to show Japan it was a trustworthy nation.
Togo stated that one way that might have helped clarify war responsibility in Japan after the U.S. honored its commitment would have been the voluntary abdication of Emperor Hirohito.
If that had happened, it would also have facilitated reconciliation between Japan and its former enemies, he believes.
In fact, this idea was raised publicly in 1952 by a young Yasuhiro Nakasone, who served as prime minister from 1982-87.
Togo says it is important to go beyond criticizing the IMTFE, saying, “If you do not accept the verdict, then you must make the judgment of war responsibility yourself.”
Togo considers the recognition of wrongdoings and apologies by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, in 1995, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in 2005, as manifesting Japan’s own judgment on wartime misdeeds. But then, Togo argues: “If you have acknowledged past wrongdoings, then who is responsible for them? No answer is given yet. The Japanese have yet to fill this black hole.”
|In the clear: Emperor Michinomiya Hirohito, who never had to face the Tokyo Trial, is seen (third from right) inspecting anti-aircraft guns in Tokyo on June 8, 1942. AP PHOTO|
This belated reckoning, he believes, is important for Japan regaining its dignity as a nation and reanchoring its national identity within Asia.
It is with this in mind that he proposed a moratorium on Yasukuni Shrine visits by Prime Minister Koizumi’s successors after he left office in 2006, in order to create a breathing space for the nation to examine its wartime past and its responsibility for the tragedies it unleashed in the region.
More recently, citing the Japanese Supreme Courts’ rejection of compensation claims by Asian forced laborers, he argues that Japanese companies now have a legal immunity that enables them to seize the moral imperative and make a grand gesture of accepting moral responsibility.
For Togo, the real problem is that the Japanese have hidden behind the IMTFE and have not given an answer themselves about their war responsibility, a responsibility he believes transcends generations.
Clearly, Japanese public support for the war was widespread, and so Togo argues, “Serious thought should be given to the fact that responsibility could have lain in no other entity than the whole nation itself.”
Heroes to zero
In his view, the Japanese must do much more soul-searching about their war responsibility, and not just merely accept or reject the verdicts of the IMTFE. Hence the tragedy of the IMTFE involves both the miscarriage of justice and its enabling the Japanese to evade taking action themselves to assess their responsibility.
Clearly, the past casts a long shadow over contemporary Japan.
Togo believes: ” . . . that after 63 years since the end of World War II, the time has come for Japan not to resolve the past once and for all, but to find a way to live with it in greater harmony. In order to achieve this objective, there is a need to consolidate a synthetic path on historical memory, such as expressed by Murayama and Koizumi, and strengthen it.”
In December, Kodansha will publish, in Japanese, a book Togo has written titled “Japan’s History and Diplomacy: Yasukuni, Asia and the Tokyo Tribunal.” Through his insightful and provocative writing, he is working diligently and bravely to help Japan emerge from the shadows of its wartime history.
The Story of Nagasaki
Despite the horror of Hiroshima, there were many in the Japanese government that disbelieved the United States had the technical ability to develop, yet alone transport and drop, an atomic bomb.
The events of August 9 changed all that.
Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo called the ninth of August “a bad day.” The Soviet Union declared war on Japan, overrunning the Kwantung army in Manchuria. Sumihisa Ikeda, Director of the Imperial Cabinet Planning Board, described the once invincible army as “no more than a hollow shell.”
When news of the Nagasaki bombing reached Tokyo, Togo proposed acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration which set out terms of surrender for Japan and was signed by the United States, Great Britain, and China (U.S.S.R. ruler Joseph Stalin was a principal participant at Potsdam but did not sign the declaration). Japan’s Supreme War Direction Council was deadlocked on a decision.
Debate continued throughout that day and night. Finally, at 2 A.M. August 10, 1945, Prime Minister Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki respectfully begged His Imperial Majesty Hirohito to make a decision. Hirohito did not hesitate, “…I do not desire any further destruction of cultures, nor any additional misfortune for the peoples of the world. On this occasion, we have to bear the unbearable.” The emperor had spoken.
Unfortunately antisurrender sentiment and objections from much of the Japanese military was widespread. Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi, founder of the kamikazes, argued the Japanese “would never be defeated if we were prepared to sacrifice 20,000,000 Japanese lives in a ‘special attack’ effort.” He later committed suicide rather than surrender.
Hirohito was determined. Against all precedent, the emperor himself convened an Imperial Conference and at noon on August 15, 1945, announced Japan’s surrender. The war was over.
The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan’s Decision to Surrender?
Almost immediately following the end of World War II, Americans began to question the use of the atomic bomb and the circumstances surrounding the end of the Pacific War. More than half a century later, books and articles on the atomic bomb still provoke storms of debate among readers and the use of atomic weapons remains a sharply contested subject. As the 1995 controversy over the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum revealed, the issues connected with the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki continue to touch a sensitive nerve in Americans. Among scholars, disagreement remains no less heated. But, on the whole, this debate has been strangely parochial, centering almost exclusively on how the U.S. leadership made the decision to drop the bombs.
There are two distinct gaps in this historiography. First, with regard to the atomic bombs, as Asada Sadao in Japan correctly observes, American historians have concentrated on the “motives” behind the use of atomic bombs, but “they have slighted the effects of the bomb.” Second, although historians have been aware of the decisive influence of both the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war, they have largely sidestepped the Soviet factor, relegating it to sideshow status.
Two historians, Asada Sadao and Richard Frank, have recently confronted this issue head-on, arguing that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had a more decisive effect on Japan’s decision to surrender than did Soviet entry into the war. This essay challenges that view. It argues that (1) the atomic bombing of Nagasaki did not have much effect on Japan’s decision; (2) of the two factors—the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Soviet entry into the war—the Soviet invasion had a more important effect on Japan’s decision to surrender; (3) nevertheless, neither the atomic bombs nor Soviet entry into the war served as “a knock-out punch” that had a direct, decisive, and immediate effect on Japan’s decision to surrender; (4) the most important, immediate cause behind Japan’s decision to surrender were the emperor’s “sacred decision” to do so, engineered by a small group of the Japanese ruling elite; and (5) that in the calculations of this group, Soviet entry into the war provided a more powerful motivation than the atomic bombs to seek the termination of the war by accepting the terms specified in the Potsdam Proclamation. Further, by posing counterfactual hypotheses, I argue that Soviet entry into the war against Japan alone, without the atomic bombs, might have led to Japan’s surrender before November 1, but that the atomic bombs alone, without Soviet entry into the war, would not have accomplished this. Finally, I argue that had U.S. President Harry Truman sought Stalin’s signature on the Potsdam Proclamation, and had Truman included the promise of a constitutional monarchy in the Potsdam Proclamation, as Secretary of War Henry Stimson had originally suggested, the war might have ended sooner, possibly without the atomic bombs being dropped on Japan.
1: The Influence of the Hiroshima Bomb on Japan’s Decision to Surrender
In order to discuss the influence of the atomic bombs on Japan’s decision to surrender, we must examine three separate issues: (1) the effect of the Hiroshima bomb; (2) the effect of the Nagasaki bomb; and (3) the effect of the two bombs combined.
Let us first examine the effect of the Hiroshima bomb. In order to prove that the Hiroshima bomb had a decisive effect on Japan’s decision, Asada and Frank use the following evidence: (1) the August 7 cabinet meeting; (2) the testimony of Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Kido Koichi concerning the emperor’s statement on August 7; and (3) the emperor’s statement to Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori on August 8.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima
The Cabinet Meeting on August 7
According to Asada and Frank, the cabinet meeting on August 7 was a crucial turning point. Asada argues that, judging that “the introduction of a new weapon, which had drastically altered the whole military situation, offered the military ample grounds for ending the war,” Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori proposed that “surrender be considered at once on the basis of terms presented in the Potsdam Declaration [Proclamation].” Frank writes: “Togo extracted from the American statements about the ‘new and revolutionary increase in destruct[ive]’ power of the atomic bomb a reason to accept the Potsdam Proclamation.”
If these arguments are correct, there was indeed a fundamental change of policy, at least on the part of Togo, if not the entire cabinet, and the Hiroshima bomb had a decisive effect on Togo’s thinking, since until then he had been advocating suing for peace through Moscow’s mediation before considering the acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation. In his memoirs, however, Togo does not portray this cabinet meeting as a decisive turning point. The following is all he says about the cabinet meeting: “On the afternoon of the 7th, there was a cabinet meeting. The army minister and the home minister read their reports. The army appeared to minimize the effect of the bomb, without admitting that it was the atomic bomb, insisting that further investigation was necessary.”
The only source that makes a reference to Togo’s insistence on the acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation was the testimony given by Cabinet Minister Sakomizu Hisatsune under postwar interrogation. Citing Sakomizu’s testimony, Oi Atsushi, who interviewed Togo in preparation for the Tokyo trial, asked him about his alleged proposal to accept the Potsdam terms. Togo replied: “I reported that the United States was broadcasting that the atomic bomb would impart a revolutionary change in warfare, and that unless Japan accepted peace it would drop the bombs on other places. The Army… attempted to minimize its effect, saying that they were not sure if it was the atomic bomb, and that since it [had] dispatched a delegation, it had to wait for its report.” The picture that emerges from this testimony is that Togo merely reported the U.S. message. Perhaps he merely conveyed his preference to consider the Potsdam Proclamation by reporting Truman’s message. But when met with stiff opposition from Army Minister Anami Korechika, who dismissed the American atomic bomb message as mere propaganda, Togo, without a fight, accepted Anami’s proposal to wait until the delegation submitted its official findings. According to Sakomizu’s memoirs, Togo first proposed, and the cabinet agreed, that Japan should register a strong protest through the International Red Cross and the Swiss legation about the American use of the atomic bomb as a serious violation of international law prohibiting poisonous gas. Sakomizu further wrote: “There was an argument advocating the quick termination of war by accepting the Potsdam Proclamation,” but in view of the Army’s opposition, the cabinet merely decided to send the investigation team to Hiroshima.
In other words, neither the cabinet nor Togo himself believed that any change of policy was necessary on the afternoon of August 7, one day after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, although the majority of the cabinet members had already known that the bomb was most likely an atomic bomb, and furthermore that unless Japan surrendered, many atomic bombs might be dropped on other cities in Japan. In fact, far from entertaining the possibility of accepting the Potsdam terms, the cabinet was blatantly more combative against the United States, deciding to lodge a formal protest against the use of the atomic bomb.
What Did the Emperor Say on August 7?
The news of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima had already been brought to the emperor early in the morning on August 7, but Kido learned of it only at noon. Kido had an unusually long audience with the emperor that lasted from 1:30 to 2:05 in the Imperial Library. Kido’s diary notes: “The emperor expressed his august view on how to deal with the current situation and asked various questions.” But Kido’s diary says nothing about what the emperor’s view was and what questions he asked. Later, Kido recalled that Hirohito had told him: “Now that things have come to this impasse, we must bow to the inevitable. No matter what happens to my safety, we should lose no time in ending the war so as not to have another tragedy like this.” Citing Kido’s account as the decisive evidence, Asada concludes: “The Emperor was… from this time forward Japan’s foremost peace advocate, increasingly articulate and urgent in expressing his wish for peace.” Frank, however, does not share Asada’s description of the emperor as the “foremost peace advocate,” viewing him as wavering at times over whether or not Japan should attach more than one condition to its acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation.
Kido’s description of the emperor’s reaction to the Hiroshima bomb must be taken with a grain of salt. As Hirohito’s closest adviser, Kido worked assiduously to create the myth that the emperor had played a decisive role in ending the war. Kido’s testimony under interrogation on May 17, 1949, was designed to create the image of the benevolent emperor saving the Japanese from further devastation. Hirohito’s offer of “self-sacrifice” does not correspond to his behavior and thinking during those crucial days. It should be noted that on July 30, three days after he received a copy of the Potsdam Proclamation, Hirohito was concerned above all about the safety of the “three divine treasures” (sanshu no jingi) that symbolized the imperial household in Ise Shrine in the event of an enemy attack. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 Japanese were killed by American incendiary bombings during the eleven days from the Potsdam Proclamation to the Hiroshima bomb. Hirohito’s wish to prevent further sacrifice of his “children” (sekishi) at his own risk does not ring true. Contrary to Asada’s assertion, Hirohito’s first and foremost preoccupation was the preservation of the imperial house. Neither does his subsequent behavior indicate that Hirohito was the most persistent, articulate advocate of immediate peace. Here, Frank’s skepticism is closer to the truth than Asada’s conclusion.
The Emperor’s Statement to Togo on August 8
On the following morning, August 8, Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori went to the imperial palace for an audience with the emperor. According to Asada, using the American and British broadcasts “to buttress his case,” Togo urged the emperor to agree to end the war as quickly as possible “on condition, of course, that the emperor system be retained.” Hirohito concurred and replied:
Now that such a new weapon has appeared, it has become less and less possible to continue the war. We must not miss a chance to terminate the war by bargaining [with the Allied powers, Asada adds] for more favorable conditions now. Besides, however much we consult about [surrender, Asada adds] terms we desire, we shall not be able to come to an agreement. So my wish is to make such arrangements as will end the war as soon as possible.
From this statement, Asada concludes that “the emperor expressed his conviction that a speedy surrender was the only feasible way to save Japan.” Hirohito urged Togo to “do [his] utmost to bring about a prompt termination of war,” and told the foreign minister to convey his desire to Prime Minister Suzuki Kantaro. “In compliance with the imperial wish, Togo met Suzuki and proposed that, ‘given the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Supreme War Council be convened with all dispatch.’” Frank’s interpretation follows Asada’s basic assumption. According to Frank, “Togo called for immediate termination of the war on the basis of the Potsdam Declaration [Proclamation],” but unlike Asada, he asserts that Hirohito “still balked personally at simple acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration [Proclamation].”
The crucial question here, however, concerns the effect of the Hiroshima bomb on the emperor. Both Asada and Frank make the argument that Togo’s meeting with the emperor was a crucial turning point in both men’s decision to seek an immediate end to the war on the terms stipulated by the Potsdam Proclamation. This argument, however, is not convincing.
“We must not miss a chance to terminate the war by bargaining for more favorable conditions now,” Togo quotes the emperor as saying. Asada adds the words, “with the Allied powers” in brackets after “bargaining,” to read: “We must not miss a chance to terminate the war by bargaining [with the Allied powers] for more favorable conditions now.” Asada takes this to mean that the emperor wished to end the war by accepting the Potsdam Proclamation. Is it correct, however, to interpret the implied meaning here as “bargaining with the Allied powers?” As I argue below, Togo had dispatched an urgent telegram to Japan’s ambassador to the USSR, Sato Naotake, only the previous day, instructing the latter to obtain Moscow’s answer to Prince Konoe Fumimaro’s mission. It is also important to recall that the Japanese government decided to suspend judgment on the Potsdam Proclamation precisely because it had pinned its last hope on Moscow’s mediation. Whom was the Japanese government bargaining with at that moment? Certainly, it was not the Allied powers, as Asada has inserted in brackets. The only party with whom Japan was “bargaining” at that moment was the Soviet Union, not the Allied powers, and the Japanese government preferred to suspend judgment over the Potsdam terms as long as the possibility of Moscow’s mediation still seemed available to it. Hirohito’s statement did not change this position.
Before the Hiroshima bombing, Togo had already become convinced that sooner or later, Japan would have to accept the Potsdam terms. It is possible that the Hiroshima bomb further reinforced his conviction. But it bears repeating that he did not take the initiative to reverse the previous course, and that he did not propose direct negotiations with the United States and Britain. As for the emperor, it is possible that the Hiroshima bomb contributed to his urgent desire to terminate the war, but it is erroneous to say that immediately after the Hiroshima bomb, Hirohito decided to accept the Potsdam terms, as Asada asserts.
When Did Suzuki Decide to Terminate the War?
Another piece of evidence on which Asada’s and Frank’s argument is constructed is Prime Minister Suzuki’s statement. According to Asada, on the night of August 8, Suzuki told Sakomizu: “Now that we know it was an atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, I will give my views on the termination of the war at tomorrow’s Supreme War Council.” After the war, Suzuki made another statement: “The atomic bomb provided an additional reason for surrender as well as an extremely favorable opportunity to commence peace talks.” From these statements, Asada concludes: “The hitherto vacillating and sphinx-like Suzuki had finally made up his mind. It is important to note that Suzuki did so before he was informed of the Soviet entry into the war early on the following day.”
Asada’s conclusion is based on the 1973 version of Sakomizu’s memoirs, according to which, Suzuki called Sakomizu late at night and made the statement quoted by Asada. Sakomizu explains that Suzuki relied on a prepared text written by his secretaries in order to make an official statement. Three pages later, Sakomizu writes: “On Prime Minister Suzuki’s order, I had been working hard to write a text for the prime minister’s statement for the cabinet meeting on the following day since the evening of August 8” (emphasis added). At around one o’clock in the morning on August 9, Hasegawa Saiji of the Domei News Agency telephoned to inform him of the Soviet Union’s entry into the war.
Sakomizu’s 1973 memoirs contain crucial inconsistencies with respect to timing. In his earlier memoirs published in 1964, Sakomizu says that after he informed the prime minister of Dr. Nishina’s report on the Hiroshima atomic bomb, which he had received on the evening of August 8, Suzuki ordered him to call meetings of the Supreme War Council and the cabinet “tomorrow on August 9 so that we can discuss the termination of the war.” It took Sakomizu until 2 A.M. on August 9 to complete the preparations for the meetings on the following day. He finally went to bed thinking about the crucial meeting between Molotov and Sato in Moscow. It was not until three in the morning that Hasegawa called and told him about the Soviet declaration of war on Japan. The timeline described in his 1964 memoirs makes more sense than that in the 1973 memoirs. According to Hasegawa’s testimony, it was not until 4:00 A.M. on August 9 that he telephoned Sakomizu about the Soviet declaration of war, a fact that corresponds to Sakomizu’s account in the 1964 memoirs, but not to that in the 1973 memoirs. Sphinx-like Suzuki, as Asada calls him, had previously confided his views favoring peace privately on numerous occasions, but for domestic morale reasons, he had trumpeted bellicose statements, to the constant chagrin of the foreign minister. The dropping of the atomic bomb reinforced Suzuki’s determination to seek an end to the war, as it did the emperor’s. Nevertheless, it is likely that Suzuki, like everybody else, hoped for Moscow’s mediation to achieve this, as Sakomizu’s 1964 memoirs indicate.
What is important, moreover, is the evidence that Asada chooses to ignore. According to Suzuki’s biography, the prime minister came to the clear conclusion after the Hiroshima bomb that there was no other alternative but to end the war. Nevertheless, it was not until he learned of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria that he “was finally convinced that the moment had at last arrived to end the war, since what we had been afraid of and tried to avoid at any cost had finally come about [kitarubekimono ga kita].” He thought that “now is the time to realize the emperor’s wish,” and “in view of the urgency of the situation, I finally made up my mind to be in charge of the termination of the war, taking all the responsibility upon myself.” This biography makes it clear that Suzuki did not make up his mind about terminating the war until the Soviet entry into the war.
Togo’s Telegram on August 7
That Togo did not change the policy even after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima can be ascertained from important evidence that both Asada and Frank ignore. Right after the cabinet meeting on August 7, Togo dispatched an urgent telegram, no. 993, to Ambassador Sato in Moscow, saying: “The situation is becoming more and more pressing. We must know the Soviets’ attitude immediately. Therefore, do your best once more to obtain their reply immediately.” In the context of the effect of the Hiroshima bomb, this telegram shows that the Japanese government as a whole, and Togo personally, still clung to the hope that the termination of the war was possible and desirable through Moscow’s mediation. This was the line that Togo had followed since the Potsdam Proclamation had been issued by the Allies. The Hiroshima bomb did not change this policy.
The emperor’s statement to Togo, cited by Asada and Frank, can therefore be interpreted as the continuation of, not a departure from, the previous policy. If anything, the Japanese ruling elite pinned their hopes more desperately on Moscow’s mediation after the Hiroshima bomb. There is no evidence to show that the emperor’s words “We must end the war” should be interpreted as “ending the war by accepting the Potsdam Proclamation,” as Asada and Frank argue. When Ambassador Sato cabled to Tokyo that Molotov had finally agreed to see him at 5 P.M. on August 8, no one, including the usually shrewd and hard-nosed Sato himself, doubted that Molotov would give Sato an answer to Japan’s long-standing request that Moscow receive Prince Konoe as the emperor’s special envoy.
There is no evidence to indicate that the Hiroshima bomb immediately and directly induced either the Japanese government as a whole or individual members, including Togo, Suzuki, Kido, and Hirohito, to terminate the war by accepting the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation. Japan could wait until Moscow’s reaction before it would decide on the Potsdam terms.
Measuring the Shock Value
Asada argues that the atomic bombs provided a greater shock to Japanese policymakers than the Soviet entry into the war because (1) the bombing was a direct attack on the Japanese homeland, compared with the Soviet Union’s “indirect” invasion in Manchuria; and (2) it was not anticipated. As for the first argument, the comparison between atomic bombings of the homeland and the Soviet invasion in Manchuria is irrelevant. American conventional air attacks had had little effect on Japan’s resolve to fight the war. What separated the conventional attacks and the atomic bombs was only the magnitude of the one bomb, and it is known that the cumulative effects of the conventional attacks by American air raids caused more devastation in terms of the number of deaths and destruction of industries, ports, and railroads. But the number of sacrifices was not the major issue for Japanese policymakers.
The hierarchy of values under which the Japanese ruling elite operated is crucial in understanding the psychological factor involved in evaluating the effect of the atomic bombs on Japan’s decision to surrender. The number of victims and profound damage that the atomic bombs inflicted on the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which the American policymakers had hoped would have a decisive influence on the Japanese government, were not among the top considerations of the Japanese ruling elite. The Japanese policymakers, from the emperor down to the military and civilian leaders, including Togo himself, were prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions more Japanese to maintain the kokutai (national polity), however they interpreted this nebulous concept. If the effects of the bombs caused concern for the ruling elite—especially to Hirohito, Kido, Konoe, and others closest to the emperor—it was because the devastation caused by the bombs might lead to a popular revolt that could sweep away the emperor system.
If the degree of shock can be measured by the action taken in response to the event, one might argue that the Hiroshima bomb did not have a greater effect than Soviet entry into the war, since no one, including Hirohito, Kido, Suzuki, and Togo, took any concrete actions to respond to the Hiroshima bomb. The Supreme War Council was not even convened for three full days after the Hiroshima bomb; not until after the USSR entered the war against Japan did it meet. It is true that the emperor instructed Suzuki to convene the Supreme War Council, and Sakomizu attempted to hold the meeting on Suzuki’s orders. But “because some military leaders had prior commitments,” he could not arrange the meeting until the morning of August 9. Asada considers this delay “criminal,” but this laxity is indicative of the way the ruling elite felt regarding the “shock” of the Hiroshima bomb.
The Supreme War Council that was convened on the morning of August 9 immediately after the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was not the same meeting that Sakomizu had arranged on the previous night. The formality of the Supreme War Council meeting required a new summons in order to convene. Sakomizu’s previous arrangements made it easier to summon the new meeting, but the speed with which the Supreme War Council was convened indicates the urgency that the Japanese government felt about the situation immediately after the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Such urgency was absent in its reaction to the Hiroshima bombing. On August 10 and on August 14, Hirohito summoned the imperial conference on his own initiative. It was within his power to do so, but no one believed this was called for immediately after the Hiroshima bombing.
Finally, in his telegram to Sato on August 7, Togo described the situation as “becoming more and more pressing,” but not completely desperate. The Hiroshima bomb did not make the Japanese ruling elite feel as though their backs were to the wall. It inflicted a serious body blow, but it was hardly a knock-out punch.
2. The Influence of the Nagasaki Bomb and of the Two Atomic Bombs Combined
Chronologically, the Soviet entry into the war was sandwiched between the Hiroshima bomb and the Nagasaki bomb. But here, reversing the chronological order, I shall discuss the effect of the Nagasaki bomb first.
The news of the Nagasaki bomb was reported to Japanese leadership during the middle of a heated discussion at the Supreme War Council after the Soviet invasion, but this news had no effect on the discussion. Asada concedes that “[the] strategic value of a second bomb was minimal,” but says that “from the standpoint of its shock effect, the political impact of [the] Nagasaki bomb cannot be denied.” He explains that Suzuki now began to fear that “the United States, instead of staging the invasion of Japan, will keep on dropping atomic bombs.” Asada therefore concludes that the Nagasaki bomb was “unnecessary to induce Japan to surrender, but it probably had confirmatory effects.” It is true that Suzuki said at the cabinet meeting on the afternoon of August 13 that the atomic bombs nullified the traditional form of homeland defense. But it appears that the military treated the Nagasaki bomb as a part of the ordinary incendiary air raids. Even after the Nagasaki bomb, and even though Anami made startling assertions that the United States might possess more than 100 atomic bombs, and that the next target might be Tokyo, the military insisted upon the continuation of the Ketsu Go strategy. Anami’s revelation did not seem to have any effect on the positions that each camp had held. The Nagasaki bomb simply did not substantially change the arguments of either side. The official history of the Imperial General Headquarters notes: “There is no record in other materials that treated the effect [of the Nagasaki bomb] seriously.”
Nagasaki following the atomic bombing
Thus, it is fair to conclude that the Nagasaki bomb and, for that matter, the two bombs combined, did not have a decisive influence on Japan’s decision to surrender. Remove the Nagasaki bomb, and Japan’s decision would have been the same.
3. The Influence of the Soviet Entry into the War
According to Asada, of the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave Japanese leaders the greater shock. He argues:
From the viewpoint of the shock effect, then, it may be argued that the bomb had a greater impact on Japanese leaders than did the Soviet entry into the war. After all, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria gave them an indirect shock, whereas the use of the atomic bomb on their homeland gave them the direct threat of the atomic extinction of the Japanese people.
The shock of the bomb was all the greater because it came as a “surprise attack.”
Frank also asserts: “the Soviet intervention was a significant but not decisive reason for Japan’s surrender. It was, at best, a reinforcing but not fundamental reason for the intervention by the Emperor.”
The Japanese General Staff’s Assessment of the Soviet Threat
Asada’s assumption that since the Japanese military had anticipated the Soviet attack, it was not a shock to them when it really happened is questionable. The Japanese military began reassessing the Soviet threat even before Germany surrendered in May. On June 8, the imperial conference adopted the document “The Assessment of the World Situation,” prepared by the General Staff. This assessment judged that after the German capitulation, the Soviet Union would plan to expand its influence in East Asia, especially in Manchuria and China, when an opportunity arose. The USSR had taken a series of measures against Japan, it continued, to prepare to enter into hostile diplomatic relations, while reinforcing its troops in the east. Therefore, when Moscow judged that the military situation had become extremely disadvantageous to Japan and that its own sacrifice would be small, the document concluded, there was a great probability that the Soviet Union might decide to enter the war against Japan. It predicted that in view of the American military plan, the climatic conditions in Manchuria, and the rate of the military buildup in the Soviet Far East, an attack might come in the summer or the fall of 1945. The General Staff further paid close attention to the rate of Soviet reinforcement of troops and equipment in the Far East. By the end of June, the USSR had already sent troops, weapons, airplanes, tanks, and other equipment far surpassing the level that had existed there in 1941. The General Staff concluded that if this pace were kept up, the Soviet military would reach a preparedness level sufficient to go to war against Japan by August.
In the beginning of July, the General Staff refined this assessment and came to the conclusion that the USSR might likely launch large-scale operations against Japan after February 1946, while the initial action to prepare for this operation in Manchuria might take place in September 1945. This assessment concluded: “It is unlikely that the Soviet Union will initiate military action against Japan this year, but extreme vigilance is required over their activities in August and September.” Thus, the General Staff thought that a Soviet attack might be possible, but what dominated its thinking was the hope that it could be avoided. On the basis of this wishful thinking, the General Staff did not prepare the Kwantung Army for a possible Soviet invasion. In fact, despite the General Staff’s assessment that the Soviet attack might occur in August–September, the military preparedness of the Kwantung Army was such that had an attack occurred in August–September, it would not have had any possibility of defending itself.
The General Staff was not unanimous in its assessment of Soviet intentions. The Fifth Division of the Strategy Guidance Department of the General Staff was in charge of intelligence regarding the Soviet Army, and it was the conclusions of this division that resulted in the portion of the General Staff’s assessment that predicted the possibility of a Soviet attack in August–September. The assessment of the Fifth Division met opposition from the Twelfth Division (War Guidance Division), headed by Colonel Tanemura Suetaka. Tanemura was one of the staunch advocates who insisted upon the need to keep the Soviet Union neutral. At one meeting at the end of July, Tanemura strenuously objected to Colonel Shiraki Suenari’s assessment that the Soviet attack might come as early as August 10. Tanemura assailed this assessment, stating: “This assessment overexaggerates the danger. Stalin is not so stupid as to attack Japan hastily. He will wait until Japan’s power and military become weakened, and after the American landing on the homeland begins.” Since the Twelfth Division was closely connected with the Bureau of Military Affairs, the nerve center of the General Staff, Tanemura’s view became the prevailing policy of the General Staff, and hence of the Army as a whole.
On August 8, one day before the Soviet invasion, the General Staff’s Bureau of Military Affairs produced a study outlining what Japan should do if the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding Japan’s total withdrawal from the Asian continent. According to this plan, the following alternatives were suggested: (1) reject the Soviet demand and carry out the war against the Soviet Union in addition to the United States and Britain; (2) conclude peace with the United States and Britain immediately and concentrate on the war against the Soviet Union; (3) accept the Soviet demand and seek Moscow’s neutrality, while carrying on the war against the United States and Britain; and (4) accept the Soviet demand and involve the Soviet Union in the Greater East Asian War. Of these alternatives, the army preferred to accept the Soviet demand and either keep the Soviet Union neutral or, if possible, involve the Soviet Union in the war against the United States and Britain.
The Bureau of Military Affairs also drafted a policy statement for the Supreme War Council in the event that the Soviet Union decided to participate in the war against Japan. In that case, it envisioned the following policy: (1) fight only in self-defense, without declaring war on the Soviet Union; (2) continue negotiations with the Soviet Union to terminate the war, with the minimal conditions of the preservation of the kokutai and the maintenance of national independence; (3) issue an imperial rescript appealing to the people to maintain the Yamato race; and (4) establish a martial law regime. In a document presented to the Supreme War Council, the army recommended that if the Soviet Union entered the war, Japan should “strive to terminate the war with the Soviet Union as quickly as possible, and to continue the war against the United States, Britain, and China, while maintaining Soviet neutrality.” In his postwar testimony, Major-General Hata Hikosaburo, the Kwantung Army’s chief of staff, recalled that the Kwantung Army had believed that it could count on Soviet neutrality until the spring of the following year, although it allowed for the slight chance of a Soviet attack in the fall.
It bears emphasizing that right up to the moment of invasion, the army not only did not expect an immediate Soviet invasion but also it still believed that it could either maintain Soviet neutrality or involve the Soviet Union in the war against the United States and Britain. The thinking that dominated the center of the army and the Kwantung Army was indeed “wishful thinking,” that a Soviet attack, although possible, would not happen.
Thus, it is misleading to conclude, as Asada does, that since the army had assessed that the Soviet attack might take place, the Soviet invasion into Manchuria was not a shock to the Japanese military. The Bureau of Military Affairs suppressed the prediction that a Soviet attack was imminent and relied instead on its wishful thinking that it could be avoided. Its strategy was based on this assessment. Therefore, when Soviet tanks crossed the Manchurian border, the news certainly was a great shock to it, contrary to Asada’s assertion.
Deputy Chief of Staff Kawabe’s Attitude
To support his assertion that the Soviet invasion had little effect on the Japanese military’s will to fight, Asada cites the following passage from Deputy Chief of Staff Kawabe Torashiro’s diary entry from the crucial day, August 9, 1945: “To save the honor of the Yamato race, there is no way but to keep on fighting. At this critical moment, I don’t even want to consider peace or surrender.” But if we examine Kawabe’s diary more closely, a slightly different picture emerges.
Kawabe was awakened in bed at the General Staff headquarters at around 6:00 A.M., and he received the news from his aide that the Intelligence Division had intercepted broadcasts from Moscow and San Francisco reporting that the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan. Kawabe wrote down his first impressions of the news as follows:
The Soviets have finally risen! [So wa tsuini tachitari!] My judgment has proven wrong. But now that the situation has come to this, we should not consider seeking peace. We had half anticipated this military situation and the military fortune. There is nothing to think about. To save the honor of the Yamato race, there is no other way but to keep fighting. When we decided to begin the war, I always belonged to the soft and prudent faction, but once the situation has come to this, I don’t like to think about peace and surrender. Whatever the outcome, we have no choice but to try.
Asada is correct in pointing out that despite the news of the Soviet invasion in Manchuria, Kawabe was determined to continue the war. And yet Kawabe’s diary also betrays the shock and confusion he felt at the news. Contrary to his “judgment,” Kawabe conceded, “the Soviets have risen!” This exclamation mark speaks volumes about Kawabe’s shock. In fact, until then all Ketsu Go strategy had been built upon the assumption that the USSR should be kept neutral, and for that reason Kawabe himself had campaigned hard for the Foreign Ministry to secure Soviet neutrality through negotiations. He admitted that his judgment had proved wrong. But this admission was immediately followed by a Monday morning quarterback–like reflection that the eventuality of a Soviet attack had been in the back of his mind. This is not necessarily a contradiction. In fact, Kawabe and the Army General Staff had been bothered by the nagging suspicion that the Soviets might strike at Japan. This suspicion, however, prompted the army to double its efforts to secure Soviet neutrality. Moreover, the army did not anticipate, first, that the attack was to come so soon, at the beginning of August, and second, that the Soviet invasion would take place on such a large scale against the Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea from all directions.
Kawabe’s diary also reveals his confusion. If his judgment proved wrong, logically it should follow that the strategy that he had advocated based on the erroneous assumption should have been reexamined. Instead of adopting this logical deduction, Kawabe “did not feel like peace and surrender in this situation.” This was not rational strategic thinking, but a visceral reluctance to accept surrender. The only rationale he could justify for the continuation of war was “the honor of the Yamato race.” His insistence on fighting was also a preemptive move, anticipating, quite correctly, that the peace party would launch a coordinated move to end the war. Nevertheless, his argument for the continuation of war indicated the degree of the army’s desperation and confusion.
If the Soviet invasion indeed shocked the military, which event, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or the Soviet attack, provided a bigger shock? In order to answer this question, one must compare the August 9 entry with the August 7 entry in Kawabe’s diary. In the entry for August 7, Kawabe wrote: “As soon as I went to the office, having read various reports on the air raid by the new weapon on Hiroshima yesterday morning of the 6th, I was seriously disturbed [shinkokunaru shigeki o uketari, literally, ‘received a serious stimulus’] With this development [kakutewa] the military situation has progressed to such a point that it has become more and more difficult. We must be tenacious and fight on.” Kawabe admitted that he was disturbed by, or more literally, received “a serious stimulus [shigeki]” from the reports of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. Nevertheless, he avoided using the term “shogeki [shock].” Compared with this passage describing the news of the atomic bomb as a matter of fact, the first thing that catches the eye in his entry for August 9 is the first sentence, “So wa tsuini tachitari!” (“The Soviets have finally risen!”). As far as Kawabe was concerned, there is no question but that the news of the Soviet attack gave him a much bigger shock than the news of the atomic bomb.
Both diary entries advocated continuing the war. But there was a subtle change. While the effects of the atomic bomb were described as having worsened the military situation, there was no change in the overall assumptions. But Kawabe’s insistence on fighting after the Soviet attack is marked by his defensive tone, deriving partly from the anticipated move for peace and partly from the disappearance of the fundamental assumptions on which the continuation of the war had rested. In this respect, too, the shock of the Soviet attack was much greater to the military than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Kawabe’s August 9 diary entry goes on to describe the subsequent events at General Staff headquarters. He recorded his decisions in an elliptical memorandum that singles out the continuation of war against the United States as the major task, and suggests the following measures: (1) proclaim martial law, dismiss the current cabinet, and form a military dictatorship; (2) abandon Manchuria, defend Korea, and dispatch troops from northern China to the Manchurian-Korean border; (3) evacuate the Manchurian emperor to Japan; and (4) issue a proclamation in the name of the army minister to avoid disturbances (doyo) within the military. Thus, in Kawabe’s mind, the continuation of war was associated with the establishment of a military dictatorship in order to forestall the movement to end the war that would inevitably gather momentum as Soviet tanks penetrated deep into Manchuria.
Kawabe’s diary entry for the evening of August 9 also indicates his psychological condition. Unable to sleep because of mosquitoes and Tokyo’s tropical heat, he mused on the fate of the country: “To continue fighting will mean death, but to make peace with the enemy will mean ruin. But we have no choice but to seek life in death with the determination to have the entire Japanese people perish with the homeland as their deathbed pillow by continuing to fight, thereby keeping the pride of the Yamato race forever.”
Insisting on the continuation of the war clearly lacked all strategic rationale.
Kawabe’s determination to fight, however, easily collapsed as soon as the emperor’s “sacred decision” was made at the imperial conference on August 10. After he was informed of the result of the imperial conference, he noted in his diary: “Alas, everything is over.” He was critical of the argument advanced by Anami, Umezu, and Toyoda, because he did not believe the conditions they had insisted upon would be accepted by the enemy. For Kawabe, there were only two options: either accept unconditional surrender or perish to maintain honor. The emperor’s decision revealed that he had completely lost his trust in the military. In Kawabe’s view, this was not merely the emperor’s opinion, but the expression of the general view broadly shared by the Japanese people as a whole. Kawabe continues:
How is it that not one military officer from the army and the navy before the emperor could assure [him] that we would be able to win the war? …How ambiguous the answer of the two chiefs was: “Although we cannot say that we shall be able to win the war definitely, we have no reason to believe that we shall definitely lose the war.” No, I am not criticizing their answer. Their answer reflects reality. Although I have persistently insisted on the continuation of war and have encouraged myself to continue fighting, I would have no choice but to give the same answer as given by the chiefs if I were to be asked about the probability of our victory. I am only driven by the sentiment that “I don’t want to surrender; I don’t want to say surrender even if I am killed,” and wish to limit the conditions for the termination of the war.
Kawabe further noted that the General Staff officers knew more than anyone else about the difficulty of continuing the war.
In November 1949, Kawabe gave this testimony in response to point-blank questions : “[B]etween the atomic bombing and the entry of Soviet Russia into the war, which of the two factors played a greater part in bringing about the cessation of hostilities?” the U.S. GHQ interrogator, Oi Atsushi, asked. Kawabe replied:
When the atomic bomb was dropped, I felt: “This is terrible.” Immediately thereafter, it was reported Soviet Russia entered the war. This made me feel: “This has really become a very difficult situation.”
Russia’s participation in the war had long since been expected, but this does not mean that we had been well prepared for it. It was with a nervous heart filled with fear that we expected Russia to enter the war. Although it was a reaction of a man who was faced with the actual occurrence of the inevitable, mine was, to speak more exact, a feeling that “what has been most [feared] has finally come into reality.” I felt as though I had been given a thorough beating in rapid succession, and my thoughts were, “So not only has there been an atomic bombing, but this has come, too.”
I believe that I was more strongly impressed with the atomic bomb than other people. However, even then, … because I had a considerable amount of knowledge on the subject of atomic bombs, I had an idea that even the Americans could not produce so many of them. Moreover, since Tokyo was not directly affected by the bombing, the full force of the shock was not felt. On top of it, we had become accustomed to bombings due to frequent raids by B-29s.
Actually, [the] majority in the army did not realize at first that what had been dropped was an atomic bomb, and they were not generally familiar with the terrible nature of the atomic bomb. It was only in a gradual manner that the horrible wreckage which had been made of Hiroshima became known, instead of in a manner of a shocking effect.
In comparison, the Soviet entry into the war was a great shock when it actually came. Reports reaching Tokyo described Russian forces as “invading in swarms.” It gave us all the more severe shock and alarm because we had been in constant fear of it with a vivid imagination that “the vast Red Army forces in Europe were now being turned against us.” In other words, since the atomic bomb and the Russian declaration of war were shocks in a quick succession, I cannot give a definite answer as to which of the two factors was more decisive in ending hostilities.
Kawabe’s testimony repudiates Asada’s contention that since it was anticipated, the Soviet attack did not represent a shock to the military. Moreover, up to the last sentence, Kawabe’s argument reinforces the view that the Soviet entry into the war had a greater effect on the military than the atomic bomb.
Frank dismisses this statement by arguing that the emperor’s decision to surrender was made even before the accurate assessment of the Manchurian situation reached Tokyo. This is hardly a convincing argument. The effect of the Soviet entry had little relation to the military situation in Manchuria. The very fact that the USSR had entered the war shattered Japan’s last hope for ending it through Soviet mediation. In other words, the political consequence of the Soviet action, not the military situation in Manchuria, was the crucial factor.
Other Testimonies by Military Leaders
A document in Arisue Kikan News no. 333, which gave the Army Ministry’s answer to the prepared questions of the GHQ, provides interesting information. To the question of whether or not the army knew that sooner or later the Soviet Union would join the war with the Allies against Japan, the Army Ministry answered that it had had no knowledge of this. The army had tried to prevent the Soviet Union from participating in the war, because it had believed that Soviet participation would have a great political and strategic effect on major operations against Japan’s main enemy, the United States. Japan was prepared to give up Manchuria in order to keep the USSR out of the war. To the question of whether or not Japan would have accepted surrender before the Soviet entry into the war, this document answers: “The Soviet participation in the war had the most direct impact on Japan’s decision to surrender.”
Major-General Amano Masakazu, the operations department chief at Imperial General Headquarters, replied this way to GHQ interrogation regarding the effect of Soviet entry into the war: “It was estimated that the Soviet Union would most likely enter the war in early autumn. However, had the Soviet Union entered the war, the Imperial General Headquarters had no definite plan to resist the Soviet Union for a long period while effectively carrying out a decisive battle with the American forces on the other. There was nothing to be done but hope that … the 17th Area Army [of the Kwantung Army], reinforced by crack units from the China area, would do their best and would be able to hold out as long as possible.” Amano confessed that the army had possessed no way to counter a Soviet attack, although it thought that this might come in early autumn. It is difficult then to argue from Amano’s statement, as Asada does, that simply because it had been anticipated, the Soviet attack was not a great surprise to the army.
Lieutenant-General Ikeda Sumihisa, director of the General Planning Agency, testified that “upon hearing of the Soviet entry into the war, I felt that our chances were gone.” Having served in the Kwantung Army, he knew its condition well. The Kwantung Army was no more than a hollow shell, largely because it had been transferring its troops, equipment, and munitions to the home islands since the latter part of 1944 in anticipation of the homeland defense. Ikeda often told the commander of the Kwantung Army “that if the USSR entered the war, Japan would never be able to continue the war.” He firmly believed that “in the event that the Soviet [Union] entered the war, Japan’s defeat would be a foregone conclusion.”
Colonel Hayashi Saburo, Anami’s secretary, was asked by a GHQ interrogator about the influence of the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war on Anami’s views regarding the termination of the war. Hayashi did not say anything about the effect of the atomic bomb, but he was confident that the Soviet entry into the war reinforced Anami’s feelings about the need to hasten the end of the war.
Chief of the Navy General Staff Admiral Toyoda Soemu also gave revealing testimony to the GHQ interrogators. He admitted that the atomic bomb had been a shock, but he believed that the United States would not be able to continue to drop atomic bombs “at frequent intervals,” partly because of the difficulty of securing radioactive materials, and partly because of world public opinion against such an atrocity. “I believe the atomic bombing was a cause for the surrender,” Toyoda testified, “but it was not the only cause.” In contrast to the atomic bombs, the Soviet entry into the war was a greater shock to the military. “In the face of this new development,” Toyoda continued, “it became impossible for us to map any reasonable operation plan. Moreover, the peace program which we had so far relied upon [i.e., through Moscow’s mediation] came to naught. Therefore, an entirely different program had to be sought out. At the same time we could not expect to obtain a good chance for peace by merely waiting for such a chance. It was time for us to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration [Proclamation].” Toyoda concluded: “I believe the Russian participation in the war against Japan rather than the atomic bombs did more to hasten the surrender.”
Asada ignores all this overwhelming evidence that stresses the importance of the Soviet entry into the war. In the face of this evidence, his contention that because the military had expected the Soviet invasion, it did not shock them when it actually happened cannot be sustained.
Frank casts doubt on the reliability of Kawabe’s and Toyoda’s testimonies because they were given some years after the events. Although he does not quote from Ikeda and Hayashi, he would likely discount them on the same grounds. Frank’s methodology of separating contemporaneous sources from evidence that came after the events is commendable. One cannot apply this method too rigidly, however. In the first place, what benefits did Kawabe, Toyoda, Ikeda, and Hayashi gain by emphasizing the Soviet factor rather than the atomic bomb years after the events? One may even argue that their statements carry more weight because they were made to American interrogators, who had a vested interest in proving that the atomic bombs were more decisive than the Soviet entry.
After dismissing Kawabe’s and Toyoda’s recollections years after the events, Frank extensively quotes from Suzuki’s testimony in December 1945:
The Supreme War Council, up to the time [that] the atomic bomb was dropped, did not believe that Japan could be beaten by air attack alone. They also believed that the United States would land and not attempt to bomb Japan out of the war. On the other hand there were many prominent people who did believe that the United States could win the war by just bombing alone. However, the Supreme War Council, not believing that, had proceeded with the one plan of fighting a decisive battle at the landing point and was making every possible preparation to meet such a landing. They proceeded with that plan until the atomic bomb was dropped, after which they believed the United States would no longer attempt to land when it had such a superior weapon … so at that point they decided that it would be best to sue for peace.
Relying on Suzuki’s statement, Frank concludes: “Suzuki’s assessment goes to the heart of the matter: Soviet intervention did not invalidate the Ketsu-Go military and political strategy; the Imperial Army had already written off Manchuria.” But this statement cannot persuasively prove that Suzuki had already decided to seek the termination of the war according to the Potsdam terms before the Soviet invasion. It must be kept in mind that these testimonies are English translations of the original Japanese statements. When Suzuki referred to the “atomic bomb,” he must have used the term, genbaku or genshi bakudan. A peculiarity of the Japanese language is that it makes no distinction between a singular and a plural noun. Therefore, when Suzuki said genbaku, he was likely referring to the atomic bombs, meaning the bomb at Hiroshima and the bomb at Nagasaki. In fact, it is better to interpret these terms as referring to the plural form. Taken as such, what Suzuki meant must have been the effect of the two bombs in a general sense. Therefore, it is erroneous to conclude, as Asada and Frank do, that Suzuki’s decision to end the war predated the Soviet attack on Japan, since Suzuki was comparing the atomic bombs with conventional air attacks, not with Soviet entry into the war.
Furthermore, although Suzuki may have believed that the atomic bombs had nullified the basic assumption on which the Ketsu Go strategy was based, his view was not necessarily shared by the Army officers. Anami consistently argued throughout the critical days even after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs that the army was confident it could inflict tremendous damage on the invading American troops, indicating that Anami and the army officers continued to believe that despite the atomic bombs, the Americans still planned to launch a homeland invasion. And this assessment was fundamentally correct, since American military planners never substituted atomic bombing alone for the plan to invade Japan.
In fact, as the Bureau of Military Affairs report to the Diet in September 1945 indicated, army planners rejected the “counterforce” effects of atomic weapons in a battleground situation. It states: “It is true that the appearance of the atomic bomb brought a great psychological threat, but since its use would be extremely difficult on the battleground, in view of the close proximity of the two forces and scattered units, we were convinced that it would not directly affect our preparations for homeland defense.” Toyoda’s testimony, quoted above, also questioned the American intention to rely on the atomic bombs. When it came down to the military plan, it was not Suzuki’s view, but the views of the Army and Navy General Staff that mattered most.
As for Soviet entry into the war, the report of the Bureau of Military Affairs states: “Although the Soviet participation in the war was expected from the analysis of the general world situation, we did not anticipate the situation where we would have to fight on the two fronts from the point of view of the nation’s total power. Throughout we had decided to focus our major strategy on the homeland defense, while preparing to sacrifice the operations in the continental defense. Therefore, Soviet entry into the war did not directly affect our conviction that we would score victory in the decisive homeland battle.” This is an ambiguous and contradictory statement. On the one hand, it states that Soviet participation in the war was unexpected, forcing Japan to fight on two fronts. On the other, it takes the view that the Ketsu Go strategy had already written off Manchuria, which did not substantially affect homeland defense. The latter conclusion seems to support Frank’s argument that since the Japanese Army had already written off Manchuria, Soviet entry into the war did not substantially change the army’s strategy of putting all its eggs in the one basket of the Ketsu Go strategy. The problem with this argument is that it ignores the assertion that Japan did not anticipate having to fight on two fronts.
To be fair to the arguments advanced by Asada and Frank, Imperial General Headquarters anticipated the possibility of Soviet participation in the war and adopted a strategy to cope with this worse-case scenario. Already in September 1944, Imperial General Headquarters summoned the Kwantung Army’s operational chief, Colonel Kusachi Sadakichi, and issued Continental Order 1130, by which it ordered the Kwantung Army to concentrate on the defense of a small strip of Manchukuo and Korea against Soviet attack with the strict orders not to provoke any military confrontations with the Red Army. The Kwantung Army mapped out the final operational plan against the Soviet attack on July 5, which basically followed Continental Order 1130. As for Hokkaido, Imperial General Headquarters issued Continental Order 1326 on May 9, 1945, which defined the task of the Fifth Area Army in Hokkaido as the defense of Hokkaido itself. For this purpose, the Fifth Area Army was ordered to direct the defense of southern Sakhalin primarily against the possible Soviet attack, while blocking a U.S. and Soviet landing on the Kurils and crossing the Soya Straits. As for the possible Soviet invasion of Hokkaido, the Fifth Area Army was “to attempt to repulse the enemy depending on circumstances and points of attack and to secure important areas of Hokkaido.”
Alongside with these military plans, however, Imperial General Headquarters harbored wishful thinking that there was unlikely to be a Soviet attack. The Kwantung Army had little confidence in its ability to hold the last defense line. As for the Fifth Area Army, it expected that in the event of the anticipated American invasion of the homeland, Hokkaido would be left to defend itself against a possible combined attack by the United States and the Soviet Union. The problem with Hokkaido’s defense was its size, which was as big as the whole of Tohoku and Niigata prefectures combined. The Fifth Area Army had to disperse 114,000 troops to three possible points of attack: one division in the Shiribetsu-Nemuro area in the east, one division at Cape Soya in the north, and one brigade in the Tomakomai area in the west. The fortification of the Shibetsu area had not been completed, and the defense of the Nemuro area was considered hopeless because of the flat terrain. The defense of the north was concentrated at Cape Soya, but nothing was prepared for Rumoi, where the Soviet forces intended to land. The inadequacies of these operational plans, both in the Kwantung Army and the Fifth Area Army, were exposed when the actual Soviet attack came. The military planners had no confidence in the army’s ability to repulse a Soviet invasion of Korea and Hokkaido. As Frank writes, “the Soviet Navy’s amphibious shipping resources were limited but sufficient to transport the three assault divisions in several echelon[s]. The Red Army intended to seize the northern half of Hokkaido. If resistance proved strong, reinforcements would be deployed to aid the capture the rest of Hokkaido. Given the size of Hokkaido, the Japanese would have been hard pressed to move units for a concerted confrontation of the Soviet invasion. The chances of Soviet success appeared to be very good.” Soviet occupation of Hokkaido was thus within the realm of possibility.
4. The Soviet Factor in the Emperor’s “Sacred Decision”
Although Soviet entry into the war played a more decisive role in Japan’s decision to surrender, it did not provide a “knock-out punch” either. The Supreme War Council and the cabinet found themselves confronted by a stalemate between those who favored acceptance of the Potsdam terms with one condition, the preservation of the imperial house, and those who insisted in addition that there be no Allied occupation and that demilitarization and any war crimes trials be conducted by Japan itself. Given the political weight of the army and an overwhelming sentiment among army officers in favor of continuing the war, the war party might have prevailed had there not been a concerted effort to impose peace on the reluctant army by imperial fiat. Togo, Prince Konoe, and Shigemitsu were instrumental in persuading the wavering Kido and Hirohito, but more important were second-echelon players such as Sakomizu (Suzuki’s cabinet secretary), Deputy Foreign Minister Matsumoto Shun’ichi, Colonel Matsutani Makoto (Suzuki’s secretary and crucial liaison with the army), Matsudaira Yasumasa (Kido’s secretary), and Rear Admiral Takagi Sokichi (Navy Minister Yonai’s closest confidant). Throughout this complicated political process, in which the emperor intervened twice to impose his “sacred decision” to accept the Potsdam terms, first with one condition and the second time unconditionally, the Soviet factor, more than the atomic bombs, played the decisive role.
Soviet entry into the war was indeed a shock to the Japanese ruling elite, both civilian and military alike. Politically and diplomatically, it dashed any hope of ending the war through Soviet mediation. But Soviet entry meant more than merely precluding the option of Soviet mediation for peace. Here, we must consider the political calculations and psychological factors apparent in dealing with Japan’s two enemies. Before the invasion of Manchuria, the Soviet Union had been Japan’s best hope for peace, while the Japanese ruling elite felt bitter resentment toward the United States, which had demanded unconditional surrender. After August 9, this relationship was reversed. The small opening that the United States had intentionally left ajar in the Potsdam terms, which Japanese foreign ministry officials had astutely noticed as soon as the Potsdam Proclamation was issued, suddenly looked inviting, providing the only room in which the Japanese could maneuver. They concluded that suing for peace with the United States would confer a better chance of preserving the imperial house, if not the kokutai as it was envisaged by ultranationalists. No sooner had the marriage of convenience uniting right-wing Japan and the communist Soviet Union broken down than the Japanese ruling elite’s fear of communism sweeping away the emperor system was reawakened. To preserve the imperial house, it would be better to surrender before the USSR was able to dictate terms. On August 13, rejecting Anami’s request that the decision to accept U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes’s counteroffer (the “Byrnes note”), which rejected Japan’s conditional acceptance of the Potsdal terms, be postponed, Suzuki explained: “If we miss today, the Soviet Union would take not only Manchuria, Korea, [and] Karafuto [Sakhalin Island], but also Hokkaido. This would destroy the foundation of Japan. We must end the war when we can deal with the United States.” Furthermore, when Shigemitsu had a crucial meeting with Kido on the afternoon of August 9 at Prince Konoe’s request, which eventually led to Kido’s meeting with Hirohito that persuaded the emperor to accept the “sacred decision” scenario, Shigemitsu stressed the negative effect of further Soviet expansion on the fate of the imperial household.
What motivated Hirohito was neither a pious wish to bring peace to humanity nor a sincere desire to save the people and the nation from destruction, as his imperial rescript stated and as the myth of the emperor’s “sacred decision” would have us believe. More than anything else, it was a sense of personal survival and deep responsibility to maintain the imperial house, which had lasted in unbroken lineage since the legendary Jinmu emperor. For that purpose, Hirohiro was quick to jettison the pseudo-religious concept of the kokutai, and even the emperor’s prerogatives as embodied in the Meiji Constitution. What mattered to him was the preservation of the imperial house, and to that end, he was willing to entrust his fate to the will of the Japanese people. Hirohito’s transformation from a living god (arahitogami) to a human emperor (ningen tenno), which is seen as having occurred during the American occupation, actually took place during the final “sacred decision” at the imperial conference. With astonishing swiftness, the members of the imperial house closed ranks and defended Hirohito’s decision. To attain this objective, Hirohito was prepared to part with the military and the ultranationalists, who were major obstacles.
It is difficult to document just how the Soviet factor influenced the emperor’s decision and the thinking of his close advisers. It is possible to conjecture, however, that the emperor and his advisers wished to avoid any Soviet influence in determining the fate of the imperial household and the emperor’s status. It is not far-fetched to assume that Suzuki’s statement and Shigemitsu’s thinking quoted above, which explain the need to accept the Byrnes note before the Soviet Union expanded its conquered territories, was widely shared by the ruling circles in Japan.
There was another factor in the political calculations of the Japanese ruling elite: fear of popular unrest. On August 12, Navy Minister Yonai Mitsumasa told Takagi Sokichi: “They may not be the appropriate words, but the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war are in a way a godsend, since we don’t have to decide to stop the war because of the domestic situation. The reason why I have advocated the end of war is not that I was afraid of the enemy’s attack, nor was it because of the atomic bombs or the Soviet entry into the war. It was more than anything else because I was afraid of domestic conditions. Therefore, we were fortunate to [be able to] end the war without pushing the domestic situation to the fore.” Yonai’s fear was widely shared by the ruling elite. Konoe’s advocacy of peace, which he had submitted to Hirohito in February 1945, was motivated by his fear of a communist revolution. Whether or not such a revolution was actually likely or even possible, the fear among the ruling elite of such popular unrest sweeping away the entire emperor system was quite real. On August 13, 14, and 15, Kido met Machimura Kingo, chief of the Metropolitan Police, to hear reports of possible political and social turmoil at home.
The Psychological Factor
The complicated political calculations of the Japanese leadership were closely intermingled with crucial psychological factors. In particular, there were two different psychological elements at work. The first was the reversal of the degree of hatred attached to two enemies, as described above. The second was a profound sense of betrayal.
Soviet entry into the war had double-crossed the Japanese in two distinct senses. In the first place, the Kremlin had opted for war just when Japan was pinning its last hopes of peace on Soviet mediation. Furthermore, the invasion was a surprise attack. True, Molotov had handed a declaration of war to Sato in Moscow. Sato then asked for Molotov’s permission to transmit the declaration of war to Tokyo by ciphered telegram, but the ambassador’s dispatch never reached Tokyo. In fact, it never left Moscow, most likely having been suppressed by the telegraph office on the orders of the Soviet government. Molotov announced that the declaration of war was also to be handed by Soviet Ambassador Iakov Malik to Togo in Tokyo simultaneously. But the Japanese government learned of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria only from a news agency report at around 4:00 A.M. on August 9.
Soviet tanks in Manchuria 1945
Matsumoto Shun’ichi explained Togo’s rage when he received the news of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Togo had gullibly believed assurances about the Soviet commitment to the neutrality pact, and he had pinned his hopes on Soviet mediation to terminate the war. Not only did this turn out to be a mistake, but the Soviet action also revealed that the Japanese government had been consistently and thoroughly deceived. Togo’s determination to end the war by accepting the Potsdam terms was thus motivated by his desire to compensate for his earlier mistake in seeking Moscow’s mediation. Hirohito’s monologue also had a tinge of resentment toward the Soviet Union, which he too had mistakenly relied upon to mediate a termination to the war. Togo and his colleagues were also anxious to deny the Soviet Union any advantage, since it had perpetrated such a betrayal. After the Soviet entry into the war, the USSR and matters related to the military situation in Manchuria suddenly disappeared from the discussions of Japanese policymakers. This does not mean that the Soviet factor had lost importance. In fact, their silence on the Soviet factor in these discussions was proof of both a conscious and unconscious attempt at denial. The greater their sense of betrayal, the more determined Japanese leaders became to deny the importance of Soviet entry into the war. They avoided denouncing Moscow’s perfidy, because they did not want to reveal the colossal error they themselves had committed in seeking Soviet mediation. And now that the fate of the emperor and the imperial house hung in the balance, they wished those issues to be determined by the United States rather than the Soviet Union. These conscious and unconscious manipulations of memory and historical records began simultaneously with events as they unfolded and continued subsequently in order to reconstruct these crucial events.
Interpreting the Evidence
To prove the decisiveness of the atomic bomb, Asada cites the testimonies given by Kido and Sakomizu. Kido, he says, stated: “I believe that with the atomic bomb alone we could have brought the war to an end. But the Soviet entry into the war made it that much easier.” Sakomizu’s testimony to Allied interrogators stated: “I am sure we could have ended the war in a similar way if the Russian declaration of war had not taken place at all.” To borrow Frank’s expression, these testimonies “should be approached with circumspection,” not because they were given years after the events, but because their veracity is questionable. Kido was prominent among those who attempted to create the myth that the emperor’s “sacred decision” had saved the Japanese people and the Japanese nation from further destruction. On different occasions, both Kido and Sakomizu told a different story.
In an interview with the Diet Library in 1967, Kido stated: “Things went smoothly. The atomic bombs served their purpose, and the Soviet entry served its purpose. They were both crucial elements [umaku iku yoso to natta]. I believe that Japan’s recovery as we see it today was possible because of the Soviet [entry into the war] and the atomic bombs.” Sakomizu’s memoirs also convey a different picture from that put forward by Asada. When Sakomizu heard the news of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria from Hasegawa Saiji of the Domei News Service, he writes, he was “really surprised” and asked: “Is it really true?” He says that he felt “as if the ground on which I stood was collapsing.” While Hasegawa was double-checking the accuracy of the report, Sakomizu “felt the anger as if all the blood in the body was flowing backward.” This testimony was corroborated by Hasegawa, who remembered: “When I conveyed the news [about the Soviet declaration of war] to Togo and Sakomizu, both were dumbfounded. Togo repeatedly asked me: ‘Are you sure?’ since he was expecting Moscow’s answer regarding mediation.”
Many in the ruling elite considered the atomic bombs and Soviet entry into the war as god-given gifts (tenyu). Like Kido, in the statement quoted above, Yonai thought both the atomic bomb and the Soviet entry into the war were gifts from heaven. and when Konoe heard the news of the Soviet invasion, he said “in order to control the Army, it may be a god-sent gift.” Surveying the discussions at Supreme War Council meetings and cabinet meetings, there are some references only to the atomic bombs (such as Suzuki’s statement quoted above), others to Soviet entry into the war alone (such as Konoe’s statement), and still others to both (such as Yonai’s remarks) in advocating peace. Choosing passages that merely emphasize the effect of the atomic bombs and ignoring other passages is not sound analytical practice. It should be noted, too, that all these references were made only after the Soviet Union entered the war.
To prove that the atomic bombing on Hiroshima had a decisive effect on Hirohito’s “sacred decision,” Asada cites the emperor’s statement at the imperial conference on August 9–10. According to Asada, Hirohito allegedly said that it would be impossible to continue the war, “since the appearance of the atomic bomb. Frank also singles out the emperor’s speech on August 10 as one of the most crucial pieces of evidence proving the decisiveness of the atomic bomb. According to Frank, “the Emperor also explicitly cited two military considerations: inadequate preparations to resist the invasion and the vast destructiveness of the atomic bomb and the air attacks. He did not refer to Soviet intervention.” For this assertion, both Asada and Frank rely on a single source: Takeshita Masahiko’s Kimitsu sakusen nisshi. The emperor’s reference to the atomic bombs appears only in Kimitsu -sakusen nisshi. Since Takeshita did not participate in the imperial conference, his account must have come from Anami, who was his brother-in-law. None of the participants recall that Hirohito referred to the atomic bombs in his speech. In fact, Togo’s memoirs and Sakomizu’s memoirs, quoted in Shusen shiroku, which Asada cites as the evidence that the emperor specifically cited the atomic bomb as the major reason for his decision, actually does not contain this reference. Frank concedes that at this meeting with Japan’s most senior military officers on August 14, the emperor cited both Soviet intervention and “the enemy’s scientific power.” This was “the only contemporary instance where the Emperor saw Soviet intervention as significant,” Frank writes, adding, “and even then he coupled it with the atomic bomb.” In the imperial rescript, Frank says, “the emperor spoke explicitly on one point: the enemy’s employment of a ‘new and most cruel bomb.’”
Silence, however, does not necessarily mean that the Soviet entry had little effect on Hirohito’s decision to surrender. It is true that the emperor did not refer to the Soviet entry in his imperial rescript to the general Japanese population on August 15. But Frank ignores another important document: the imperial rescript addressed to the soldiers and sailors, issued on August 17, which states:
Now that the Soviet Union has entered the war against us, to continue … under the present conditions at home and abroad would only recklessly incur even more damage to ourselves and result in endangering the very foundation of the empire’s existence. Therefore, even though enormous fighting spirit still exists in the imperial navy and army, I am going to make peace with the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, as well as with Chungking, in order to maintain our glorious kokutai.
To the soldiers and sailors, especially die-hard officers who might still wish to continue fighting, the emperor did not mention the atomic bomb. Rather, it was Soviet participation in the war that provided a more powerful justification to persuade the troops to lay down their arms.
Frank is absolutely right in pointing out that “[t]he end of hostilities required both a decision by a legitimate authority that Japan must yield to Allied terms and compliance by Japanese armed forces with that decision,” and that such legitimate authority was the emperor. He is also right about the inability of the Suzuki government to accept unconditional surrender without the emperor’s intervention. It is true that the emperor’s strong desire to terminate the war played a decisive role in his “sacred decision.” Nevertheless, it seems erroneous to attribute the emperor’s motivation for this decision to what he said in the imperial rescripts. Now united behind the “sacred decision,” the cabinet set out to persuade the Japanese people, both civilians and men in uniform, to accept surrender. The cabinet therefore made a few revisions to Sakomizu’s draft of the imperial rescript.
Two documents issued by the cabinet need to be examined. The first is a cabinet statement released after the imperial rescript was broadcast, which refers to both the use of the atomic bomb, which changed the nature of war, and the Soviet entry as two important reasons for ending the war. The second is the prime minister’s radio announcement of August 15, in which he stated that Soviet entry into the war had prompted the cabinet to make the final decision to end the war, and that the atomic bomb, which “it was evident the enemy will continue to use,” would destroy both the military power of the empire “and the foundation of the existence of the nation, endangering the basis of our kokutai.” Both documents cite the atomic bomb and the Soviet entry into the war as the two important reasons that had prompted the government to seek the termination of the war, thus invalidating Frank’s claim that the atomic bomb had a more decisive effect on the emperor’s decision to end the war.
5. Counterfactual Hypotheses
A series of counterfactual hypotheses can help clarify the question of which factor, the atomic bombs or Soviet entry into the war, had the more decisive effect on Japan’s decision to surrender. We might ask, in particular, whether Japan would have surrendered before November 1, the scheduled date for the start of Operation Olympic, the U.S. invasion of Kyushu, given (a) neither the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nor Soviet entry into the war; (b) Soviet entry alone, without the atomic bombings; or (c) the atomic bombings alone, without Soviet entry.
Let us examine the first proposition. The Summary Report (Pacific War) of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, published in 1946 concluded that Japan would have surrendered before November 1 without the atomic bombs and without the Soviet entry into the war. This conclusion has become the foundation on which the revisionist historians constructed their argument that the atomic bombs were not necessary for Japan’s surrender. Since Barton Bernstein has persuasively demonstrated in his devastating critique of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey that its conclusion is not supported by its own evidence, I need not dwell on this supposition. It suffices to state that, contrary to its conclusion, the evidence the Strategic Bombing Survey relied on overwhelmingly demonstrates the decisive effect of the atomic bombs and Soviet entry on Japan’s decision. As Bernstein asserts: “[A]nalysts can no longer trust the Survey’s statement of counterfactual probabilities about when the Pacific War would have ended without the A-bomb or Soviet entry. On such matters, the Survey is an unreliable guide.” I concur with his conclusion: “[I]t is time for all to stop relying upon the United States Strategic Bombing Survey’s pre-November 1945, surrender-counterfactual for authority.”
For the second counterfactual hypothesis, that is, surrender with the Soviet entry alone, Asada contends: “[T]here was a possibility that Japan would not have surrendered before November 1.” By making this assertion, Asada ignores an important conclusion made by Bernstein. Bernstein states: “In view of the great impact of Soviet entry, however, in a situation of heavy conventional bombing and a strangling blockade, it does seem quite probable—indeed, far more likely than not—that Japan would have surrendered before November without the use of the A-bomb but after Soviet intervention in the war. In that sense … there may have been a serious ‘missed opportunity’ in 1945 to avoid the costly invasion of Kyushu without dropping the atomic bomb by awaiting Soviet entry.” However, since it was inessential at that point in his essay, Bernstein does not fully develop his argument.
As I have argued above, Japan relied on Soviet neutrality both militarily and diplomatically. Diplomatically, Japan pinned its last hope on Moscow’s mediation for the termination of the war. Only by Soviet entry into the war was Japan forced to make a decision on the Potsdam terms. Militarily as well, Japan’s Ketsu Go strategy was predicated on Soviet neutrality. That was why the General Staff’s Bureau of Military Affairs constantly overruled the Fifth Department’s alarming warnings that a Soviet invasion might be imminent. Manchuria was not written off, as Frank asserts; rather, the military was confident that it could keep the USSR neutral, at least for a while. When the Soviet invasion of Manchuria occurred, the military was taken completely by surprise. Even Asada admits, “[T]he Soviet entry spelled the strategic bankruptcy of Japan.” Despite the repeated bravado calling for the continuation of the war, it pulled the rug right out from underneath the Japanese military, puncturing a gaping hole in their strategic plan. Their insistence on the continuation of the war lost its rationale.
Without Japan’s surrender, it is reasonable to assume that the USSR would have completed the occupation of Manchuria, southern Sakhalin, the entire Kurils, and possibly even the Korean peninsula, by the beginning of September. Inevitably, Soviet invasion of Hokkaido would have emerged as a pressing issue to be settled between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States might have resisted a Soviet operation against Hokkaido, but given Soviet military strength, and given the enormous casualty figures the American high command had estimated for Olympic, the United States might have agreed to a division of Hokkaido as Stalin envisaged. Even if it succeeded in resisting Stalin’s pressure, Soviet military conquests in the rest of the Far East might have led the United States to concede some degree of Soviet participation in Japan’s postwar occupation. Whatever the United States might or might not have done regarding Soviet operations in Hokkaido or the postwar occupation of Japan, Japanese leaders were well aware of the danger of allowing continued Soviet expansion beyond Manchuria, Korea, and Sakhalin. That was one of the very powerful reasons why the Japanese ruling elite coalesced at the last moment to surrender under the Potsdam terms, why the military’s insistence on continuing the war collapsed, and why the military relatively easily accepted surrender. Japan’s decision to surrender was above all a political decision, not a military one. It was more likely, therefore, that even without the atomic bombs, the war would have ended shortly after the Soviet entry into the war, almost certainly before November 1.
Asada does not ask whether Japan would have surrendered with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki alone, without the Soviet entry into the war. It is most likely that the two bombs alone would not have prompted Japan to surrender, as long as it still had the hope of attaining a mediated peace through Moscow. As I have shown, the Hiroshima bomb did not significantly change Japan’s policy except for injecting a sense of urgency in seeking an end to the fighting. Without the Soviet entry into the war, I do not see how the Nagasaki bomb would have changed the situation. Japan would most likely still have waited for Moscow’s answer to the Konoe mission even after the Nagasaki bomb. The most likely scenario would have been that while waiting for an answer from Moscow, Japan would have been surprised by the Soviet invasion of Manchuria sometime in the middle of August and would have sued for peace on the Potsdam terms. We would then have debated endlessly about whether the two atomic bombs preceding the Soviet invasion or the Soviet entry had the greater influence on Japan’s decision to surrender. In this case, too, however, Soviet entry would clearly have had a more decisive effect for the reasons stated above.
Without Soviet participation in the war in the middle of August, the United States would have faced the question of whether it should use a third bomb sometime after August 19, and then a fourth bomb early in September, most likely on Kokura and Niigata. It is hard to say how many atomic bombs it would have taken to compel the Japanese ruling elite to abandon their approach to Moscow. It is possible to argue, although it is impossible to prove, that the Japanese military would have still argued for the continuation of the war even after the dropping of a third bomb, and even after a fourth bomb. Could Japan have withstood the attacks of all seven atomic bombs scheduled to be produced before November 1? Would the United States have had the resolve to use seven atomic bombs in succession? What would have been the effect of these bombs on Japanese public opinion? Would the continuing use of the bombs have solidified the resolve of the Japanese to fight or eroded it? Would it have hopelessly alienated the Japanese from the United States, to the point where it would have been difficult to impose the American occupation on Japan? Would it have encouraged the Japanese to welcome a Soviet occupation instead? These are the questions I cannot answer with certainty.
But what I can state is that the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not likely to be decisive in inducing Japan to surrender. Without the Soviet entry into the war between the two bombs, Japan would most likely have continued the war.
There still remains one important hypothesis to consider. What if Truman had asked Stalin to join the Potsdam Proclamation and retained the promise to the Japanese to allow the preservation of a constitutional monarchy, as Stimson’s original draft of the proclamation had suggested? This scenario would not have assured Japan’s immediate acceptance of the Potsdam terms, since it would surely have encountered the army’s insistence on three other conditions. It is not even certain that the army would have accepted a constitutional monarchy, which was certainly not consistent with its understanding of the kokutai. Nevertheless, it would have strengthened the resolve of the peace party to seek the termination of the war, and would have made it easier for it to accept the terms, knowing that a monarchical system would be preserved and that Moscow might be harsher and demand the elimination of the emperor system.
But inviting Stalin to join the joint ultimatum and compromising on the unconditional surrender terms were not an option that Truman and Secretary of State James Byrnes would have considered. Although Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Admiral William Leahy, General George Marshall, Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, and Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew would all have preferred this, to Truman and Byrnes, it was anathema. Ironically, it was the atomic bomb that made it possible for Truman to be able to issue the Potsdam Proclamation demanding unconditional surrender without Stalin’s signature. The atomic bomb also changed the very nature of the Potsdam Proclamation. Instead of being a final warning before Olympic, as originally intended, it became the justification for the use of the atomic bomb. In this sense, the revisionist historians’ claim that the atomic bomb delayed rather than hastened Japan’s surrender merits serious consideration.
The argument presented by Asada and Frank that the atomic bombs rather than Soviet entry into the war had a more decisive effect on Japan’s decision to surrender cannot be supported. The Hiroshima bomb, although it heightened the sense of urgency to seek the termination of the war, did not prompt the Japanese government to take any immediate action that repudiated the previous policy of seeking Moscow’s mediation. Contrary to the contention advanced by Asada and Frank, there is no evidence to show that the Hiroshima bomb led either Togo or the emperor to accept the Potsdam terms. On the contrary, Togo’s urgent telegram to Sato on August 7 indicates that, despite the Hiroshima bomb, they continued to stay the previous course. The effect of the Nagasaki bomb was negligible. It did not change the political alignment one way or the other. Even Anami’s fantastic suggestion that the United States had more than 100 atomic bombs and planned to bomb Tokyo next did not change the opinions of either the peace party or the war party at all.
Rather, what decisively changed the views of the Japanese ruling elite was the Soviet entry into the war. It catapulted the Japanese government into taking immediate action. For the first time, it forced the government squarely to confront the issue of whether it should accept the Potsdam terms. In the tortuous discussions from August 9 through August 14, the peace party, motivated by a profound sense of betrayal, fear of Soviet influence on occupation policy, and above all by a desperate desire to preserve the imperial house, finally staged a conspiracy to impose the “emperor’s sacred decision” and accept the Potsdam terms, believing that under the circumstances surrendering to the United States would best assure the preservation of the imperial house and save the emperor.
This is, of course, not to deny completely the effect of the atomic bomb on Japan’s policymakers. It certainly injected a sense of urgency in finding an acceptable end to the war. Kido stated that while the peace party and the war party had previously been equally balanced in the scale, the atomic bomb helped to tip the balance in favor of the peace party. It would be more accurate to say that the Soviet entry into the war, adding to that tipped scale, then completely toppled the scale itself.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is professor of modern Russian and Soviet history, University of California, Santa Barbara and the author of Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan.
This is a slightly revised version of an essay published in From The End of the Pacific War, Reappraisals, edited by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa , (c) 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Jr. University. All rights reserved. No further reproduction or distribution is allowed without the prior written permission of the publisher, http://www.sup.org. Posted at Japan Focus on August 17, 2007.
 On the American debate about the use of the atomic bombs, see Barton J. Bernstein, “The Struggle over History: Defining the Hiroshima Narrative, in Judgment at the Smithsonian, ed. Philip Nobile, 127–256 (New York: Marlowe, 1995).
 Sadao Asada, “The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Decision to Surrender—A Reconsideration,” Pacific Historical Review 67, no. 4 (1998): 481.
 See, e.g., the interesting exchange between Alperovitz/Messer and Bernstein in International Security 16 (1991–92). Neither Alperovitz/Messer nor Bernstein confronts the issue of the Soviet factor in inducing Japan to surrender. Gar Alperovitz in his The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Knopf, 1995) devotes more than 600 pages to the U.S. motivation for using the atomic bombs, but does not directly address the question of whether the atomic bombings or the Soviet entry had the more decisive influence on Japan’s decision to surrender.
 Asada, “Shock,” 479–83; its Japanese version, Asada Sadao, “Genbaku toka no shogeki to kohuku no kettei,” in Hosoya Chihiro et al., Taihei senso no shuketsu (Tokyo: Kashiwa shobo, 1997), 195–222; and Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (New York: Random House, 1999), 271.
 Asada, “Shock,” 486.
 Frank, Downfall, 271. Frank’s source is Asada’s article. Frank also cites Robert J. C. Butow, Japan’s Decision to Surrender (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959), 152–53, but Butow has nothing to say about the August 7 cabinet meeting. Frank explains that Asada’s source is Togo Shigenori, Jidai no ichimen (Tokyo: Kaizosha, 1952; reprint, Hara shobo, 1989), but Togo’s memoirs are silent about the Potsdam Proclamation.
 Togo, Jidai no ichimen, 355. In his notes written in September 1945, Togo referred to the cabinet meeting on August 7 without saying that he had proposed the acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation. See “Togo gaiso kijutsu hikki ‘Shusen ni saishite’ September 1945,” in Gaimusho, ed., Shusen shiroku (Tokyo: Hokuyosha, 1977), 4: 60.
 Kurihara Ken and Hatano Sumio, eds., Shusen kosaku no kiroku (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1986), 2: 355–56.
 Sakomizu Hisatsune, Kikanju ka no shusho kantei (Tokyo: Kobunsha, 1964), 243-44. Sakomizu published another memoir in 1973, Dainihon teikoku saigo no yonkagetsu (Tokyo: Orientosha, 1973), but he makes no reference to the August 7 cabinet meeting in the later book.
 Kido Nikki Kenkyukai, ed., Kido Koichi nikki (Tokyo: Tokyo daigaku shuppankai, 1966), 2: 1222.
 Kido Koichi nikki: Tokyo saibanki (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku shuppankai, 1980), 421.
 Asada, “Shock,” 487.
 Frank, Downfall, 272.
 Tanaka Nobunao, Dokyumento showa tenno 5, Haisen Vol. 2 (Tokyo: Ryokufu Shuppan, 1988), 2: 460–61.
 Quoted in Asada, “Shock,” 488.
 Frank, Downfall, 272.
 Togo’s statement comes from his memoirs, Jidai no ichimen, 355–56. Asada does not include the words in brackets in the Japanese version. See Asada, “Genbaku toka,” 199.
 During an interview with Oi Atsushi for the military history project of Military Intelligence Section of the General Staff of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), Togo said that he suggested to the emperor on August 8 that Japan should accept the Potsdam terms. Continuing the question, Oi tried to establish that Togo and the emperor had already decided to terminate the war on the terms stipulated in the Potsdam Proclamation before the Soviet entry into the war. Togo equivocated, saying that Soviet mediation would not be limited only to the clarification of the Potsdam terms. He was not sure whether the Kremlin would convey Japan’s wishes to the Allied powers or would take the trouble to make an arrangement for Japan to hold direct negotiations with the United States and Britain. To this, Oi interjected by saying that whether they went through Moscow or by a direct route, the meaning was that the war would be terminated on the basis of the Potsdam Proclamation. Togo agreed, but without conviction. “Togo Shigenori chinjutsuroku,” in Kurihara and Hatano, eds., Shusen kosaku no kiroku, 2: 357–58.
 Sakomizu Hisatsune, Dai Nihonteikoku saigo no 4-kagetsu (Tokyo: Oriento shobo, 1973), 185.
 Asada, “Shock,” 489.
 Sakomizu, Dai Nihon teikoku, 185, 187.
 Sakomikzu, Kikanju ka no shusho kantei, 245–46.
 Hasegawa Saiji, “Hokai no zenya,” Fujin koron, August 1947, in Gaimusho, ed., Shusen shiroku, 5: 84.
 Asada and Frank also cite Suzuki’s statement made in December 1945, which will be discussed later.
 Suzuki Hajime, ed., Suzuki Kantaro jiden (Tokyo: Jijitsushinsha, 1969), 294–95.
 Sakomizu’s 1964 memoirs also take this view. Sakomizu, Kikanju ka no shusho kantei, 255.
 Togo to Sato, telegram no. 993, 15: 40 Tokyo, Aug. 7, 1945, in Gaimusho, ed., Shusen shiroku, 4: 77.
 This was also confirmed by Sakomizu, who allegedly stated that Togo had made a statement at the cabinet meeting on August 7 in support of accepting the Potsdam Proclamation. Sakomizu, Kikanju ka no shusho kantei, 244–45.
 Information obtained by Harano Sumio.
 Asada, “Shock,” 491–92. This term does not appear in the Japanese version. “Asada, “Genbaku toka,” 201.
 Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, vol. 10: Showa 20 nen 8 gatsu made (Tokyo: Asagumo shinbunsha, 1975), 443.
 Asada, “Shock,” 504.
 Frank, Downfall, 348.
 Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Kantogun,Vol. 2, Kantokuen, Shusenji no taiso sen (Tokyo: Asagumo shinbunsha, 1974), 326.
 Ibid., 328.
 Ibid., 330.
 Ibid., 332; Tanemura Suetaka, Daihonei kimitsu nisshi (Tokyo: Fuyo shobo, 1995), 295.
 “Soren no tainichi saigo tsucho ni taishite torubeki sochi no kenkyu,” in Nishihara Masao, Shusen no keii, Vol. 1, 104-08; Kurihara and Hatano, eds., Shusen kosaku no kiroku, 2: 363–64.
 Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Kantogun, Vol. 2, 318.
 Ibid., 318.
 Quoted in Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 427.
 Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Kantogun -, Vol. 2, 330.
 Asada, “Shock,” 504.
 Kawabe Torashiro, “Jicho nisshi,” vol. 2, quoted in Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 430; also Kurihara and Hatano, eds., Shusen kosaku no kiroku, 2: 364. The handwritten original is Kawabe Torashiro Sanbojicho nisshi, Showa 20. 7.26–20.9.2, in Boeikenkyujo senshishitsu, chuo, senso shido juyo kokusaku bunsho, 1206. Although Daihonei rikugunbu 10 occasionally alters the original when it quotes from Kawabe’s diary, this part is accurately quoted. A slightly different version is given in Kawabe Torashiro, “Sanbo jicho no nisshi,” in Kawabe Torashiro Kaisoroku (Tokyo: Manichi shinbunsha, 1979), 253.
 Quoted in Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 420; Kawabe, “Jicho nisshi,” 252.
 Jicho nisshi, quoted in Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 440–41. This part is not included in Kawabe, “Jicho nissi,” in Kawabe Kaisoroku, 254.
 Jicho nisshi, quoted in Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 452, “Jicho nisshi” in Kawabe Kaisoroku is slightly different.
 # 52608, Kawabe Torashiro, Nov. 21, 1949, 5–6, Historical Manuscript File, Center for Military History [hereafter CMH]. I thank Richard Frank for allowing me to use his collection from the Center for Military History.
 Frank, Downfall, 346–67.
 Arisue kikanho, no. 333, Nov. 16, 1945, Rikugunsho, “Beikoku shireibu no ‘Teikokusakusen oyobi shido kankei shitsumon’ ni taisuru kaito, Bunko Yu, 395, Beoei Kenkyujo, Senshishitsu.
 # 59617, Maj. Gen. Amano Masakazu, Historical Manuscript File; also see Amano Masakazu Chinjutsusho, GHQ Senshika, vol. 6, Chuo Shusen shori 228, Boei Kenkyujo Senshishitsu. The English translation of the Historical Manuscript File is modified in view of the original Japanese testimony in the Boei kenkyujo.
 # 54479, Ikeda Sumihisa, Historical Manuscript File, 4–5; also see Ikeda Sumihisa Chinjutsusho, GHQ Senshika, vol. 1, Chuo Shusenshori 227, Boei Kenkyujo, Senshishitsu.
 Hayashi Saburo Chinjutsusho (Dec. 23, 1949), vol. 6, GHQ Senshika, Chuo Shusenshori 228, Boei Kenkyujo, Senshishitsu.
 # 61340, Toyoda Soemu (Aug. 29, 1949), 7–8, CMH.
 # 531, Suzuki Kantaro (Dec. 26, 1945), CMH.
 Frank, Downfall, 347.
 Frank’s argument is questionable in his methodology here. If he discounts Kawabe’s and Toyoda’s testimonies as having been given years after the events in question, why should Suzuki’s testimony, which was given several months after the end of the war, be deemed more reliable? Frank’s method of looking critically at testimonies made after the events is admirable, but he is inconsistent in this approach.
 “Gikai toben shiryo,’ Kokubo taiko kankei juyoimanaka shorui tsuzuki, Rikugunsho Gunjika, Rikugun Chusa Shigero shokan, Chuo, Sensoshido sonota 78, Boeikenkyujo Senshishitsu.
 Kantogun,Vol. 2, 280–81.
 Ibid., 368–70.
 Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Hokuto homen rikugun sakusen, Vol. 2: Chishima, Karafuto, Hokkaido no boei (Tokyo: Asagumo shinbunsha, 1971), 337.
 Ibid., 342–45.
 Frank, Downfall, 323.
 For this, see Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005), chaps. 5 and 6.
 Hando Toshikazu, Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, ed. Oya Soichi (Tokyo: Bungei shunjusha, 1973), 36. Hando does not cite his source, but this popular book, though lacking citations, seems to be based on reliable sources.
 Shigemitsu Mamoru, Showa no doran (Tokyo: Chukoronsha, 1952), 2: 286.
 Yonai Mitsumasa, “Takagi oboegaki,” quoted in Kurihara and Hatano, eds., Shusen kosaku no kiroku, 2: 379.
 Kido Nikki Kenkyukai, ed., Kido Koichi nikki, 2: 1225–27.
 Ambassador Sato, who was usually very astute, made a grave error here in assuming that Molotov’s declaration of war effective midnight August 9 meant midnight Moscow time. Soviet tanks rolled into Manchuria at midnight Transbaikal time, 6 P.M. Moscow time, less than an hour after Molotov handed Sato the declaration of war, magnifying the sense of betrayal felt by the Japanese. See Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy, chap. 5.
 Matsumoto Shun’ichi, “Shusen oboegaki,” in Gaimusho, ed., Shusen shiroku, 4: 158–59.
 Showa Tenno dokuhakuroku (Tokyo: Bungei shunju, 1991), 120–21.
 Asada, “Shock,” 505, citing Kido nikki: Tokyo saibanki, 444. This does not appear in the Japanese original, Asada, “Genbaku toka,” 207–8.
 Sakomizu, May 3, 1949, “Interrogations,” quoted in Asada, “Shock,” 505.
 Quoted in Wada Haruki, “Nisso senso,” in Hara Teruyuki and Togawa Tsuguo, eds., Koza Surabu no sekai, vol. 8: Surabu to nihon (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1995), 119.
 Sakomizu, Kikanju ka no shusho kantei, 246.
 Hasegawa Saiji, “Hokai no zenya,” Fujin koron, August 1947, quoted in Shusen shiroku,. 4: 84.
 Takagi Sokichi, Takagi kaigun shosho oboegaki (Tokyo: Mainichi shinbunsha, 1979).
 Hosokawa Morisada, Hosokawa Nikki (1953; reprint, Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, 1979), 2: 415.
 Asada, “Shock,” 495.
 Frank, Downfall, 345, based on Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Senshi sosho: Daihonei rikugunbu, 10: 449. which comes from Daihon’ei Rikugunbu Senso Shidohan, Kimitsu senso nisshi, 2: 756. Frank cites the emperor’s statement as recreated by Butow, but Butow’s record says nothing about the emperor’s reference to the atomic bomb. But Frank inserts in brackets “[At about this point, he also made specific reference to the greatly increased destructiveness of the atomic bomb],” supposedly from “the official Japanese military history series.” Frank, Downfall, 295–96. Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Daihonei rikugunbu, vol. 10, on which Frank relies, takes this part from Takeshita’s Kimitsu senso nisshi.
 Asada’s source is Sanbo Honbu, ed., Haisen no kiroku, 362, and Frank’s source is Boeicho Boeikenshujo Senshishitsu, Daihonei rikugunbu , 10: 449, but the original source of both is Takeshita’s Kimitsu sakusen nisshi.
 Gaimusho, ed., Shusen shiroku, 4: 139, 142. In addition to the excerpts from Togo and Sakomizu, Shusen shiroku also contains excerpts from Toyoda and Hoshina Zenshiro, who attended the imperial conference, and Kido and Shimomura, who did not. None of them mention anything about the emperor’s reference to the atomic bomb.
 Frank, Downfall, 345–46.
 “Rikukaigunjin ni taisuru chokugo,” in Hattori Takushiro, Daitoa senso zenshi (Harashobo, 1965) 948, translation based on Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), 530, with a slight modification.
 Sakomizu was the author of the imperial rescript on the termination of the war. Sakomizu had been drafting the rescript since the first imperial conference on August 9–10. After the second imperial conference was over, he returned to the prime minister’s residence to revise the draft in view of the emperor’s statement at the imperial conference. Since he had to revise the draft to be presented to the cabinet under pressure of time, he asked his subordinate Kihara Michio to prepare the draft of the imperial rescript for the soldiers and sailors. Hando, Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, 45. Presumably, Sakomizu gave Kihara the basic ideas along which the rescript should be written. But it is not clear why only the atomic bomb, not Soviet entry into the war, was mentioned in the imperial rescript for the termination of the war, why Soviet entry into the war, but not the atomic bomb, was mentioned in the later rescript, or whether Kihara consulted any military leaders. It seems likely, however, that the draft was completed by August 15.
 Frank, Downfall, 344.
 “Naikaku kokuyu,” in Matsutani Makoto, Shusen ni kansuru shiryo, Matsutani shiryo, Shusenji shiryo, Chuo, Shusen shori 236, Boei Kenkyujo, Senshishitsu.
 “Taisho o haishite,” in Matsutani Makoto, Shusen ni kansuru shiryo, Matsutani shiryo, Shusenji shiryo, Chuo, Shusen shori 236, Boei Kenkyujo, Senshishitsu.
 This part of the argument is taken partially from Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy, 294–98.
 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report (Pacific War) (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946), 26. See Alperovitz, Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, 4, 321, 368–69, 464, 465.
 Barton J. Bernstein, “Compelling Japan’s Surrender Without the A-bomb, Soviet Entry, or Invasion: Reconsidering the US Bombing Survey’s Early-Surrender Conclusion,” Journal of Strategic Studies 18, no. 2 (June 1995): 101–48.
 Ibid., 105, 127. Asada also agrees with Bernstein’s conclusion on the assessment of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Asada, “Shock,” 511.
 Asada, “Shock,” 510–11.
 Bernstein, “Compelling Japan’s Surrender,” 129. Asada cites Bernstein’s article, but only for the criticism of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. He doe not refer to Bernstein’s important assertion that Japan would likely have surrendered before November after the Soviet intervention, without the use of the A-bomb, which directly contradicts Asada’s assertion.
 Asada, “Shock,” 504.
 Maj. Gen. John E. Hull and Col. L. E. Seeman, telephone conversation, Aug. 13, 1945, 13:25, verifax 2691, George C. Marshall Papers, George C. Marshall Library.
 Kido Koichi Kenkyukai, ed., Kido Koichi nikki: Tokyo saibanki, 444.
TITLE:[Shigenori Togo, 1882-1950, head and shoulders, facing front]
CALL NUMBER:LOT 3084 [item] [P&P]
Check for an online group record (may link to related items)
REPRODUCTION NUMBER:LC-USZ62-49269 (b&w film copy neg.)
MEDIUM:1 photographic print.
CREATED/PUBLISHED:[no date recorded on caption card]
This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.
Caption card tracings: Shelf. Foreign Minister, Japan.
REPOSITORY:Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
DIGITAL ID:(digital file from b&w film copy neg.) cph 3a49389
Shirgenori Togo was born in Kuyshu, Japan, in 1882. A member of a rich Japanese family he joined the foreign service. While working in the Berlin embassy in 1920 he married a German woman.
Hideki Tojo appointed Togo as his foreign minister in October 1941. Unhappy with Tojo’s aggressive foreign policy he resigned on 1st September 1942.
After Tojo resigned, the new prime minister, Kantaro Suzuki, appointed Togo as foreign minister. He was one of only three ministers who favoured surrender at the Supreme Council meeting on 9th August 1945.
Shirgenori Togo, who was sentenced to 20 years for war crimes, died in prison on 23rd July 1950.
Japanese Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori
Togo Shigenori (1882-1950), Japan’s foreign minister in the cabinets of General Tojo Hideki (October 11, 1941-September 1, 1942) and Admiral Baron Susuki Kantaro (April 7-August 16, 1945).
Korean: 박무덕, Hanja: 朴茂德, ”Park Moo-Duk”, 10 December 1882 – 23 July 1950) was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Empire of Japan at both the start and the end of the Japanese-American conflict during World War II. He also served as Minister of Colonial Affairs in 1941, and assumed the same position, renamed the Minister for Greater East Asia, in 1945.
Tōgō was born in what is now part of the city of Hioki, Kagoshima. He was a graduate of the Literature Department of Tokyo Imperial University in 1904, and subsequently studied the German language at Meiji University. He entered the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1912.
In 1920, Tōgō was sent on a diplomatic mission to Weimar Germany, as diplomatic relations between the two countries were reestablished following the Japanese ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. While in that post, he married a German woman who remained his wife till his death. In 1937, served as Ambassador to Germany, and between 1938-1940 served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Throughout the war, Tōgō was among those who doubted that Japan could succeed in a war with the United States. As a result, he endorsed a more reconciliatory policy towards the western powers. As part of this policy, he announced on January 21, 1942 that the Japanese government shall uphold the Geneva Convention even though it did not sign it. On September 1, 1942, resigned his post as Foreign Minister due to his opposition to establish a special ministry for occupied territories within the Japanese government (the new ministry was eventually established in November of that same year). Throughout most of the war, he lived in retirement. Upon the formation of the government of Admiral Kantarō Suzuki in April 1945, was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. In that position, he was one of the chief proponents for acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration which, he felt, contained the best conditions for peace Japan could hope to be offered. Up until the last, he hoped for favorable terms from the Soviet Union. At Tōgō’s suggestion, no official response was made to the Declaration at first, though a censored version was released to the Japanese public, while Tōgō waited to hear from Moscow. However, Allied leaders interpreted this silence as a rejection of the Declaration, and so bombing was allowed to continue.
Tōgō was one of the Cabinet Ministers who advocated Japanese surrender in the summer of 1945, and several days after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this action was finally taken.
When the war against the United States was decided, he disliked pressing the responsibility of the failure of diplomacy against others, and signed the document of the declaration of war by his responsibility. He became the defendant of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, as a war criminal for that. He was sentenced to 20 years for war crime charges and died of Cholecystitis from his confinement in prison.
A volume of his memoirs was published posthumously under the title “The Cause of Japan”, which was edited by his former defence counsel Ben Bruce Blakeney.
Descent and family
Tōgō was of Korean descent, whose ancestor was a potter, Park Pyeong-ui (박평의 1558~1623) who was abducted to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598) by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. He was the creator of Satsuma ware which has been regarded as one of Japanese representative porcelains along with Yi Sam-pyeong‘s Arita ware. Tōgō’s original surname was Park, a Korean surname but his father reportedly purchased the surname, Tōgō, when Shigenori was five.
Japanese diplomat and scholar on international relations Kazuhiko Togo is his grandson.
References and Further Reading
- “Foreign Office Files for Japan and the Far East”. Adam Matthew Publications. Accessed 2 March 2005.
- Spector, Ronald (1985). ”Eagle Against the Sun.” New York: Vintage Books.
- Togo Shigenori, ”The Cause of Japan” (Translation of ”Jidai No Ichimen”) (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956). Translated by Ben Bruce Blakeney and Fumihiko Togo. Togo’s memoirs.
War Minister Korechika Anami
he Invasion That Didn’t Happen
By John T. Correll
Before the atomic bombs brought an end to the war, US troops were set for massive amphibious landings in the Japanese home islands.
There was never any chance that Japan would win World War II in the Pacific. When Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, it bit off more than it could chew. Japan reached the limits of its territorial expansion in the next few months, and, from then on, it was a steady rollback as Japanese forces were ousted from the Solomons, New Guinea, the Marianas, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
After Germany surrendered in May 1945, the full war effort was focused on the Pacific. It was nominally an Allied effort, but almost all of the forces closing in on Japan were American. The Japanese Navy was gutted. What remained of Japanese airpower was mostly kamikaze aircraft, although there were thousands of them and plenty of pilots ready to fly on suicide missions. Nevertheless, Japan hung on with great tenacity. It still had 4,965,000 regular army troops and more in the paramilitary reserves.
Emperor Hirohito reviews Japanese troops in Tokyo in June 1941. Only when Japan suffered severe hardship did his enthusiasm for the war begin to wane. (Bettmann/Corbis photo)
The outcome of the war was sealed in 1944 when the United States obtained air bases in the Marianas. From there, B-29 bombers could reach Tokyo and all important targets in Japan. Night after night, the B-29s rained firebombs and high explosives on the wood and paper structures of Japan. On March 9, 1945, the bombers destroyed 16 square miles of Tokyo and killed 83,793 Japanese.
Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces, predicted that the bombing would be sufficient to prevail and “enable our infantrymen to walk ashore on Japan with their rifles slung.” Adm. Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, believed that encirclement, blockade, and bombardment would eventually compel the Japanese to surrender.
Others, notably Gen. George C. Marshall, the influential Army Chief of Staff, were convinced an invasion would be necessary. In the summer of 1945, the United States pursued a mixed strategy: continuation of the bombing and blockading, while preparing for an invasion.
Japan had concentrated its strength for a decisive defense of the homeland. In June, Tokyo’s leaders decided upon a fight to the finish, committing themselves to extinction before surrender. As late as August, Japanese troops by the tens of thousands were pouring into defensive positions on Kyushu and Honshu.
Old men, women, and children were trained with hand grenades, swords, and bamboo spears and were ready to strap explosives to their bodies and throw themselves under advancing tanks.
An invasion would almost certainly have happened had it not been for the successful test of the atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert on July 16, an event that gave the United States a new strategic option.
The overall invasion plan was code-named Operation Downfall. In April 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander in chief of US Army forces in the Pacific in addition to his previous authority as commander in the South Pacific. He would lead the final assault on Japan.
The invasion plan called for a US force of 2.5 million. Instead of being demobilized and going home, soldiers and airmen in Europe would redeploy to the Pacific. Forces already in the Pacific would be joined by 15 Army divisions and 63 air groups from the European Theater.
Operation Downfall consisted of two parts:
Operation Olympic. This invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, was set for Nov. 1, 1945. It would be an amphibious landing a third larger than D-Day in Normandy. The expectation was that nine US divisions would be opposed by three Japanese divisions. (In fact, Japan had 14 divisions on Kyushu.) Far East Air Forces would support the invasion with 10 fighter groups, six heavy bomb groups, four medium bomb groups, four light bomb groups, three reconnaissance groups, and three night fighter squadrons. In addition, the B-29s would continue their strategic bombardment. MacArthur said the southern Kyushu landings would be conducted “under cover of one of the heaviest neutralization bombardments by naval and air forces ever carried out in the Pacific.”
Operation Coronet. This was the code name for an invasion, in March 1946, of Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. Coronet would require 1,171,646 US troops, including a landing force of 575,000 soldiers and marines. It would be the largest invasion force ever assembled. Operation Coronet would make use of airfields on Kyushu captured during Operation Olympic.
As Japan’s desperation grew, the ferocity of its armed resistance intensified. The code of bushido—“the way of the warrior”—was deeply ingrained, both in the armed forces and in the nation. Surrender was dishonorable. Defeated soldiers preferred suicide to life in disgrace. Those who surrendered were not deemed worthy of regard or respect. On Kwajalein atoll, the fatality rate for the Japanese force was 98.4 percent. On Saipan, nearly 30,000—97 percent of the garrison—fought to the death. On Okinawa, more than 92,000 Japanese soldiers in a force of 115,000 were killed.
Japan continued the fight with fanatical determination in the belief that the willingness of soldiers and sailors to sacrifice their lives would compensate for shortfalls in military capability. The Ketsu-Go (“Decisive Operation”) defense plan for the homeland counted on civilians, including schoolchildren, taking part in the battle.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific, wades ashore at the island of Leyte, Philippines.
An Elusive Answer
Some 17 million persons had died at the hands of the Japanese empire between 1931 and 1945, and more would be certain to die during the final stand.
Japan had been controlled by the military since the 1930s. In 1945, power was vested in the “Big Six,” the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War. Members were the prime minister, foreign minister, Army minister (also called War Minister), Navy minister, chief of naval general staff, and chief of the Army general staff. Army and Navy ministers were drawn from the ranks of serving officers. The dominant member of the Big Six was the War Minister, Gen. Korechika Anami.
Emperor Hirohito, regarded as divine and revered as the embodiment of the Japanese state, was supposedly above politics and government. In fact, he was interested in, and well-informed about, both of them. His enthusiasm for the war did not wane until the bombs and hardship reached Japan.
On March 18, Hirohito toured the areas of Tokyo firebombed March 9 and 10; he concluded that the war was lost and that Japan should seek an end to it as soon as possible. However, Hirohito agreed with the strategy of waiting to negotiate until Japan won a big battle, strengthening its bargaining position.
The prime minister was Kantaro Suzuki, a retired admiral, who sometimes sided with the council’s peace faction but aligned frequently with the military hardliners, who dominated meetings and policy.
Japan still held most of the territory it had captured in Asia and Indochina, and hoped to keep some of it. Its remaining military strength was considerable. If it could inflict painful casualties on the United States, Japan might be able to secure favorable terms, it thought.
Today, a fierce argument still rages about what the casualty toll might have been if the Operation Downfall invasion had taken place. The answer is elusive. Wartime casualty estimates were based on inaccurate assumptions—usually low—about enemy strength. Postwar analysis has been severely distorted by academicians and activists on the American left seeking to prove that neither an invasion of Japan nor the atomic bomb was necessary to end the war.
After the war, President Truman said that Marshall told him at Potsdam (July 1945) that the invasion would cost “at a minimum one-quarter of a million casualties, and might cost as [many] as a million, on the American side alone.” For this, Truman was ridiculed. There is no independent evidence of what Marshall said at Potsdam. Truman may have been embellishing it, but his numbers were not preposterous, as is often alleged.
In fact, Joint Staff planners on two occasions worked up casualty estimates and came out in the same range. In August 1944, using casualty rates from fighting on Saipan as a basis, they said that “it might cost us a half-million American lives and many times that number in wounded” to take the Japanese home islands. An April 1945 report projected casualties of 1,202,005—including 314,619 killed and missing—in Operations Olympic and Coronet, and more if either of the campaigns lasted more than 90 days.
MacArthur’s staff made several estimates for Operation Olympic, one for 125,000 casualties in the first 120 days and another for 105,000 casualties in the first 90 days. Marshall sent MacArthur a strong hint about Truman’s concern about casualties, whereupon MacArthur, who wanted the invasion to go forward, backed away from the estimates, declaring them too high.
At a critical White House meeting on June 18, Marshall gave his opinion that casualties for the first 30 days on Kyushu would not exceed the 31,000 sustained in a similar period of the battle for Luzon in the Philippines. (Marshall took that number from an inaccurate report. Casualties for the first 30 days on Luzon had been 37,900.) Others at the meeting based their estimates on Okinawa, where US casualties were about 50,000.
Gen. Korechika Anami, Japan’s War Minister, opposed the surrender but would not go against the Emperor. (Bettmann/Corbis photo)
(To put these numbers in some perspective, the losses for the Normandy invasion, from D-Day through the first 48 days of combat in Europe, were 63,360.)
Neither comparison was apt. The Japanese forces on Luzon and Okinawa were a fraction of the size of the force waiting in the home islands. As Marshall and other military leaders were about to learn, they had drastically underestimated the strength of the Japanese defenses on Kyushu and Honshu.
US intelligence agencies had long since broken Japan’s secret codes. “Magic” was the name given to intelligence from intercepted diplomatic communications, and “Ultra” was intelligence from Japanese Army and Navy messages. From these intercepts, it was known that Japan intended to fight to the end.
On June 15, an intelligence estimate had reported six combat divisions and two depot divisions, a total of about 350,000 men, on Kyushu. However, beginning in July, Ultra intercepts revealed a much larger force, with new divisions moving into place.
Subsequent reports raised the estimated number of troops, first to 534,000 and then to 625,000. That nearly doubled the June estimate, but it was still too low. In actuality, Japan had 14 combat divisions with 900,000 troops on Kyushu, concentrated in the southern part of the island around the Olympic landing beaches. The American force committed to Kyushu was 680,000, of which 380,000 were combat troops. Japanese forces were being pulled back into Honshu as well. Between January and July, military strength in the home islands doubled, from 980,000 to 1,865,000.
The Bombs Fall
Would the United States have pressed ahead with Operation Downfall anyway? If so, casualties would be much higher than predicted. If not, Tokyo would have won its bet that the United States would back down if the price in American lives could be made high enough.
It did not come to the test. The casualty estimates were never updated to take the Ultra intercepts into account. On Aug. 4, the war plans committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested reviewing the plan in view of the Japanese buildup, but by then the decision had been made to drop the atomic bomb.
The first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima on Aug. 6. Japanese officials understood what it was; Japan had itself been working on a fission bomb. The Big Six shrugged off the loss and held their position.
When the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki Aug. 9, the Navy chief, Adm. Soemu Toyoda, argued that the US could not have much radioactive material left for more atomic bombs. The hardliners refused to consider surrendering unless the Allies agreed that Japanese forces could disarm themselves, that there would be no prosecution for war crimes, and that there would be no Allied occupation of Japan.
War Minister Anami said the military could commit 2,350,000 troops to continue the fight. In addition, commanders could call on four million civil servants for military duty.
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan Aug. 8, which put pressure on the Big Six from a different direction. The Japanese had hoped, without sound reasons or encouragement, that they could cut a deal with the Soviets to counterbalance the Americans and permit the Japanese to keep some of their conquered territory.
On Aug. 10, the Foreign Ministry, acting on approval of the Emperor, sent notice to the US and the Allies that Japan could accept the demand for surrender if “prerogatives” of the Emperor were not compromised. The United States replied that the authority of the Emperor would be subject to the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers. The hardliners dug in, and the peace faction fell into disarray. Vice Adm. Takijiro Onishi, vice chief of the naval general staff, declared: “If we are prepared to sacrifice 20 million Japanese lives in a special attack [kamikaze] effort, victory will be ours.”
As the world watched and waited, Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, commanding US Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, redirected the B-29 force away from the firebombing of cities to precision attack of military targets, especially transportation. Marshall and his staff were studying an alternate strategy, to use atomic bombs in direct support of invasion. The United States expected to have at least seven bombs by Oct. 31. They were told by Manhattan Project scientists that lethal radiological effects from an atomic bomb would reach out 3,500 feet but that the ground would be safe to walk on in an hour.
The impasse was broken by the Emperor who decided to surrender and announce his decision to the Japanese people in the form of an “Imperial Rescript” broadcast on the radio.
Army and Navy officers put up violent resistance. Some attempted to destroy the recorded rescript before broadcast. The commander of the Imperial Guard, who would not go along with the plot, was assassinated by Army hotheads. They tried to find and kill Suzuki as well. They attempted to persuade Anami—who was opposed to the surrender but would not oppose the Emperor—to join in a coup. Had he done so, the surrender might have failed, but Anami committed suicide instead.
A mushroom cloud rises over the Japanese city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the first atomic bomb struck Hiroshima.
Enter the Revisionists
The Emperor’s rescript was broadcast at noon on Aug. 15, and the war was over.
There was some criticism of the use of the atomic bomb in the immediate postwar period, but it was in the 1960s that the “revisionist” school of historians emerged, aggressively critical of the United States and challenging the necessity and motive for using the atomic bomb.
The central revisionist claim is that the atomic bombs were not necessary and that, even without them, the war soon would have been over. Japan was on the verge of surrender. The United States prolonged the war by insisting on unconditional surrender and dropped the atomic bombs mainly to impress and intimidate the Russians. In any case, the casualty estimates for an invasion of Japan were exaggerated.
The latest in the revisionist repertory is Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (2005) by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, professor of history at University of California, Santa Barbara. “Americans still cling to the myth that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki provided the knockout punch,” Hasegawa said. “The myth serves to justify Truman’s decision and ease the collective American conscience.”
A regular part of the revisionist litany is recitation of wartime opinions of Army Air Forces leaders, including Arnold and Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, who thought the war could have been brought to an end by conventional bombing. They ignore LeMay’s later assessment that “the atomic bomb probably saved three million Japanese and perhaps a million American casualties.”
Revisionists like to cite the US Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, which said the Japanese would probably have surrendered by Nov. 1, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion was planned. The survey is not nearly as authoritative a product as the title sounds and its conclusions are contrary to the overwhelming weight of evidence.
It is reasonable to consider several factors as contributing to the surrender—bombing and blockade, Soviet entry into war, the impending invasion—but the Emperor’s decision was key.
When Hirohito told his advisors that he intended to surrender, he gave three reasons: bombing and blockade, inadequate provisions to resist invasion, and the atomic bombs. He said on Aug. 14 that “a peaceful end to the war is preferable to seeing Japan annihilated.”
In the Imperial Rescript of Surrender, he said, “The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives.” Hirohito, at a meeting with Mac-Arthur Sept. 27, 1945 said, “The peace party did not prevail until the bombing of Hiroshima created a situation which could be dramatized.”
Japan was not ready to surrender prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs. Without them, the war would have gone on. Those who think otherwise seriously underestimate Japan’s residual strength and determination.
Bombing and blockade would have eventually ended the war at some point but were not likely to have done so anytime soon. The B-29 firebombing would probably have resumed, and two nights of it on a par with March 9 would have exceeded the death toll of both atomic bombs.
Operation Olympic would most likely have gone forward against a Japanese force with 600,000 more troops than previously estimated on Kyushu—and that would have left the invasion of Honshu and Operation Coronet yet to come.
In the end, Japan would have been defeated, but the price in lives on both sides would have been terrible.
John T. Correll was editor in chief of Air Force Magazine for 18 years and is now a contributing editor. His most recent article, “Doolittle’s Raid,” appeared in the April issue.
- Name :Anami , Korechika
- Ranking :
Japanese General. Commander 2nd Guard Regiment.
- Born :21-02-1887, Taketa.
- Nationality :Japan.
- Died :15-08-1945, suicide, age 58, Tokyo.
- Buried :
Tama Reien Cemetery, Tokyo.
- Awards list :
Anami , Korechika
Korechika Anami, born in Taketa on 21-02-1887, was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II and was War Minister at the surrender of Japan. He was commissioned as a he became Chief of the Personnel Bureau in March 1937 and was promoted to Lieutenant General in March the following year. He was also a member of the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, known as the Big 6 since it had six members. The Big 6 was highly influential upon the Cabinet. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs,
the pilot of the Enola Gay was Paul Tibbets (see Paul Tibbets)(see Georg Caron) the tailgunner of the of the Enola Gay, he also made the famous picture of the mushroom cloude + (see Richard Nelson) the radio operator of the Enola Gay and the Soviet Union’s (see Stalin) declaration of war on Japan failed to sway Anami. He demanded that Japan “must fight to the end no matter how great the odds against us, unless four conditions were accepted by the Allies. On 14-08-1945, Anami signed the surrender document with the rest of the cabinet. After the unsuccessful attempt to carry out a state coup on the night of 15-08-1945 he then attempted to commit suicide by “hara kiri”, stomach-cutting, early the next morning, at the age of 58. Anami’s son Anami Koreshige served as Japan’s ambassador to China from 2001-2006. His sword and blood-splattered dress uniform and suicide note are on display at the Yushukan Museum next to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Anami is buried at Tama Reien Cemetery, in Fuchu, Tokyo.
Taketa, 21 / February / 1887 – Tokyo, 15 / August / 1945
Briefly Emperor Hirohito’s aide-de-camp in the 1930s, General Korecika Anami was Minister of War at the moment of the Japanese surrender in 1945. A career soldier with ample experience in a variety of posts, with administrative, staff and field commands, he was decidedly in favour of continuing the war.
Military attaché in France at the start of the 1920s, during the war in China he alternated combat commands with the post of Vice-Minister of War back in Japan. He led the 109th Division and later the whole 11th Army, which operated in central China.
During the Pacific War he did not command large units, but he took part for a short time in the New Guinea campaign of 1943, where Japanese troops engaged in hard fighting with the Australians and the Americans.
In April 1945 he was named Minister of War, when the conflict had been lost by Japan in all but name, but his was one of the voices continuously urging for a continued effort despite the huge losses in men and material, the land and naval defeats, the supply problems and the American strategic bombing campaign which was razing the country. He pinned his hopes on an invasion of ‘sacred Japanese soil’ provoking such a reaction from his compatriots and such heavy losses amongst Allied troops as a result that they would abandon the attempt. The corresponding heavy losses of the civilian population did not appear to worry him, even after the unexpected atomic bombs destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when he still continued in the same vein. After Emperor Hirohito’s decision to surrender Japan, General Anami committed ritual suicide
DELEGITIMIZING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
DO NUCLEAR WEAPONS HAVE ANY MILITARY UTILITY?
WOULD ANY USE OF NUCLAR WEAPONS BE ILLEGAL AND
DOES THE MUTUAL POSSESSION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS DETER
Panel discussion held by the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security on December 6, 2010, at the Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, New York.
RANDY RYDELL, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs
WARD WILSON, author, with Ken Berry, Patricia Lewis, Benoit Pelopidas
and Nikolai Sokov, of Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons: Examining the
Validity of Nuclear Deterrence (Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterrey Institute of International Studies, 2010)
JOHN BURROUGHS, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear
Policy, author of The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A
Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice
RANDY RYDELL: My thanks to the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security for organizing this panel discussion on a very important topic, Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons. There is an old line from the Bible, Quo Vadis – where is it going? Fortunately we have two very talented people who can help us address that question.
The subject of nuclear disarmament is changing continuously, as it always has. Yet much of it remains the same. For 65 years there has been a dialectic between a comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament, ideas about a nuclear weapons convention and general and complete disarmament, versus what is called partial measures, arms control, limiting the risk of nuclear weapons, the creation of limited measures like nuclear-weapon-free zones. The historical result has been somewhat of a hybrid of these two approaches, the comprehensive approach and the partial measures.
And certainly there is evidence of this in the May 2010 NPT Review Conference, which had some pretty innovative features in the Final Report, including the references in it to International Humanitarian Law, and the need to discuss nuclear weapons in the context of International Humanitarian Law. And there were also some references in it noting the UN Secretary General’s five point disarmament proposal which included the proposal for a nuclear weapons convention. Once again, we are back to this combination of partial measures, along with comprehensive approaches.
Many commentators have noted the momentum for nuclear disarmament, and we see it in many arenas, especially in the international grass roots efforts organized by enterprises like Global Zero and ICAN, the International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear weapons.
We have seen a couple of major international commissions in the last five years: the Blix Commission, the International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the International Commission for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, which issued its report just last December. It was a commission organized jointly by Australia and Japan.
Jakob Kellenberger, the President of the International Committee for the Red Cross, made a very important speech in April strongly arguing about the need to frame nuclear weapons issues in the context of International Humanitarian Law. He also strongly supported the need for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
In addition to the annual UN General Assembly resolutions on nuclear disarmament issues, which unfortunately still remain deeply divided on nuclear weapon issues, we also have the Secretary General’s proposal from October 2009 that I have already mentioned. I am very pleased that this proposal has been endorsed by the Inter Parliamentary Union, by a Conference of the Speakers of the World’s Parliaments, by Mayors for Peace and most recently by the summit of the world’s Nobel Peace Laureates. Their Hiroshima Declaration, issued on the 14th of November this year, said that any use of nuclear weapons would be a crime against humanity. They said we must all work together to achieve a common good that is practical, moral, legal and necessary, namely the abolition of nuclear weapons.
I emphasize those words today because of the talents of our two speakers who will talk today about these particular dimensions of the problem, practical, moral, legal and necessary.
We also have the Prague speech of President Obama in 2009 which began with the premise that the United States would seek “the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” You notice that he did not say peace and security so that we might have a world without nuclear weapons, but that a world without nuclear weapons could bring a world of peace and security. It was a very interesting theme for that speech.
Despite these indications of progress, there is a darker side of the equation which is one of the reasons we are all here today. We all recognize that there is a long road ahead. There are still reportedly over 23,000 nuclear weapons in existence. This is 40 years after the NPT entered into force which committed its States Parties to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.
We still have the persistence of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, which the UN Secretary General described with one word, contagious. He said the doctrine is contagious because nuclear weapons have now spread to nine countries, along with the doctrine of deterrence.
We now have large scale efforts under way in the field of modernization of nuclear weapons in several countries that possess these weapons. We have ample evidence of long term planning, the time lines and goals for the maintenance and perpetuation of these weapons, but we do not have long term plans and time lines for the disarmament of these weapons. We don’t see much of a disarmament infrastructure. We don’t see agencies, we don’t see disarmament legislation, laws, budgets to achieve this. And similarly the institutional infrastructure is missing at the international level as well. There is no verification agency for the Biological Weapons Convention, there is no NPT implementing agency for the NPT. These are all institutional deficits.
There are now an estimated nine countries that possess nuclear weapons and continuing concerns about further proliferation to a small number of countries. There are now over 30 states, “umbrella” states, who have prefaced their security on nuclear weapons through alliance relationships. And lastly there are fears of the rise of nuclear terrorism, This of course will be complicated by the extent that the nuclear renaissance continues and ends up in the production of more quantities of fissile materials, plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
The entire nuclear weapons enterprise rests on a bedrock foundation of strata. The first strata is what could be called “interests”, consisting of material and political interests and institutional constituencies representing them who have an interest in the perpetuation of these weapons. President Eisenhower referred to this as the military industrial complex. It can be observed in many countries. There are entities, people, groups, corporations, government agencies, laboratories that have a stake in the perpetuation of these weapons.
The second strata is “ideas”, the power of ideas in shaping the thinking about nuclear weapons. These include the doctrine of deterrence, myths like the Genie being out of the bottle, the alleged value of nuclear weapons in preventing further proliferation and preventing the use of other types of Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as conventional war, the perceived prestige value of such weapons, and the declared value of such weapons in alliances.
The prescription for the future elimination of nuclear weapons implies the need to eliminate its superstructure, which means that all of these institutions and ideas that support it. That means you have to address the weaknesses at the foundation of this superstructure. What do you do? How do you address these interests and ideas? Fortunately we have two speakers who will do that, Ward Wilson and John Burroughs.
Ward Wilson is a prolific writer. He is currently benefitting from a large grant from the Foreign Ministry of Norway to continue his research in the field of disarmament and his writing and his speaking. He is also working in affiliation with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterrey, California. He is a co-author of the highly influential and thought provoking study Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons: Examining the Validity of Nuclear Deterrence. This was published before the NPT Review Conference and helped shape the debate on the International Humanitarian Law issue as it was covered at the Review Conference.
Ward is also the author of a very influential article in the journal International Security challenging misconceptions about the ending of World War II. He has examined very closely some of the history surrounding the ending of the war in the Pacific and wrote an article A Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in the Light of Hiroshima. He will have more to say about that, challenging the prevailing popular myth that it was simply the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that was responsible for ending the war, proving that nuclear weapons are winning weapons. He is one of the leading persons in the world that challenges this assumption.
He has also written another long article in the Monterrey Nonproliferation Review which is called The Myth of Nuclear Deterrence which is an incisive commentary and critique of the notion. In addition, he contributed to Elements of a Disarmament Treaty a book published by the Stimson Center.
John Burroughs I have known for many years. I have relied on his advice very extensively on nuclear weapon issues. He has a JD, a Juris Doctor degree, and a Ph.D. as well. And is a human rights specialist in international nuclear law. He is the Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and the Director of the UN office of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, IALANA.
He is the author or editor of several books, including Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security, available on line at www.wmdreport.org, and Rule of Power or the Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties. He has extensive knowledge and background in dealing with the International Court of Justice, including its 1996 Advisory Opinion on the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons. And he has a brand new article that is coming out in the Fordham International Law Journal which I am pleased to have finished this morning called Nuclear Weapons and Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This is in the winter 2011 issue of the Fordham International Law Journal, co-authored with Charles Moxley and Jonathan Granoff. A prepublication draft is online at www.lcnp.org/FordhamIHL.4.pdf.
I would like us to begin our discussion on how to achieve this twin goal of eroding the interest and belief in the utility of nuclear weapons and challenging the basic legality and morality of these weapons, and we have two speakers who will address those issues. It inevitably involves leadership by the nuclear weapons states and other states in the international diplomatic community. I also believe a powerful role will be played by civil society. On that note we will begin with Ward Wilson as our first speaker.
WARD WILSON: I would like to talk a little bit about the usefulness of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are enormously powerful. One weapon can devastate a city. There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the world. The US and Russia have 95% of them. The weapons are slowly spreading. Any war involving nuclear weapons would kill millions. The conventional wisdom about nuclear weapons is that they are enormously powerful, dangerous, possibly immoral, but – regrettably – necessary.
There is a sense among most people who think about nuclear weapons that nuclear weapons exert an irresistible temptation upon every nation. Recently there has been a slight shift. Four former statesmen, former cold war hawks – former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn – wrote several Op-Eds in the Wall Street Journal that questioned deterrence, that asserted that we needed to work for a world without nuclear weapons. And then there is President Obama’s speech in Prague calling for a world without nuclear weapons.
I think we are at a moment that is larger and more important than a small shift in our view. I think we are at a moment of paradigm shift. A paradigm is a world view and paradigm shift implies a change in the way that everything is viewed. When it happens policies and attitudes can change radically.
Here is a picture of the old Ptolemaic view of the universe. The earth was the center and the moon and stars revolved around the earth. This view was held for 1500 years. When Copernicus contested that view in the 1600s the old paradigm was rapidly abandoned and a radical new way of understanding the universe was adopted. It’s possible that we are at the edge of a new paradigm in thinking about nuclear weapons.
I am going to start with the record of nuclear weapons, which is often misinterpreted, and begin by looking at the initial expectations, the initial impressions. James Chadwick, a British scientist, who saw the first test explosion, said “a great blinding light lit up the sky and earth as if God himself had appeared among us . . . there came the report of the explosion, sudden and sharp as if the skies had cracked . . . a vision from the Book of Revelation.” And Oppenheimer claims that what came to his mind were words from the Bhagavad Gita, “now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Bernard Baruch called nuclear weapons the winning weapon. Secretary of State James Burns said they assured successful negotiations. Oppenheimer is said to have told friends that war was no longer possible. Einstein ratified the notion that they were a revolutionary weapon by saying that they had changed everything. JFK, in probably the most quoted statement, said that “every man, woman and child lives under the sword of Damocles hanging by the slenderest of threads.” Quite impressive. But let’s look at the actual record.
“War is no longer possible.” Oppenheimer 1945
“Nuclear Weapons have changed everything, except our way of thinking.” Einstein 1945
“Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear
sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of
threads, capable of being cut at any moment by
accident, or miscalculation, or by madness.” JFK 1962
The United States did not have unlimited diplomatic influence during the period of its nuclear monopoly. In fact the Soviet Union occupied the eastern portion of Europe and didn’t retreat for 50 years. So nuclear weapons did not seem to be a restraint. In 1948 the Soviet Union precipitated a crisis in Germany that could have led to actual fighting. At the time the US had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union did not seem to be intimidated by that. They weren’t deterred.
The nuclear monopoly did not seem to influence other large political events. The Chinese Communists who were fighting a civil war that ended in 1949, do not seem to have been affected at all by the US nuclear monopoly. If we think that the nuclear weapons are this ultimate weapon that has extraordinary influence, how can you explain that the US fought a war to a draw in Korea? The possession of nuclear weapons did not seem to help. And the US lost a war in Viet Nam.
The Soviet Union had the same experience. They had a large nuclear arsenal. They had a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan.
In 1973 there occurred one of the most singular failures of deterrence. Israel was well known to have nuclear weapons. It was reported in the NY Times and elsewhere. Surely the Egyptians and Syrians knew that Israel had nuclear weapons. And yet they launched a conventional attack against the Israeli forces in the occupied areas of the Golan Heights and the Sinai. Surely they were aware that the Israelis would feel that any attack threatened existential danger to Israel. And yet neither Egypt nor Syria were deterred by Israel’s nuclear arsenal. How can we explain this failure of deterrence?
And British nuclear weapons did not deter Argentina in the war over the Falkland Islands. It’s sometimes claimed that nuclear weapons ensure a nation’s territorial integrity. Yet the British Empire did not last, nor did the Soviet Empire, despite their possession of nuclear weapons. And as far as Oppenheimer’s claim that war was now obsolete, there have been more than 100 wars since 1945.
So let’s just review. Nuclear weapons did not make war unthinkable. They did not provide a significant diplomatic leverage. They did not provide victory, they did not prevent the loss of empire and they did not protect Israel (Arab/Israel war of 1973) or Great Britain (Falkland Islands war) from conventional attack. So why is it that we imagine that they are this ultimate weapon that is so essential?
In fact it’s rarely mentioned in nuclear weapons states, but more nations have abandoned nuclear weapons than have actually built them. South Africa had weapons in hand that they had built themselves and destroyed. Three former Soviet Republics – Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus – had arsenals on their soil when the Soviet Union broke up. All three surrendered those weapons. And ten states – Argentina, Brazil, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Switzerland, Sweden, South Korea, and Taiwan – have had nuclear programs to build weapons that they have subsequently abandoned. So if the importance of them were a referendum, nuclear weapons would lose fourteen to eight.
Let us talk a little bit about Hiroshima. Hiroshima occupies a central place in thinking about nuclear weapons. It is the crucial first impression. I have done quite extensive research on this. I know that almost everyone says that Hiroshima won World War II and forced the Japanese to surrender. It is very difficult to give up these beliefs. But try to suspend your belief for a little bit. Of course the Emperor said afterward that he was compelled to surrender because of nuclear weapons. The traditional interpretation is that the US bombed Hiroshima on August 5, Nagasaki on August 9 and Japan surrendered on August 10.
There are, however, significant problems with this, and they become obvious even at the most cursory level of examining the facts. The first has to do with timing. So let’s review: The bomb is dropped at 8:15 on August 6 and word gets to Tokyo relatively quickly. Just after midnight on the 7th they receive word that Truman has released a statement saying that Hiroshima has been bombed, that it was an atomic bomb, and there are more bombings coming. On the morning of the 8th Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori asks the Premier, Suzuki, for a meeting of the Supreme Council – the effective ruling body of Japan at that time. Suzuki checks with the military guys, but no, the Supreme Council does not meet. On midnight of August 8 the Soviets declare war and invade Manchuria and various other territories. Word of the invasion and the declaration of war begins to reach Tokyo around 4:30am. By 10:30 am the Supreme Council is meeting. Later that morning the word that Nagasaki has been bombed arrives in Tokyo.
When Americans tell this story Hiroshima is always the high point, the climax. But in fact the real story, the important point for the Japanese is here: on August 9th when the Supreme Council meets for the first time in the war to discuss unconditional surrender. This is the first time since the war begin in 1931 that they sit down to discuss surrender. So the question is, what motivated them to have this meeting? It can’t have been Nagasaki. That comes later in the day. It probably wasn’t Hiroshima because that was three days earlier. How can we understand their behavior during this crucial week?
A crisis, as you know, is an emergency that compels you to take immediate action. Consider the behavior of these three men in crisis.
JFK was in bed on October 16 when his National Security Adviser brought word to him that the Soviets were putting nuclear missiles in Cuba. Within 2 hours and 45 minutes they had selected men to serve on a special committee, notified them, brought them to the White House and they were sitting around the table to discuss what to do.
Harry Truman was on vacation in Independence, Missouri when Acheson called and said the North Koreans had invaded South Korea. Truman, within 12 hours flies halfway across the US and he is meeting with his top advisers to talk about what to do. That is a crisis.
Even George Brinton McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War – about whom Lincoln said sadly, “He’s got the slows” – only wasted twelve hours when a complete set of Robert E. Lee’s orders for the invasion of Maryland were brought to him.
So my question is, if Hiroshima is the cause of Japan’s surrender, what are they doing for those three days? What are they thinking about? What are they saying? If it’s really a crisis, why don’t they act like it’s a crisis?
On the other hand, it is only six hours after the Soviet declaration of war and invasion that the Supreme Council meets. Based on timing alone, the Soviet declaration of war looks like a far more likely cause of Japanese surrender than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In addition, the reaction of Japan’s leaders to the two different events show which mattered to them. On the morning of the Soviet invasion Kawabe Toroshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, draws up orders declaring martial law – orders which are put into effect that day. No such emergency measures were taken three days earlier on the morning Hiroshima was bombed. In the Army-only discussion held on the morning the Soviets invade, the Army’s top leaders discuss grabbing the Emperor and setting up a military dictatorship. No such emergency measures were discussed three days earlier on the morning of Hiroshima. The Soviet invasion touches off a crisis. The bombing of Hiroshima does not.
So let’s look at the strategic bombing. The US had been bombing Japanese cities all summer long, since March. We bombed 68 cities, 1.4 million people are made homeless, 300,000 are killed.
If you graph all 68 of those city bombings and examine the number of people killed in each attack, you might think that the deaths at Hiroshima would be off the charts, because that is always how people describe it, the worst attack in history. In fact, if you graph all the people that are killed in all 68 attacks, using the US Strategic Bombing Survey numbers, Hiroshima is second. Tokyo, with conventional bombing, is first. If you graph the square miles destroyed, Hiroshima is fourth. If you look at the percentage of each city destroyed, Hiroshima is number 17. The bombing of Hiroshima created effects that were not outside the parameters of the conventional bombing that had been going on all summer long.
And, in fact, War Minister Anami Korechika tells us this. He said on August 13 that the atomic bomb was no more menacing than the fire bombing Japan had already endured for months. Anami is the key person in the government. Perhaps the most important man in the government – even more important than the Emperor. And Anami says that the atomic bomb was not worse.
Finally, let’s examine Japan’s strategic options. Japan’s leaders knew they had to surrender. They’d known since roughly February or at least the spring of 1945. They had devised two options for getting better surrender terms. The first, the diplomatic method, was to ask Stalin to mediate. The Soviet Union, remember, was neutral. They and Japan had signed a treaty in 1941 that was supposed to run for five years. The second method, the hard-liners’ choice, was to dig in and fight fiercely on the beaches when the US invaded, inflict high casualties and coerce the US into offering better terms.
So let’s look at the impact of these two events – Hiroshima and the Soviet declaration of war – on Japan’s strategic options. After Hiroshima it was still possible to ask Stalin to mediate. And they if you examine diary accounts, they were still actively pursuing this option after the bombing. And it would still be possible to inflict high casualties in an invasion. The troops were still dug in on the beach and well supplied with ammunition. So none of their options were invalidated by Hiroshima.
After the Soviet Union declared war and invaded both were invalidated. You can’t ask Stalin to mediate, he’s now a belligerent in the conflict. As for fighting one last battle on the beaches, let’s just briefly examine the strategic situation.
The US was going to invade with 14 divisions around November 1. On August 9th the Soviets attack Manchuria with 1.5 million men. They send the 100,000 men of the 16th army to conquer the southern half of Sakhalin Island with orders to be ready within 10-14 days to invade Hokkaido – the northernmost island of the Japanese home islands. This was a problem for the Japanese. The Japanese Army that was to defend Hokkaido was under strength and was dug in on the east. The Soviets were going to invade from the west. It does not take a military genius to see that you might be able to defend yourself against one superpower, coming from one direction, but your chances of holding off two superpowers coming from two different directions, one of whom has to cross just a tiny strait to get to the home islands.
Japan surrendered after the Soviet declaration of war because they were out of strategic options. They didn’t have a choice.
And they tell us that the Soviets were the key factor. In June they had had a meeting of the Supreme Council. They talk about the conditions for continuing the war, and they say a Soviet entry will determine the fate of the Empire. General Kawabe, said, in that meeting, “The absolute maintenance of peace in our relations with the Soviet Union is one of the fundamental conditions for continuing the war.” There’s no question that in the minds of Japan’s leaders, the Soviet Union and what it does matters more than city bombing.
In fact, if you look at all the records that we have of Supreme Council meetings, the six members of the Supreme Council mentioned the bombing of cities only twice, once in May, in passing, and once on the night that they consider surrender. Based on the evidence, it is not possible to make the case that they cared more about city bombing than they did about the Soviets.
I would have said the same things as the Japanese did. If you found yourself in this position. what would you do? You are the head of a country and you have just suffered a crushing defeat and you need to maintain the legitimacy of your administration and the Emperor. Do you say about the war, we made a terrible mistake. We were foolish. The Army and the Navy did not cooperate very well, which is true. Or, do you say, the enemy made this amazing scientific breakthrough that no one could have predicted and that is why we lost?
Sakomizu Hisatzuna, Secretary of the Cabinet said “In ending the war, the idea was to put the responsibility for defeat on the atomic bomb alone, and not on the military. This was a clever pretext.”
Hiroshima is a subject where a lot of national emotions are at stake. There is a lot more that could be said about this. I would welcome talking with you afterwards about this. I hope I have made it pretty clear that Japan did not surrender because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I want to talk briefly about nuclear deterrence. The notion of deterrence is that you can attack cities and leaders will care. It is certainly true in peacetime the notion of cities being attacked is fearful, and makes us worried, but the record in wartime is significantly different. In World War II there were scores of countries that had cities destroyed with conventional weapons and none of them surrendered. Bernard Brodie, the dean of nuclear strategists, said the allies learned after the war that the attack on enemy morale had on the whole been a waste of bombs. If you look at history and try to find an instance where the destruction of a city leads to surrender in war, I have never in many years of looking found one.
So the question is, if nuclear deterrence is based at least in part on the threat to destroy cities, and if destroying cities has never been effective in war, doesn’t that raise serious doubts about the efficacy of nuclear deterrence? Destroying cities is largely about killing civilians, economic resources are also destroyed, but by and large you are killing civilians. The problem with killing civilians is that soldiers matter in war, not civilians. I do not know of a war where a country surrendered because too many civilians were dying. In war, civilians suffer. So this is another reason for questioning the efficacy of nuclear deterrence. In war time, in crisis, leaders don’t necessarily consider the lives of civilians. They ask civilians to suffer for national goals.
The problem here is that for 60 years we have assumed, partly on the basis of Hiroshima, that there is proof that nuclear deterrence works, that nuclear weapons necessarily coerce. Without Hiroshima it is very difficult to find actual factual evidence that deterrence certainly works. It seems to me that this is a problem. If we are going to risk our safety and our security by relying on deterrence shouldn’t our policy be based on more than just intuition or hunch?
Some people say, well there has been no war among the nuclear states for 65 years, therefore nuclear arsenals prevent war. This is proof by absence, one of the most difficult forms of logical proof to prove. Proof by absence only works if there is one and only one cause of the end result. So long as there is only one thing that could have caused 65 years of peace, and you’ve got 65 years of peace, boom, you have proved the cause. But if in fact there are any number of things that could have led to 65 years of peace, then this is a very weak form of “proof.”
And there are a number of things that could have led to peace. The Soviets lost 27 million people in World War II. Forty percent of their industrial capacity was destroyed. Is it any wonder that they wanted to be at peace for 20 years afterward? And with the fall of the Soviet Union their attention was turned inward for the last ten years. There is in fact a great deal of historical evidence that after large destructive wars, nations want to stay at peace.
Following the Napoleonic wars from 1815 to 1848 there was a period of 33 years of substantial peace in Europe. No one claims that was caused by nuclear weapons. Europe in the years after World War II had a number of defense treaties – much like Europe after the Napoleonic wars. NATO, for instance, might well have deterred war. Economic interconnections among the nuclear powers. There are closer ties because of jet travel, global TV, increased communication. International organizations may have had a hand in this. There is a theory that there is simply a hundred year gap between wars. There was a major war in the 1600s, the Thirty Years War. There is the Seven Years War in the 1700s. You get the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s and World War I and World War II in the 1900s. It is a fact that there are just periods of peace in history. The ancient Egyptians had a period of 200 years without fighting a war.
When I review the record of nuclear weapons, it seems to me that it is absolutely clear that nuclear weapons are dangerous, and absolutely clear that they could create enormous destruction. It is not clear that they are useful. I know that we are all conditioned to think that nuclear weapons exert this irresistible pull. It does not seem to me that there is evidence for it. Some say, “Well, I have this intuition that weapons are the reason that we have peace. I have a hunch that it works because the Cuban Missile Crisis did not flare up to war.” And that is great. I am glad that it didn’t. But my question is, should nations risk their safety and the security of their people on intuition? There is a simple issue at stake here with nuclear weapons. All that we want is proof that nuclear weapons are useful. Prove that their usefulness outweighs the danger. The problem is that this proof is lacking.
RANDY RYDELL: We will now hear from John Burroughs.
JOHN BURROUGHS: The condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons as contrary to humanitarian values and law is as old as the nuclear age. In the statement of President Jakob Kellenberger of the International Committee of the Red Cross he noted that the ICRC’s critique of nuclear weapons began immediately after they were used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “Already on 5 September 1945 the ICRC publicly expressed the wish that nuclear weapons be banned…. In a communication to States party to the Geneva Conventions in 1950, the ICRC stated that before the atomic age: ‘[W]ar still presupposed certain restrictive rules; above all … it presuppose[d] discrimination between combatants and non-combatants. With atomic bombs and non-directed missiles, discrimination became impossible. Such arms will not spare hospitals, prisoner of war camps and civilians. Their inevitable consequence is extermination, pure and simple…. [Their] effects, immediate and lasting, prevent access to the wounded and their treatment….’ On this basis the International Committee called on States to take ‘all steps to reach an agreement on the prohibition of atomic weapons’.”
That was in 1950. Here we are in 2010. A year ago the Red Cross started raising this call again. So why has the ICRC been reticent about this for some 60 years? I am not saying that they supported nuclear weapons but why weren’t they up front in calling them contrary to humanitarian law and saying that they should be banned?
You won’t be surprised to know that the major powers in the 1950s wanted the ICRC to get off of the subject. For its part the ICRC wanted to make progress on the general codification of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which of course has many applications beyond nuclear weapons. So they became relatively silent on the subject of nuclear weapons, and indeed when Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention was negotiated in 1977 the Red Cross agreed that nuclear weapons would not be specifically addressed by the protocol, although it was also understood that the existing general rules of IHL would apply to nuclear weapons.
We are in a different period now where the Red Cross feels that it can come forward and state what is relatively obvious, and that is that nuclear weapons are inconsistent with IHL and should be banned. In his April 2009 speech ICRC President Kellenberger said that the ICRC “finds it difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of International Humanitarian Law.” He also stated the ICRC view that “preventing the use of nuclear weapons requires fulfillment of existing obligations to pursue negotiations aimed at prohibiting and completely eliminating such weapons through a legally-binding international treaty.” I think we can take this as a signal that the terrain is shifting and that we should take advantage of it. In doing this we also need to be aware of the history.
In 1950 there was the Stockholm Appeal initiated by Frédéric Joliot Curie and others, which demanded “the absolute prohibition of atomic arms as instruments of terror and massive extermination of populations.” In 1961 UN General Assembly Resolution 1653 declared the use of nuclear weapons “contrary to the rules of international law and to the laws of humanity.”
These issues were revisited in the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. The Court explained that the principles of IHL protecting civilians and combatants are “fundamental” and “intransgressible,” and that “methods and means of warfare, which would preclude any distinction between civilian and military targets, or which would result in unnecessary suffering to combatants, are prohibited.” It found that “[i]n view of the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons, … the use of such weapons in fact seems scarcely reconcilable with respect for such requirements.”
But the Court felt that it could only go so far, stating that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would “generally be contrary” to international law, but not reaching a conclusion, one way or the other, regarding an “extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State is at stake.” That outcome was voted for by seven of the Court’s then 14 members, and carried by the casting vote of the President, Mohammed Bedjaoui. Three judges dissented on the ground that threat or use is categorically contrary to international law
Now we are in 2010, fifteen years later. Somewhat surprisingly there is a remarkable provision in the 2010 Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference Final Document. The Conference “expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirms the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.” The provision marks a resurgence of emphasis on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear weapons, spearheaded not only by the ICRC but also by Switzerland and Norway.
What is the significance of this Review Conference declaration? It must first be noted that several of the NPT nuclear weapon states have previously acknowledged that IHL applies to nuclear weapons. In the 1995 hearings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the US, UK, and Russia accepted that IHL applies to nuclear weapons as it does to other weapons, though they contended implausibly that nuclear use could be compatible with IHL depending upon the circumstances. Now with this provision we have all the NPT nuclear weapons states, and their allies, on record, and are accountable for meeting the IHL obligation within the NPT review process. Let me come back to that when I talk about action implications.
As a lawyer I also want to remark – this is perhaps a little bit subtle – or even arguable – but it seems to me that the Conference’s reference to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of “any” use of nuclear weapons, directly coupled with the call for compliance with law “at all times,” implies that use of nuclear weapons is unlawful in all circumstances. The insistence on compliance with applicable international law “at all times” weighs against any suggestion that IHL bends or wavers depending upon the circumstances. That includes the “extreme circumstance” referred to by the ICJ, or second use in “reprisal” intended to discourage further attacks.
The truth is that compliance with IHL requirements is impossible due to the uncontrollable collateral effects of nuclear weapons, blast and heat and especially radiation. For those of you who are interested in International Humanitarian Law, you must look at a major ICRC study published in 2005, Customary Humanitarian International Law. You don’t have to be a specialist on nuclear war or in international law to see that use of nuclear weapons is incompatible with the rules laid out by the ICRC.
Indiscriminate attacks are defined as those which are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. Proportionality in attack prohibits launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Due regard for the environment imposes a similar requirement of proportionality in attack with respect to damage to the environment, and prohibits attacks which may be expected to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.
In light of the foregoing, the IHL provision adopted by the Review Conference without question develops the norm of non-use of nuclear weapons. The welcome US statement in its Nuclear Posture Review also goes in this direction: “It is in the US interest and that of all other nations that the nearly 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever.” The same is true of the November 8, 2010 joint statement of President Obama and Prime Minister Singh, in which “They support strengthening the six decade-old international norm of non-use of nuclear weapons.” The ICJ declined to recognize a customary legal obligation of non-use based on the record of non-use and resolution 1653 and subsequent General Assembly resolutions, cite the continuing assertion of doctrines of “deterrence”. With the Review Conference statement, the world is moving closer to the day when it can be said that the practice of non-use has become a custom of non-use recognized by law.
Now I mentioned the US Nuclear Posture Review. Does IHL come up in that review? The answer is no. Why is that? After all, the US military proudly says that it complies with rules of IHL in conducting military operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. They don’t attack a military objective if collateral damage is going to be too high, for example. They don’t kill prisoners of war. I am not saying that they comply with the rules all the time, or that there could not be different opinions on how to apply the rules. But they do say they comply with IHL. What do they say about nuclear weapons and IHL? Basically the US is silent on this question. When they had to speak before the ICJ they claimed that certain nuclear uses could comply with International Humanitarian Law, but mostly the record over decades is one of silence. I think they realize you can’t make nuclear weapons compatible with International Humanitarian Law.
There is now an opportunity to say that the silence must be ended, that the incompatibility of nuclear weapons with IHL must be squarely addressed. The most fundamental implication of the Review Conference statement is the imperative of humanitarian nuclear disarmament through fulfillment of NPT Article VI. Humanitarian disarmament is a concept that is explained in the Monterey Institute publication that Ward was discussing. It has been promoted by governments I mentioned earlier, by Norway and Switzerland. It is a concept that was applied to land mines and cluster munitions. Well, why not apply this concept to the most dangerous weapons of all, nuclear weapons?
There is a factor that does not get enough attention. That is that not only are nuclear weapons incompatible with IHL, but the reliance on nuclear weapons conversely is distorting the development of and undermining the acceptance of IHL and international law generally. So in addition to all the reasons there are to not use nuclear weapons, and to ban them globally, if we want to have truly effective IHL and workable international institutions we need to end the reliance on nuclear weapons by only a few states.
I already talked about one implication of the IHL statement from the NPT Review Conference, and that is it gives advocates for nuclear disarmament an opportunity to bring this theme forward. I also have some thoughts that are more exploratory in nature about what non-nuclear weapon states can do. Here are some possibilities:
The adoption of national legislation criminalizing participation in use of nuclear weapons. This has already been done by New Zealand. Again, I am talking about non-nuclear-weapon states. Such legislation could provide for prosecution or extradition of persons involved with the use of nuclear weapons. I think this could have general effects on the perceived legitimacy of nuclear weapons but also more effects on members of nuclear alliances and nuclear weapon states than you might think at first glance.
Second, the Rome Statute of the Rome International Criminal Court could be amended to specifically criminalize use of nuclear weapons. Some of the States Parties of the International Criminal Court are meeting across the street this week. It is something that Mexico has proposed.
Third, there could be a categorical non-use treaty that was adopted by non-nuclear weapon states. What do I mean by categorical? Never use nuclear weapons in any circumstance. Sometimes people talk about a no first use treaty. However, that would just tend to carry nuclear deterrence forward. But a non-use treaty would help entrench a norm against use in all circumstances. Such a treaty is not likely to be adopted next month by the nuclear weapon states. But a non-use treaty could be designed in such a way that later the nuclear weapons states could join when they are ready to renounce the use of nuclear weapons.
I am still thinking about what we can usefully demand that the nuclear weapon states do to comply with the declaration in the NPT Review Conference Final Document which they signed onto, that International Humanitarian Law must be applied in all circumstances with respect to nuclear weapons. But I am not sure we should want to start a process in which they would just restate their existing position that it is lawful to use nuclear weapons in some circumstances. So care is needed here, but consider this. The NPT Final Document requires the Nuclear Weapon States to report back in the NPT Prep Com in 2014 on their implementation of various things that they have agreed to promptly engage on. One of the commitments referred to in Action 5 is diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies. This obviously relates to International Humanitarian Law.
When the time comes that the nuclear weapon states acknowledge that the use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable in all circumstances, the horizon opens up to a global convention prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons, But short of that a non-use treaty or perhaps a Security Council resolution might be useful.
RANDY RYDELL: Questions?
JOHN CONVERSET, Director of Justice in Peace and Christ Missionaries (JPCM): A comment for Mr. Wilson. I believe Japan made overtures of surrender before Hiroshima, both to Russia and to the US, and they withdrew when the US insisted on unconditional surrender. And a question for Mr. Burroughs. Would not also the building and maintenance of nuclear weapons violate humanitarian law? I lived in Cincinnati for 10 years where you have the Fernald uranium enrichment plant. They polluted the land with nuclear products and side products. It has one of the highest cancer rates in the nation, partly as a result of that.
WARD WILSON: Let me just say that there is a lot of discussion about whether the Japanese were trying to surrender, and whether the bomb was necessary. I am not interested in that discussion of whether it was right morally to drop the bomb. I am interested in something I think is more fundamental, which is do nuclear weapons work? Not “does the explosion go off”? But does the explosion and destruction create a unique psychological shock? Do they coerce? I think one of the things that happens when you talk about Hiroshima is that people remember the debate that we have been having for 40 years which is mostly about whether the US is a good country. Whether the US is moral. As a US citizen I can tell you it would be very difficult to win an argument about whether the United States was good or not. So I don’t want to talk about morality. I just want to talk about whether the weapons work. And I think the use of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not coerce Japan.
RANDY RYDELL: Just a follow up point on that which is somewhat interesting historically. On the 31st of January, 1992, the Security Council held its first summit meeting at the state level and they issued a statement declaring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to be a threat to international peace and security. They did not declare the weapons per se to be a threat to international peace and security. And at another summit they had in September of this year, the first one since the period of Acheson/Lilienthal, they finally had a summit on disarmament issues. And they reiterated the same thing, that it is the proliferation of the weapons, not the weapons themselves. So this issue is still of some disagreement among the nuclear powers.
JOHN BURROUGHS: Think about the logic of the justification for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While I find what Ward says to be very convincing, let us just take as a hypothetical that the logic is correct. This is the way I would characterize the logic. It is permissible for a nation that has been wronged and that is in the right, the United States in this case, it is permissible to commit an atrocity in order to bring the war to an end. I ask, is that a principle we would like to see all nations apply in the future? I don’t think so. First of all, any nation that is fighting a war thinks that it is in the right. Then if you have the rationale that it is OK to commit an atrocity, how far do you take that? It was taken pretty far in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Now on International Humanitarian Law and the possession of nuclear weapons: IHL is a specialized branch of international law that regulates the conduct of warfare. And so it does not directly apply to issues of environmental contamination. The history of the Fernald facility does have interesting connections to the issue of the legitimacy or the lawfulness of the possession of nuclear weapons. Regarding the implications of IHL for possession of nuclear weapons, if it is unlawful to use a nuclear weapon, then, according to the International Court of Justice, it is unlawful to threaten to use the weapons. On that basis, it is unlawful to threaten to use a nuclear weapons if a country does not give up a piece of territory or a country invades your own territory. It does not depend upon whether the compelled action is good or bad. It is unlawful to issue a threat in a specific circumstance. But you can take that further and say that it is unlawful to have general policies that nuclear weapons will be used in order to defend our vital interests, which is essentially what most of the nuclear weapons states say. So the incompatibility of the use of nuclear weapons with IHL raises some really serious questions about the lawfulness of nuclear deterrence and the possession of nuclear weapons such deterrence involves.
QUESTIONER: Joseph Rotblat resigned from the Manhattan project when he learned it was not going to be used against Nazi Germany. Some have said it was used to intimidate the USSR. That would seem to be consistent with Mr. Wilson’s statement that it was not effective in ending the war. I am not arguing that….There is one thing I cannot get my mind around, and that is the Non Proliferation Treaty. If you have weapon states such as the US, Russia, China, now Pakistan and India, why put sanctions against North Korea for doing what everyone else is doing? I understand that the spread of nuclear weapons is a threat to humanity. But it seems unfair. The criminalization of the possession of nuclear weapons should apply to the states that already have them. So there seems to be an inconsistency between the NPT which seems to legitimize the possession of nuclear weapons for those that possess them, and delegitimizes them for a country like North Korea or Iran. And there is objection to this by some to this nuclear club.
JOHN BURROUGHS: Some people, and this includes Tony Blair, when he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, do claim that somehow the NPT legitimizes the possession of nuclear weapons by some states. I don’t know how they get there. If you read the NPT preamble, if you read Article VI, it seems quite clear that the possession of nuclear weapons by certain states is subject to a disarmament obligation and is considered to be only temporary. But none the less, some people do seem to draw that implication. One of the good things about International Humanitarian Law’s condemnation of nuclear weapons, reaffirmed by the NPT Review Conference, is that it allows us to have a clearly universal approach that applies to all countries. The reliance on nuclear weapons by all countries is subject to critique by IHL.
WARD WILSON: I think one of the flaws is that it seemed to create a two tier system. But I think one of the advantages of talking about the usefulness of nuclear weapons is that usefulness is not legislated. It is simply the truth for all nations. And if they are not useful for the United States, they are not useful for North Korea, they are not useful for Iraq or Iran. Once you begin to move towards a realization that they are very dangerous and not very useful it removes a lot of the problems and road blocks.
QUESTIONER: How can we change things? What about Iran?
WARD WILSON: The problem of Iran is that it has embarrassed the United States. The United States is big and powerful and in 1980 the Iranian students took American diplomats hostage. Americans did not like it and we still remember it. So Iran is invariably demonized by the United States press. That is unfortunate. The question is how do we shift the focus off Iran? I think you say that nuclear weapons are not very useful. Let’s look at the Middle East. People say that if Iran gets the bomb they will dominate the Middle East. Israel has had the bomb for a number of years. Israel is not dominating the Middle East, far from it. They have had rocket attacks all the time. They have all kinds of problems that their nuclear arsenal does not solve. I think that the way that you move people away from fear-based discourse is to talk. It is hard to talk facts.
One of the things that I am working on is the study of war in the Middle East. There are a number of hypothetical scenarios, one of which targets 20 nuclear weapons on Israel. A lot of people don’t understand that – they talk loosely about a nuclear attack but it is actually a very complicated problem. A large proportion of the population in Israel is Palestinian. And even if you are Persian and don’t care very much about Arabs, you are not going to make friends in the Middle East if you kill large numbers of Palestinians. Another problem is that the third holiest shrine in Islam is in Jerusalem. You probably can’t have a convincing attack against Israel unless you attack Jerusalem. You won’t make any friends if you destroy the third holiest shrine. And finally, that is the good news. The bad news is that Israel is a small place and the wind blows. And if the wind blows in the wrong direction you could end up with 250,000 dead in Damascus or with a half million dead in Cairo. And of course the opposite works as well. It is difficult for the Israelis to use nuclear weapons. How do you shift the debate about Iran which is largely fear-based and not entirely sensible? I think we should talk rational, cold facts.
LUCY WEBSTER: How do we talk rational cold facts to the Republicans in Congress who won’t even endorse the New START treaty? What is the dynamic of getting to the support base of those people?
WARD WILSON: The anti-nuclear lobby is not very strong in the United States. And there is a large group of people who have a vested interest in keeping nuclear weapons, that is, the people who work in the labs, and all the rest. You basically have one choice, which is to buy them off. My sense is that the President has said, “We have got to have progress on nuclear weapons, I am deeply committed to it,” which I think he is. So he is giving in on funding for the nuclear weapons complex in order to get what he really wants, which is a START treaty. If he didn’t care about the START treaty he could have said we will deal with it at the next election. There is only one silver lining in this. Once the treaty has been ratified it can’t be unratified. So in two years if it turns out that there is a budget crisis it may be that the President can say I promised to spend all this money on modernization, but we really have to cut somewhere. And then it is too late to unratify the treaty.
JOHN BURROUGHS: I think your last point, Ward, is way too optimistic. I urge you to apply your hardheaded historical analysis to this question. In the 1990s the Clinton Administration agreed to the Stockpile Stewardship program as part of ending nuclear testing and supporting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). There were so-called safeguards that Clinton set out upon signing the CTBT. And this involved significant funding for the weapons complex at levels as high or higher than Cold War levels. As everyone knows, the Senate did not approve ratification of the treaty in 1999. But that deal has stayed in place since Clinton put it in place 15 years ago. There was a similar deal made when the Limited Test Ban Treaty was adopted. My sense is that while a present day Congress cannot bind or usually does not bind a future Congress regarding spending levels that these fundamental political deals are likely to be kept which is what is really troubling about the new START.
ANN LAKHDHIR (Union of Concerned Scientists): I am thinking of what has to happen for a country like Pakistan to think they don’t need nuclear weapons as a threat to prevent a conventional attack from a far superior India, or for Iran, or North Korea, worried about the superior force of those they feel threatened by, to forgo nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have become the weapon of the weak. I am wondering if you take the word deterrence, take the nuclear away from it, and talk about what other kinds of things you could put forth as a kind of deterrence that might work, rather than nuclear deterrence, how that might change views.
WARD WILSON: I think it is a fascinating question. It says something about us and technology. If you asked guys in a small country in the 1800s how do you defend yourself against a larger country they would have said, simple, you have got to make an alliance with someone else who is bigger. Make treaties. One of the problems that nuclear weapons induce is that they get us to believe in the magic of weapons. You’ve got to have a magic weapon that keeps you safe. I don’t think that technology is magic. I think relations between human beings and the governments that they create goes on constantly across history. I think the solution to the problem of getting rid of nuclear weapons is to make good alliances.
JOHN BURROUGHS: That is an interesting question relating to Pakistan. It so happens that Zia Mian and A. H. Nayyar recently did a paper for something called the Pakistan Security Research Unit which is entitled “The Limited Military Utility of Pakistan’s Battlefield Use of Nuclear Weapons in Response to a Large-scale Indian Conventional Attack” – like a large tank formation. This paper basically says that if Pakistan has 80 nuclear weapons they would have to use all of them to defeat a large-scale Indian tank invasion. This is borne out by studies of what the situation was between the US and the Soviet Union in Europe. I also recall that Colin Powell had a study done of possible US use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iraqi forces in the desert prior to the 1991 Gulf War. The study showed that unless used in sufficient numbers, the weapons would not be as effective as usually assumed. M.V. Ramana and others have done studies of the incredible damage, just unbelievable damage that nuclear weapons could cause in the densely populated South Asian cities. Just because nuclear weapons are great in burning up cities doesn’t necessarily mean that they‘re that effective in battlefield settings.
WARD WILSON: One of things that was talked about in the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations was the examination of the use of nuclear weapons in Korea. They discovered that Korea is a country with lots of steep hills and valleys and that it is very difficult to use nuclear weapons effectively as a military tool in such a setting. One of the reasons they decided not to use nuclear weapons in Korea was that if people saw how ineffective they were that it would reduce their deterrent value. They are clumsy, they are so big they get in their own way. I think we have an exaggerated view of their effectiveness.
JOHN KIM (International Fellowship Of Reconciliation): …I understand there was a resolution at the UN in 1962 which declared that the use of nuclear weapons would be a crime against humanity. Why has that type of resolution not been re-introduced?
JOHN BURROUGHS: An annually adopted resolution (A/RES65/80 in 2010) calls for the adoption of a treaty prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons. It references General Assembly Resolution 1653 of 1961.which as I mentioned declares the use of nuclear weapons contrary to the “laws of humanity” and further says it is a “crime against mankind and civilization.” It is true that it is conceivable that there could be a very well-drafted General Assembly resolution which would make this case very forcefully and I think this should be considered. But one of the problems we are facing is we now have a proliferation of General Assembly resolutions that relate to disarmament and non-proliferation. This makes it tough for civil society to broadcast to the world the General Assembly said X. Well actually the General Assembly said A, B, C, D, E, F and so on.
TAD DALEY: This is real scholarship applying real rigorous tools to the nuclear reality, a great contribution. I would like to ask you about three points in history. I thought you said the Japanese surrendered on August 10, the day after Nagasaki.
WARD WILSON: They indicated that they wanted to surrender. They didn’t actually surrender.
TAD DALEY continued: They surrender on August 15 with the Emperor’s broadcast. My father was in a B-29 on August 15 and the Emperor spoke two hours after the last bombing mission in World War II. You just spoke about the Korean War but there is another element to Korea. I have heard it said often that Eisenhower threatened soon after he took office the Chinese with nuclear weapons. I think it is unclear whether they were to be used on Chinese forces in Korea or in China. And some think that is why we had a truce in June of 1953
The third point is a future point in history, call it ten years after a Nuclear Weapons Convention has been signed eliminating nuclear weapons. There is the breakout scenario that many people raise as their objection to the elimination of nuclear weapons, that someone would develop nuclear weapons and that the breakout state would rule the world. Look at Ward Wilson’s analysis. In 65 years of history, nuclear weapons haven’t prevented defeat, don’t politically coerce. It seems to me that is the answer to the breakout scenario. Having a dozen nuclear weapons would not give an advantage to the possessor when it never has before,
WARD WILSON: On Korea there is disagreement among historians as to whether Eisenhower’s threat actually coerced the North Koreans, the Chinese, Stalin and the Soviet hierarchy about the question of the Korean War. I am persuaded that Eisenhower’s threat was not the reason the North Koreans agreed to an armistice, but others disagree. I am currently at work on a paper on Viet Nam, which is fascinating. Richard Nixon of course sat at Eisenhower’s knee during the Korean War when he was his Vice President and believed ardently that Ike’s threat worked. And so Nixon as President tried the same thing again in Viet Nam. If you look at the various steps that Eisenhower took and match them to the steps that Nixon took, he matches Ike in lock step. Everything that Eisenhower did, Nixon does. Of course Nixon’s threat entirely failed. That article should be coming out in the two or three months.
I have written a paper called “Stable at Zero.” Our view is that a world without nuclear weapons would be far safer and more stable than the world we live in today. There are a number of reasons for that. One of them is that nuclear weapons are not magic, they do not exert this irresistible tug on people. That people would not race to build nuclear weapons in a world free of nuclear weapons. The other is, as Jonathan Schell has said years ago, that if you have a breakout, the former nuclear powers would quickly reconstitute their arsenals.
Let’s look at it from the cheater’s point of view, the leadership of a country in 20 years time, and there are no nuclear weapons, and we are deciding should we break out. So what are the problems? The first is a timing problem. Within six months of an announcement that you have nuclear weapons the US, Russia, China, England, France, Israel, would respond. So we only have six months to do what we want to do. As John has already said, smaller nuclear weapons are not that useful. There were 68 Japanese cities bombed in World War II. In Germany there was horrendous city bombing. So you’ve got to break out with a bunch of weapons. Whatever it is you want to do you have to do in six months because in six months all the former nuclear weapon states could have nuclear weapons. Six months to coerce. You would need at least 100 weapons per country to take them on. The problem is that most experts believe you can’t build that many weapons without getting caught. The most likely thing that would happen is that in six months we would be back to the status quo we have today, and that would be a drag, but it is not a disaster. Any cheater that broke out would immediately be branded as another Hitler, a danger to every other country. It would be very difficult to take on a mission that would take on much of the world.
AMBASSADOR KNUT LANGLAND of Norway: I have two questions. With respect to International Humanitarian Law, there has been a dramatic evolution. Some conventional weapons are banned and .we have the Biological Weapons Convention and the Convention on Chemical Weapons. So weapons can be banned and made illegitimate. Any political leader would be aware that the political cost would be high if those bans were ignored. The military value of nuclear weapons is very limited compared to what was thought in 1945. But countries want to maintain their nuclear arsenal. Today you don’t have a super power race, you don’t have really bad tensions between the nuclear powers so the danger is much lower now than ever before. You have seen only some in the public demanding disarmament. How do you approach the grass roots so more political pressure will be put on the nuclear powers?
JOHN BURROUGHS: You are right about the trend about banning weapons. It is a simple message for us to use with the public. We have banned these other weapons, let’s ban nuclear weapons. The IHL logic gives some more power to that message. I think there is a different story to be told about politics and public opinion in the United States. There was quite a large mobilization in the 1980s. A lot of work on advocacy and outreach was done and it was effective. The US public basically thinks that nuclear weapons are bad, and a majority says they should be banned everywhere in the world including the United States.
The question you understandably are raising is, where is the advocacy and activism, where is the outrage, where is the engagement on the issues? Those are good questions but I don’t think we should lose sight in the United States that there has been public mobilization. I have great admiration for diplomats like yourself and for officials and for people like Randy Rydell who work on these issues day in and day out in government, in the United Nations, in academia and so on. It is what one has to do as a responsible person who is aware of the realities of this. Public opinion and popular movements are fickle things, hard to predict, and so I don’t think we can put all of our bets on social movements emerging that are going to demand disarmament.
But I was very happy to see this past year the quite effective advocacy that was being done by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. We had a great young man from Australia who was here in New York for months, Tim Wright. Not only in the context of the NPT but more generally the advocacy materials that were developed were really good for getting out to the public. It is interesting that some of the energy for this comes from Australia or New Zealand or other non-nuclear weapon states. Perhaps it is easier to see the insanity of nuclearism from outside the system than from within.
WARD WILSON: The way I see it is that President Obama’s election demonstrated that there is in the United States a real hunger for real change, large scale change. The fact that that exists is demonstrated by the number of votes that he got, and by the level of discouragement since that the change seems to be incremental, compromised, step by step. I don’t know how to arouse the American public so that they understand that this is an enormous danger that matters, that could harm people in every part of the country if there were a nuclear war. It seems to me that part of the answer is that we should propose radical solutions. We should have the courage to take dramatic steps because at least in the United States there seems to be right now a hunger for real steps forward, not small steps, not baby steps, not the START treaty but something that really moves us forward in a radical way. I don’t know what that proposal is. Randall Forsberg is dead. We need that kind of thinking to come up with an idea to galvanize millions. But whatever that proposal is, it must be far reaching and dramatic.
ELIZABETH SHAFER, Vice President of LCNP: I have been impressed by both speakers. I think the history is important. A few years ago I read Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Racing the Enemy, Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan, who spoke of the tripartite policies of surrender – it was not just the United States and Japan that were involved. But I do think that the basic issue is IHL. Even if nuclear weapons worked, they are wrong. We have to look at the practical argument that they don’t work as being a winning one, but even if they could work, that does not make their use moral. Some people argued during the Bush years that torture worked, but it was wrong. I think the approach we should be emphasizing is the International Humanitarian Law approach.
WARD WILSON: I think one of the advantages that people who oppose nuclear weapons have is that they have two strong arguments. They have this emerging practical argument that the weapons are not very useful and they have the moral argument that anti-nuclear people have been using for years. Both arguments seem sound, to me, and that means that used in concert they should be very effective.
RANDY RYDELL: Many thanks to our speakers and to all in the audience for participating.
Deceased Members and Former Members of the Imperial Family
Parents of HIM the Emperor
His Late Imperial Majesty Hirohito, the 124th Emperor of Japan, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Sacred Treasure, Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain), Grand Cross Order of St. Olav (Norway), KG (Great Britain), hon. field marshal (Great Britain), was born on 29 April 1901 at the Aoyama Detached Palace, Tokyo the eldest son of the then-Crown Prince Yoshihito (later Emperor TaishÅ) and Princess Sadako (later Empress Teimei). Originally titled Michi-no-miya (Prince Michi) he was soon separated from his parents and entrusted to the care of Count Kawamura Sumiyoshi, a retired admiral. Upon Kawamura’s death in 1903, Prince Michi entered the Imperial Palace with Marquis Kido Takamasa and later Kinasku Maruo, chamberlain of the Aoyama Palace, in charge of his affairs. The Prince attended the then-boys’ elementary department of the Gakushuin from April 1908 to April 1914. He continued his education with private tutors at the Crown Prince’s special school (Togu-gogakumonsho) at the Akasaka Detached Palace until February 1921. He became heir apparent on December 9, 1912. At the same time became a lieutenant in the Imperial Army and sub-lieutenant (1st class) in the Imperial Navy and received the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order Chrysanthemum. On 16 November 1916, he received his formal investiture as Crown Prince. Â Crown Prince Hirohito was promoted to captain and lieutenant (31 October 1916); major and lieutenant commander (31 October 1920); lieutenant colonel and commander (31 October 1923); and colonel and captain in the navy (31 October 1924). In January 1919, he became engaged to his distant cousin, Princess Nagako (see Empress Kojun), the eldest daughter of Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi. In March 1921 Crown Prince Hirohito, accompanied by Prince Kan’in Kotohito, his political advisor, Chinda Stuemi, and his aide-de-camp, Nara Takeji, embarked upon a sixth month of Europe. The trip marked the first time a Japanese crown prince had been abroad. Due to Emperor TaishÅ’s illness, he became regent (sensho) on November 25, 1921. The Prince Regent received the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (Norway) on 26 September 1922. On 26 January, he married Princess Nagako and had seven children. Upon Emperor Taisho’s death (25 December 1926), the Prince Regent Hirohito became emperor and the new era was named ShÅwa, “radiant peace.” The Sokui Rei Seiden no Gi (Great Feast of Enthronement) was held in Kyoto, the ancient capital, on 10 November 1928. In a 1929 official visit to Tokyo, HRH the Duke of Gloucester (on behalf of his father King George V) invested the new Emperor with the Most Noble Order of the Garter and appointed him an honorary field marshal in the British Army.
The Emperor’s precise role in the Pacific War (1931-1945) remains a matter of controversy. Under the Meiji Constitution, the emperor was sovereign and supreme commander (daigensui) of the Japanese armed forces. Despite the sweeping language of that constitution, the emperor had no political power in his own right. Instead, he appears to have presided over a complex web of political institutions (including the cabinet, the Imperial Diet, the Privy Council, the army and navy general staffs) and extra-constitutional boides (such as the genro or council of elder statesmen)with little ability to either make policy or veto policies undertaken in his name. In his capacity as supreme commander, Emperor ShÅwa appeared in uniform in public, reviewed troops, issue imperial rescripts (which were actually written by the government and the high command), and decorated soldiers and sailors.
Recent historiography as well as contemporary diary entry by officials in the Imperial Court suggests that Emperor ShÅwa held to a very strict (almost pedantic) conception of his position as a constitutional monarch under the Meiji Constitution. Privately, he opposed the Manchurian Incident, the expansion of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident into a full-scale war against China, the Tripartite Pact, and ultimately the decision to wage war on the United States. However, he received detailed briefings from civilian and military leaders about all major diplomatic and military operations. The Emperor took no decisive action to stop the slide toward war. At several key junctures various members of the Imperial Family, politicians with close ties to the Court and even less-hawkish military officials urged the emperor to intervene in the political process. Following the Kwantung Army invasion of Manchuria (September 1931), for example, Prince Chichibu advised that the only way to deal with the threat of fascism would be for the Emperor to assume personal control of the government even if it meant suspending the constitution. The Emperor refused; apparently causing a rift between the brothers that lasted until the end of the Pacific War. During the war, he resisted calls by the secret peace faction (whose members including former prime minister Konoe Fumimaro, Prince Takamatsu, Prince Mikasa, Prince Higashikuni, and Prince Asaka) to remove Tojo Hideki as prime minister. Moreover, after Tojo’s eventual resignation (18 July 1944), neither the Emperor nor his lord privy seal, Marquis Kido Kiochi, explicitly instructed the new prime minister, General Kosio Kuniaki, to seek an armistice with the Allies. Ultimately, the Emperor did break the deadlock within the Supreme Council for the Direction of War between the peace faction (Prime Minister Admiral Suzuki KantarÅ, Foreign Minister TÅgÅ Shigemori) and the hard-liners (Army Chief of Staff General Umezu YoshijirÅ, War Minister General Anami Korechika, and Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Toyoda Soemu) over acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration (14 August 1945). In doing so, however, the Emperor acted on the explicit invitation of the prime minister.
After Japan’s surrender, Emperor ShÅwa remained on the throne despite some calls for his abdication and indictment as a war criminal. He more or less cooperated with the American occupation. At the insistence of SCAP, he assisted the process of de-mystifying the imperial institution by renouncing his so-called divinity in his New Year’s 1946 imperial rescript, embarking on a series of national tours to meet ordinary Japanese, and adopting less-formal language in his public statements. In February 1946, he privately urged Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru to accept a SCAP model draft constitution as the basis for a revised Japanese constitution. The postwar Constitution (in effect from 3 May 1947) changed the emperor’s role from “sovereign” and “supreme commander” to a “symbol of the state.” It explicitly deprived the emperor of political authority and removed the monarchy from any actual participation in the government.
During the postwar period, Emperor ShÅwa devoted much of his free time to the study of marine biology. He was author of twelve books including, The Opisthobranchia of Sagami Bay and Some Hydrozoans of the Amakusa Islands. Following the Japanese capture of Singapore (9-15 February 1942) King George VI ordered the Emperor’s name removed from the rolls of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and his appointment as a British field marshal (hon.) revoked. Queen Elizabeth II formally restored Emperor ShÅwa’s British honors during his controversial 1971 state visit to Great Britain. During the same tour, the Emperor and Empress made official visits to Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Belgium, as well an informal stop-over in Alaska. In September 1975, the Emperor and Empress Nagako paid a state visit to the United States. Emperor ShÅwa died of duodenal cancer on 7 January 1989. Representatives of 124 countries, including US President George Bush, French President Francois Mitterand, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and HM King Baudouin of the Belgians, attended the state funeral on 24 February. Emperor ShÅwa’s remains were interred in the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum, next to those of the Emperor TaishÅ.
The Empress Kojun
Her Late Imperial Majesty NAGAKO, Empress of Japan and later Empress Dowager, Order of the Precious Crown, Order of the Sacred Treasure, was the consort of the Emperor ShÅwa and mother of the current Emperor. She was born in Tokyo on 6 March 1903, the third child and eldest daughter of Field Marshal Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi (1873-1929) and his wife, Chikako (1879-1956), the seventh daughter of Prince Shimazu Tadayoshi [peer]. The Kuni no miya were a cadet branch of the Imperial Family established by Prince Asahiko, the twelfth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye and an adopted son of Emperor Ninko, in 1871. The Fushimi no miya house descended from Sadatsune ShinnÅ (1425-1474), the brother of the Emperor Go-Hanazono (reigned 1429-1465). Her father, Prince Kuniyoshi, who succeeded to the Kuni no miya title in 1891, was a half-brother of Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko, Prince Kaya Kuninori, Prince Nashimoto Morimasa, Prince Kuni Taka and Prince Asaka Yasuhiko. Her maternal grandfather was the last daimyo of Satsuma (now Kagoshima Prefecture). Princess Kuni Nagako (Kuni-no-miya Nagako NyoÅ) entered the girls’ elementary department of the Gakushuin in April 1909 and advanced to the secondary department in March 1915. The future empress had been a childhood playmate of Prince Michi (the future Emperor ShÅwa). During the funeral ceremonies for Emperor Meiji, the young princess attracted the eye of the Empress Dowager Haruko (see Empress Shoken below). On 14 January 1914, the Empress Sadako invited a number of aristocratic and royal girls to tea at the Concubines’ Pavilion at the Imperial Palace, while Crown Prince Hirohito cast his eye upon them, hidden behind a sliding screen. He selected the princess as his future bride. Princess Nagako received six years of instruction in Chinese and Japanese literature, French, calligraphy, poetry composition, and the intricacies of court ettiquete under the direction of seven tutors. During that period, she and crown prince only met nine times, and never in private.
The potential engagement caused a great deal of controversy within the Imperial Court and the genro (most of whom were former Choshu samurai). The bride-to-be was of the blood royal. However, she did not come from one of the Go-sekke â€“the five noble houses of Fujiwara descent (Konoe, NijÅ, Takatsukasa, Ichijo, and Kujo), which had provided the principal consorts of the emperors for centuries. More importantly, Field Marshal Prince Yamagata Aritomo [peer], the senior member of the genro and leader of the Choshu clan, opposed the engagement since Prince Nagako’s mother was the daughter of the last daimyo of Satsuma. Instead, he wanted the crown prince to select a bride from the Choshu clan. Yamagata, the principal architect of the Imperial Japanese Army and arguably the most powerful man in late Meiji and TaishÅ Japan, vehemently opposed the engagement for seven years. In 1919, Yamagata arranged the publication of a medical journal article, which alleged a history of color-blindness in the of the princess’s mother, the Shimazu of Satsuma. This alleged hereditary malady, he argued, would damage the flawlessness of the Imperial bloodline. Prominent newspapers printed the allegations and Yamagata demanded that the Imperial Household Ministry annul the engagement. Prince Kuni vowed to commit suicide and kill Nagako if the Imperial Household Ministry cancelled the engagement. He allegedly enlisted the aid of nationalistic Tokyo gangsters to thwart Yamagata. The gangsters organized large rallies in Tokyo, which denounced the plots against Princess Nagako as disloyalty to the throne. Emperor TaishÅ intervened on Nagako’s behalf by dismissing the article on color blindness. “I hear,” the emperor told Yamagata, “that even science is fallible.” The Imperial Household Ministry announced the engagement on the evening of 19 June 1921.
The wedding of the Crown Prince and Princess Nagako had been scheduled for the autumn of 1923, but was postponed due to the earthquake in September which destroyed half of Tokyo and cost 10,000 lives. The wedding finally took place on 24 January 1924 at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. On 25 December 1926, she became empress when Emperor ShÅwa ascended the throne. On 10 November 1928, she took part in the Sokui Rei Seiden no Gi (the Great Feast of the Enthronement) at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto; she became the first empress (consort) enthroned. As empress, her primary function as to produce a male heir, since the 1887 Imperial Household Law restricted the succession to imperial male descendants in the male line. The Empress’s first four children were girls: Princess Teru (b. 10 September 1929), Princess Hisa (b. 10 September 1927, d. 8 March 1928), Princess Taka (b. 30 September 1929), and Princess Yori (b. 7 March 1931). By 1931, anxiety about the imperial succession led chamberlains and court officials to openly suggest the Emperor conceive a child by a concubine. He refused. The Empress gave birth to a son, Prince Akihito (now the Emperor) on 23 December 1933, followed by second son, Prince Masahito (now Prince Hitachi), on 28 November 1935. A fifth daughter, Princess Suga, followed on 2 March 1939.
During the American bombing of Tokyo in the later stages of the Second World War, the Emperor and Empress remained at the Imperial Palace. The imperial children went to the countryside to escape the bombing. In 1946, the Empress adopted a more public role as part of the GHQ and the postwar Japanese government’s efforts to demystify the monarchy. During the American occupation, she visited orphans, bereaved families and war veterans. Empress Nagako was the honorary president of the Japan Red Cross from 10 January 1947 until 7 January 1989. She was an accomplished painter, calligrapher and poet. She painted Japanese still life and landscapes under the pen name To-en (“Peach Orchard”). In April 1974, she published a collection of waka poems entitled Akebono-shu.
The Empress strongly opposed the engagement of Crown Prince Akihito to Miss Shoda Michiko in October 1958. Although Shoda came from wealthy and prominent family, she was a commoner. The 1887 Imperial Household Law and centuries of tradition dictated that imperial princes chose their brides from among other branches of the Imperial Family, the Go-sekke, or high-ranking kuge and daimyo families. The 1947 Imperial Household Law removed this restriction on eligible brides and restricted membership in the Imperial Family to Emperor ShÅwa’s immediate family and those of his three brothers. The 1947 Constitution formally abolished the Meiji era peerage â€“the kazuko. Nonetheless, the Empress and a circle of former princesses and aristocratic women [which included former Princess Nashimoto Itsuko, former Princess Kitashirakawa Sachiko, and Mrs. Matsudaira Tsuneo (Nobuko), the mother of Princess Chichibu] could not accept this unprecedented and unbalanced marriage. Nonetheless, the Imperial Household Council unanimously approved the engagement of the Crown Prince and Miss Shoda on 17 November 1958; the wedding took place on 10 April 1959. In the early to mid 1960s, newspapers and magazines carried stories about an alleged strained relationship between the Empress and the new Crown Princess.
The ShÅwa Emperor and Empress made state visits to Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany, Belgium and Denmark (28 September to 14 October 1971). This European tour marked the first time a reigning Japanese emperor and empress had left the country. The imperial couple made a state visit to the United States from 30 September to 13 October 1975. The Empress injured her lower back at the Nasu Imperial Villa on 17 July 1977. Lower back injuries and other physical ailments limited her public engagements and forced her to use a wheelchair. The Empress’s last domestic tour (other than visits to Imperial villas) was to the shore of Lake Ianawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture on 26 September 1984. Her last public engagement coincided with the eighty-sixth birthday celebrations of Empress ShÅwa on 29 April 1987.
Her Imperial Majesty became empress dowager on 7 January 1989. Failing health prevented her from attending the funeral ceremonies for the Emperor ShÅwa. The Empress Dowager spent the last decade of her life largely confined to the Fukiage Omiya Residence on the grounds of the Imperial Palace, except for twice yearly trips to the Hayama Imperial Villa. In January 1995, she became the longest-lived empress or dowager empress since the Nara period. The Empress Dowager died at the Fukiage Omiya Residence on 16 June 2000 at the age of 97. At the time of her death, she had been an empress for seventy-three years and 173 days. On 10 July, the Emperor granted his mother the posthumous name “Kojun.” The character for “Ko,” which symbolizes fragrance or beauty, is a reference to the late Empress’s artistic name (Toen or “Peace Orchard”). The character for “Jun” refers to the Empress’s kind-hearted personality. The Empress Kojun was entombed next to Emperor ShÅwa in the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum on 25 July 2000.
Deceased Sisters of HIM the Emperor
The late Mrs. Higashikuni Morihiro (Shigeko), formerly Her Imperial Highness Princess Teru (Teru-no-miya Shigeko NaishinnÅ), 2 December 1925 to 13 October 1943, and later Her Imperial Highness Princess Higashikuni Morihiro (Higashikuni-no-miya Shigeko-Åhi), 13 October 1943 to 14 October 1947, was the eldest daughter of Emperor ShÅwa and Empress Nagako. Princess Teru was born on 6 December 1925 at the Akasaka Detached Palace (then the Crown Prince’s residence) in Tokyo. She entered the girls elementary department of the Gakushuin in 1932 and completed the secondary department in 1942. On 13 October 1943, Princess Teru married Prince Higashikuni Morihiro (1916-1969), the eldest son of Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko and his consort, the former Princess Yasu (Nobuko), the ninth daughter of Emperor Meiji. The bride and groom were first cousins once removed. Prince and Princess Higashikuni Morihiro had issue: three sons, Nubuhiko (born 1944), Naohiko (born 1948), and Hidehiko (born 1949, later adopted into the Mibu family under the name “Motohiro”), and two daughters, Fumiko (born 1945) and Yuko (born 1950). The members of the Higashikuni-no-miya family became commoners on 14 October 1947, along with the other collateral branches of the Imperial Family. Mrs. Higashikuni died of cancer at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital on 23 July 1961.
The late Mrs. Takatsukasa Toshimichi (Kazuko), formerly Her Imperial Highness Princess Taka (Taka-no-miya Kazuko NaishinnÅ), was born on 30 September 1929, the third daughter of Emperor ShÅwa and Empress Nagako. In March 1948, she graduated the senior course of the Gakushuin. On 20 May 1950, Princess Taka married Mr. Takatsukasa Toshimichi (1923-1966), the only son of former Prince Takatsukasa Nubusake [peer]. Mr. and Mrs. Takatsukasa Toshimichi were without issue, but they adopted a son, Naotake, from the Matsudaira family. Takatsukasa Toshimichi died in Tokyo on 20 January 1966 under suspicious circumstances. [Takatsukasa frequented the Isribi Club in Tokyo’s Ginza district. He and Maeda Michiko, the club hostess, were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in the latter’s Ginza apartment.] Mrs. Takatsukasa served as lady custodian and chief priestess of the Grand Ise Shrine from 1974 to 1988. Mrs. Takatsukasa, the former Prince Taka, died of heart failure on 28 May 1989.
Deceased Uncles and Aunt of HM the Emperor
His Late Imperial Highness Prince Chichibu (Chichibu-no-miya Yasuhito ShinnÅ), Supreme Order of Chrysanthemum, Order of Rising Sun, Order of Sacred Treasure, GCVO (Great Britain), Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), was born on 25 June 1902, the second son of the then-Crown Prince Yoshihito (later Emperor TaishÅ) and Crown Princess Sadako. Originally titled Atsu-no-miya Yasuhito (Prince Atsu), the prince attended the elementary and secondary departments of the Peers’ School along with his older brother Prince Michi-no-miya (Hirohito). He entered the Military Academy in 1918 and graduated in 1922. Later that year Emperor TaishÅ granted his second son the title Chichibu-no-miya and the authorization to start a new princely house. Prince Chichibu received his commission as a sub-lieutenant in October 1922 and an assignment to the First Imperial Guard Division. In 1925, the Prince went to Great Britain to study at Oxford, but returned to Japan in January 1927 following the death of Emperor TaishÅ. While in Great Britain King George V with decorated Prince Chichibu the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. On 28 September 1928, the Prince married Matsudaira Setsuko, the daughter of Ambassador Matsudaira Yasuhito and niece of Viscount Matsudaira Morio. Prince and Princess Chichibu were without issue. Prince Chichibu became a lieutenant in 1925 and a captain in 1930. He studied at the Military Staff College from 1928 to 1930. The Prince was commanding officer of the 31st Infantry Division in 1935 and joined the Army General Staff Office in Tokyo the following year. During the February 26, 1936 Incident some coup plotters mentioned Prince Chichibu (then third in line to the throne) as a possible replacement for Emperor ShÅwa. He and Princess Chichibu represented Japan at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (12 May 1937). Prince Chichibu was honorary president of the British-Japan Association and the Swedish Society of Japan. Both he and his wife were fluent in English. The prince retired from active duty at the rank of colonel in 1940. During World War II, Prince Chichibu retired from public life, due to tuberculosis. He died on 24 January 1953 at Kunegenuma.
Her Late Imperial Highness Princess Chichibu (Chichibu-no-miya Setsuko ShinnÅ-hi), Order of the Crown, GBE (Great Britain), GCMG (Great Britain), Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), was the consort of the late Prince Chichibu. Matsudaira Setsuko was born on 9 September 1909 in Walton on the Thames, England, the first daughter of Ambassador Matsudaira Tsuneo (1877-1949) and his wife, the former Nabeshima Nubuko. Although technically born a commoner, both of her parents came from distinguished aristocratic families with close ties to the Imperial Family. The Matsudaira of Aizu was a cadet branch of the Tokugawa clan (see Tokugawa). Her father, Matsudaira Tsuneo, had a distinguished career in government, serving as Japan’s ambassador to the United States (1924) and the United Kingdom (1928), and later Imperial Household Minister (1936-45, 1946-47). Her paternal grandfather, Matsudaira Katamori, was the last daimyo of Aizu. The princess’s uncle, Viscount Matsudaira Morio, was a member of the House of Peers. Her maternal grandfather was Marquis Nabeshima Naohiro. Her mother’s elder sister, Itsuko (1882-1976), married Prince Nashimoto (Morimasa), an uncle of Empress Nagako. In 1925, her father became Japan’s ambassador to the United States and Setsuko attended the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC (1925-1928). Upon the Matsudaira family’s return to Japan, the Empress Sadako chose Setsuko to marry her second son, Prince Chichibu. She married the Prince on 28 September 1928, after her uncle, Viscount Matsudaira Morio, formally adopted her. [This step removed the status incongruity between the prince and his bride, by making Setsuko the adopted daughter of a viscount.] Prince and Princess Chichibu made several trips abroad. After the Prince’s death, Princess Chichibu became president of the Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, honorary president of the Britain-Japan Society and of the Sweden-Japan Society, and an honorary vice president of the Japan Red Cross. The Princess, who was fluent in English, made several semi-official visits to Great Britain and Sweden. King Gustav IV Adolph of Sweden invested her with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Seraphim on 8 April 1969. On 23 July1962, she became an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. On 9 October 1978, HRH the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden (on behalf of the Queen) invested Princess Chichibu as an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint John. In 1991, the princess wrote published her memoirs Gin No Bonhonnierrie. Princess Chichibu died of heart failure on 25 August 1995. After the princess’s death, her memoirs appeared in English under the title The Silver Drum: an Imperial Memoir.
His Late Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu (Takamatsu-no-miya Nobuhito ShinnÅ), Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Supreme Treasure, Kt. Order of Seraphim (Sweden), Grand Cordon Order of St. Olav (Norway) and Order of Carol I (Romania), was born on 3 January 1905, the third son of Crown Prince Yoshihito (Emperor TaishÅ) and Crown Princess Sadako. Originally titled Teru-no-miya Nobuhito ShinnÅ, he attended the boys’ elementary department of the Gakushuin along with his older brothers. Following the death of Prince Arisugawa (Takehito) without an heir on 6 July 1913, Emperor TaishÅ granted Prince Nobuhito the title Takamatsu-no-miya (which had been the original title of the Arisugawa-no-miya house). After finishing the middle school course in the Peers’ School in 1921, Prince Takamatsu entered the Naval Academy, graduating in 1925. He became a sub-lieutenant (2nd Class) in December 1925 and took up duties aboard the battleship Fuso. He rose to sub-lieutenant (1st Class) in 1927. He studied at the Torpedo School (1925-1926), the Naval Aviation School at Kasumigaura (1927), and the Naval Gunnery School (1928). Prince Takamatsu married Tokugawa Kikuko, the second daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshihisa [peer] and a granddaughter of Prince Arisugawa Takehito, on 4 February 1930. In April 1930, Prince and Princess Takamatsu embarked on a world tour, which included, which included visits to Great Britain and Norway. They returned the courtesies shown by King George V of Great Britain in sending a mission to Japan to present the Order of the Garter to the Emperor. On 1 September 1930, King Haakon VII of Norway invested Prince Takamatsu with the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav. Prince Takamatsu graduated from the Imperial Naval Staff College in 1936. In 1938, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander and received a posting to the Naval General Staff Office. During the Second World War, he held various staff positions in the Imperial Navy and rose to the rank of captain. Prince Takamatsu expressed grave reservations about the Tojo government and Imperial General Headquarters’ decision to wage war on the United States. The Prince urged Emperor ShÅwa to sue for peace after the Japanese naval defeat at the Battle of Midway (1942), which apparently caused a rift between the royal brothers. Prince Takamatsu joined his uncles Prince Higashikuni and Prince Asaka and former Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro in seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Tojo Hideki in 1944. After the war Prince Takamatsu became the honorary president of various charitable, cultural and athletic organizations including: the Japan Fine Arts Society, the Denmark-Japan Society, the France-Japan Society, the Tofu Society for the Welfare of Leprosy Patients, the Sericulture Association, the Japan Basketball Association, and the Saise Welfare Society. He also served as a patron of the Japan Red Cross Society. After the promulgation of the 1947 Imperial Household Law, Prince Takamatsu was an active member of the Imperial Household Council. Prince Takamatsu died of lung cancer on 3 February 1987 at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. In 1991, Princess Takamatsu and an aide discovered a twenty-volume diary, written in Prince Takamatsu’s own hand between 1934 and 1947. The diary, which the magazine Chou Koron obtained, revealed the late prince had opposed the Kwantung Army’s incursions in Manchuria (September 1931) and the expansion of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (July 1937) into a full-scale war against China.
Grandparents of HIM the Emperor
His Late Majesty Yoshihito, the 123rd Emperor of Japan, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Sacred Crown, Kt. Order of the Black Eagle (Prussia), the Order of Annuziata (Italy), Order of the Elephant (Denmark), the Order of St. Hubert (Bavaria), Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain), KG (Great Britain), hon. field marshal (Great Britain), was born on August 31, 1879 at the Aoyama Palace, the third son of Emperor Meiji. His biological mother was Yanagiwara Naruko, an imperial concubine (although Empress Shoken was officially regarded as his mother). He was originally titled Haru-no-miya Yoshihito ShinnÅ (Prince Haru). Within three weeks of his birth, Prince Haru was diagnosed as suffering from meningitis. Upon his recovery, the young prince was entrusted to the care of Prince Nakayama Tadayasu [peer], in whose house he lived until the age of seven. Tutors taught the prince and selected classmates at a special school, the TÅgÅ-gogakumonsho, at the Aoyama Detached Palace. In September 1887 entered the elementary department of the Peers’ School, but returned to the TÅgÅ-gogakumonsho (relocated to the Akasaka Detached Palace) before finishing the middle school course in 1893. Yoshihito received his formal investiture as Crown Prince on 3 November 1888. On May 25, 1900 Crown Prince Yoshihito married Sadako, daughter of Prince Kujo Mitchitaka [peer] and) and had four sons: Michi-no-miya Hirohito (see Emperor ShÅwa), Atsu-no-miya Yasuhito (see Prince Chichibu), Teru-no-miya Nobuhito (see Prince Takamatsu), and Sumi-no-miya Takahito (see Prince Mikasa). In 1906, the Crown Prince commissioned an extensive renovation of his official residence, the Akasaka Detached Palace (currently Japan’s state guesthouse) in a lavish European rococo style. In October 1907, the Crown Prince toured Korea (Chosen), accompanied by Admiral TÅgÅ HeihachirÅ, General Katsura Taro, and Prince Arisugawa Taruhito. This was the first time the heir apparent to the throne had ever left Japan. Crown Prince Yoshihito succeeded his father as emperor in July 1912 and adopted the reign name TaishÅ (“great righteousness”). Emperor TaishÅ apparently suffered from various neurological problems throughout his live. By the late 1910s, these maladies made it all but impossible for him to carry out public functions. He retired from public life and his eldest son, Crown Prince Hirohito, officially became Regent on November 25, 1921. Emperor TaishÅ suffered a fatal stroke on December 25, 1926 at the imperial villa at Hayama. After two days of funeral rights on February 6 and 7, the TaishÅ emperor’s remains were buried in the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum, to the west of Tokyo.
Her Late Imperial Majesty Sadako, Empress of Japan and later Empress Dowager, Order of the Crown, Order of the Sacred Treasure, was the consort of Emperor TaishÅ. Born on 25 June 1884 the daughter of Prince Kujo Mitchitaka [peer], she married then-Crown Prince Yoshihito on 25 May 1900. She was the first official wife of a Crown Prince or Emperor to give birth to the heir apparent since 1750. She became Empress upon her husband’s ascension to the throne in July 1912. After Emperor TaishÅ’s death, she became Empress Dowager. Although she officially retired from public life following her husband’s death, Empress Dowager Sadako remained a strong influence on the Imperial Court. As both empress and empress dowager, she was the patron of the Japan Red Cross Society. Empress Dowager Sadako died on 17 May 1951 and Emperor ShÅwa granted her the posthumous title of Teimei (“enlightened constancy”). She was buried next to her husband, Emperor TaishÅ, at the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum.
Great Grandfather of HIM the Emperor and His Consort
His Late Imperial Majesty Mutsohito, the 122nd Emperor of Japan, Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Sacred Treasure, KG (Great Britain), Kt. Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain), Order of the Elephant (Denmark), Order of St. Andrew (Russia), Order of St. Hubert (Bavaria), Order of Black Eagle (Prussia), Order of the Seraphim (Sweden) was the great grandfather of the current Emperor. The Meiji emperor presided over an era of unprecedented change in both Japan’s domestic politics and in his country’s relations with the rest of the world. Mutsohito was born on 3 November 1852 in Kyoto, the son of Emperor Komei (1846-1867) and Nakayama Yoshiko (1835-1907), a lady-in-waiting and the second daughter of Nakayama Tadayasu (1809-1888). Emperor Komei (Osahito) had six children, two sons and four daughters; none except the future emperor survived the age of four. Originally titled Sachi-no-miya Mutsohito ShinnÅ (Prince Sachi), the future emperor was brought up in seclusion in the Imperial Palace at Kyoto, as was customary as the time. Upon the death of Komei on January 9, 1867, the fifteen-year-old Mutsohito became Emperor (tennÅ) of Japan, taking the reign name Meiji or “enlightened rule.” That same year, the last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837-1931), relinquished his hereditary office and handed over the reigns of government to the emperor in Kyoto. The following year the Imperial Court moved from Kyoto, the ancient capital, to Edo (renamed Tokyo), which had been the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. Following the Meiji Restoration, Japan undertook a forty-year period of modernization and industrialization. Emperor Meiji married Haruko (1850-1914), the daughter of Ichijo Tadaka, on September 8, 1867; she was styled kÅgo (empress consort). The couple had no children. The Emperor fathered at least fifteen children (five sons and ten daughters) by four officials concubines: (1) Lady Mitsuko, (2) Lady Natsuko (b. 1856, d. 1873), (3) Lady Kotoko (b. 1855, d. 1944), (4) Sono Sachiko (b. 1867, d. 1947) and (5) Lady Yanagiwara Naruko (b. 1855, d. 1943). Only five of his children, four princesses and the future Emperor TaishÅ, lived to adulthood. Emperor Meiji died in 30 July 30 and his remains interred in Kyoto’s Momoyama Imperial Mausoleum on 14 September.
Her Late Imperial Majesty Haruko, Empress of Japan and later Empress Dowager, Order of the Crown, Order of the Sacred Treasure, was the consort of Emperor Meiji and the first western-style royal consort in Japan’s history. She was born in Kyoto on 28 May 1850, the daughter of Ichijo Tadaka, Sadaijin (minister of the left). The future empress’s mother was a daughter of Prince Fushimi Kuniye (1802-1875), the lineal ancestor of the entire Imperial Family except Emperor TaishÅ and his sons. Her original name was Masako and she adopted the name Haruko after her marriage to Emperor Meiji on 2 September 1867. Six months later, she was given the title kogo or “empress consort,” the first woman to bear that title since Yohiko, consort of Emperor Go-Uda (1284-1277). Empress Haruko was the first imperial consort to play the public and ceremonial role generally associated with the wife of a monarch. During the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), the Empress helped organize the Japan Red Cross Society, and remained the organization’s patron for the rest of her life. She bore Emperor Meiji no children. She became Empress Dowager (kotaigÅ) on 30 July 1912.The Empress Dowager Haruko died on 19 April 1914 at the Aoyama Palace in Tokyo. She was buried near Emperor Meiji at Momoyama. Emperor Taisho bestowed the posthumous name of Shoken
1945: The Japanese Cabinet decide at a morning meeting in Imperial Palace to surrender to allies. An 8:10 pm reply to the allied ultimatum is handed to the Swiss Foreign Minister by the Japanese Minister in Berne. Truman calls a Press Conference at midnight to announce the Unconditional Surrender of Japan. USAAF B29s launch the last air raid of the war against Kumagaya.
1945: Japan Surrenders. The Japanese Government resigns and Korechika Anami, the War Minister commits suicide. MacArthur becomes the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers in the Pacific
A photo of Sugiyama Hajime.
|Born||January 1, 1880
Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture
|Died||September 12, 1945(1945-09-12) (aged 65)
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1901-1945|
|Commands held||North China Area Army, First General Army|
World War II
|Awards||Order of the Golden Kite, Order of the Rising Sun|
Hajime Sugiyama (杉山 元, Sugiyama Hajime / Sugiyama Gen?, 1 January 1880 – 12 September 1945) was a field marshal who served as successively as chief of the Army General Staff, and minister of war in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II between 1937 and 1944. As War Minister in 1937, he was one of the principal architects of the China Incident or second Sino-Japanese War. Later, as Army Chief of Staff in 1940 and 1941, he was a leading advocate of expansion into Southeast Asia and later preventive war against the United States.
Sugiyama in military uniform.
Born to a former samurai family from Kokura (now part of Kitakyushu City), Fukuoka Prefecture, Sugiyama was commissioned as a lieutenant in the infantry in 1901 after graduation from the 12th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, and served in the Russo-Japanese War.
After graduating from the 22nd class of the Army Staff College in 1910 and serving on the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, Sugiyama was posted as military attaché to the Philippines and Singapore in 1912. Promoted to major in 1913, he was posted again as military attaché to British India in 1915. During this time, he also visited Germany, and became acquainted with the use of aircraft in combat in World War I.
On his return, Sugiyama was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and commander of the 2nd Air Battalion in December 1918. He was a strong proponent of military aviation, and after his promotion to colonel in 1921, became the first head of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in 1922.
In May 1925, Sugiyama became a major general and acting Vice War Minister in June 1930. In August, he became Vice War Minister and a lieutenant general. He returned to command the expanded Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in March 1933. Sugiyama was promoted to full general in November 1936.
 Political career
Although never elected to political office, Sugiyama is regarded as a nationalist politician. He started in the Toseiha faction, led by Kazushige Ugaki, with Koiso Kuniaki, Yoshijirō Umezu, Tetsuzan Nagata, and Hideki Tōjō. They opposed the radical Kodaha faction under Sadao Araki. Later both factions combined in the Imperial Way Faction movement, and Sugiyama became one of its ideological leaders.
Japanese news photo June 1, 1943
 Second Sino-Japanese War
Shortly after the February 26 Incident, Sugiyama became Minister of War. Under his tenure, the situation between Japanese forces in Manchukuo and China became more severe, cumulating with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the invasion of Shanxi Province.
 World War II
On his return to Japan, Sugiyama was briefly appointed head of Yasukuni Shrine in 1939. On 3 September 1940, he succeeded elderly Prince Kan’in Kotohito as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. He was one of the leading Army officers lobbying for war with the West. However, on 5 September 1941, on the verge of the war against the United States and Great Britain, he was severely berated by Emperor Hirohito for having earlier predicted in 1937 that Japanese invasion of China would be completed within three months, and challenged over his confidence in a quick victory over the Western powers.
Sugiyama was awarded the honorary rank of field marshal in 1943. As the war fronts collapsed on all sides, Sugiyama was relieved of his post as Chief of the General Staff on 21 February 1944, by General Hideki Tōjō (who continued to serve concurrently as Prime Minister).
Sugiyama was appointed to the Inspector-general of Military Training, which was still one of the most prestigious positions in the Army. After Tōjō’s ouster in 1944, Sugiyama again became Minister of War. In July 1945, he was asked to take command of the First General Army, which directed defenses of the Japanese mainland against the anticipated Allied invasion.
Ten days after the surrender of Japan, after finishing preparations for the final dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Army as dictated by the victorious Allied Powers, Sugiyama committed suicide by shooting himself four times in the chest with his revolver while seated at his desk in his office. At home, his wife also killed herself. His grave is at the Tama Cemetery, in Fuchū, Tokyo.
- ^ Budge, The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
- ^ Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
- ^ Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
- ^ Frank, Downfall The End of the Japanese Empire
- ^ Chen, WW2 Database
 BooksBix, Herbert P (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
- Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ISBN 0-7858-0437-4.
- Frank, Richard B. (1999). Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin, non-classics. ISBN 0-14-100146-1.
- Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito’s Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4.
- Hayashi, Saburo; Cox, Alvin D (1959). Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, Virginia: The
General Tanaka Shizuichi
The coup collapsed after Shizuichi Tanaka convinced the rebellious officers to go home. Tanaka committed suicide nine days later
General Kawabe Masakazu
Admiral Soemu Toyoda
Major Kenji Hatanaka
Kenji Hatanaka, leader of the coup d’état
Surrender ceremonies throughout the Pacific theater
OTHER DAI NIPPON WAR LEADER
This thread is for listing all possible meetings of Hitler. Given that is almost impossible to write a list covering all meetings of Hitler, I concentrate on visits from and to Foreign politicians, diplomats, and other persons.
ADAP: Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik = Series/Volume, Document number, pages
CD: Ciano’s Diary, Edited by Malcolm Muggeridge (London, 1947)
CP: Ciano’s Diplomatic Papers, Edited by Malcolm Muggeridge (London, 1948)
DBFP: Documents on British Foreign Policy = Series/Volume, Document number, pages
DGFP: Documents on German Foreign Policy = Series/Volume, Document number, pages
Hillgruber, Staätsmanner: Andreas Hillgruber, Staätsmänner und Diplomaten Bei Hitler: Vertrauliche Aufzeichnungen Über Unterredungen Mit Vertretern des Auslandes 1939-1941 (Bd. 1), 1942-1944 (Bd. 2)
Meeting: Hitler with Polish envoy (Gesandten) (Lipski?)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
German Record by: Freiherr von Neurath
Meeting: Hitler with Kintomo Mushakoji (Japanese Ambassador)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
Meeting: Hitler with Hiroshi Ōshima (as Military Attaché)
Meeting: Hitler with Shigenori Tōgō (Japanese Ambassador)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
Meeting: Hitler with Yōsuke Matsuoka (Japanese Foreign Minister), Hiroshi Oshima (Japanese Ambassador)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
Meeting: Hitler with Yōsuke Matsuoka (Japanese Foreign Minister)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
Primary Source: 1881-PS
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/d … 881-ps.htm
German Record by: Paul Schmidt
Meeting: Hitler with Hiroshi Ōshima (Japanese Ambassador)
Meeting: Hitler with Hiroshi Ōshima (Japanese Ambassador)
Meeting: Hitler with Hiroshi Ōshima (Japanese Ambassador)
Place: Berlin (Reichskanzlei)
Meeting: Hitler with Hiroshi Ōshima (Japanese Ambassador)
|Fumimaro Konoe ｜ Hideki Toujyou ｜ Yousuke Matuoka ｜ Teijiro Toyoda ｜ Shigenori Tougou ｜ Kitisaburou Nomura|
List of Japanese government and military commanders of World War II
In the administration of Japan dominated by the Toseiha movement during World War II, the civil central government of Japan was under the management of some military men, and of some civilians:
Supreme head of government
- Emperor Hirohito: supreme Commander in Chief of Armed Imperial Forces, head of state and central government, and representative of the “Imperial Sun Lineage”, State Shinto and Worship national god image, and chief of the Imperial Household Ministry.
Soldiers parading before emperor Shōwa on imperial stallion Shirayuki
President of the Imperial Council
Main article: Gozen Kaigi
- Yoshimichi Hara: President of the “Imperial Council” and “Imperial Throne Council of War” also the Emperor’s representatives
 Chairman of the Imperial Advisory Council
- Kantarō Suzuki: Chairman of the Imperial Advisory Council
 Imperial family members
The following were closely involved in the government:
- Prince Asaka Yasuhiko
- Prince Chichibu
- Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
- Prince Fushimi Hiroyoshi
- Prince Fushimi Hiroaki
- Prince Mikasa
- Prince Nashimoto Morimasa
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
- Prince Higashikuni Morihiro
- Prince Takamatsu
- Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito
- Prince Kan’in Haruhito
- Prince Kaya Tsunenori
- Prince Kitashirakawa Naruhisa
- Prince Kitashirakawa Nagahisa
- Prince Kuni Asaakira
- Prince Yamashina Takehiko
- Prince Un Yi (Crown Prince Yi Eun)
Prince Yasuhito Chichibu in 1940
 Vice Chairman of the Councilors of Court
- Kantarō Suzuki: Vice-Chairman of the Councilors of Court
 Prime Ministers
- Senjuro Hayashi: Prime Minister, Commander-in-Chief of Kwantung Army, Minister of War, member of Imperial Privy Council amongst political adviser in Taisei Yokusankai
- Kōki Hirota: Prime Minister, also chief of secret services in the Black Dragon Society
- Fumimaro Konoe: Prime Minister; in his second term organized the Tonarigumi organization, Nation Service Society official government syndicate, and Taisei Yokusankai (Imperial Rule Assistance Association) group amongst official expert of Jews affairs
- Hiranuma Kiichirō: General in Imperial Forces, Prime Minister, Home Affairs and Justice Minister, chief of Keishicho Police forces, Minister without Portfolio, founder and leader in Shintoist Rites Research Council amongst Last President of Imperial Privy Council
- Nobuyuki Abe: Imperial Army General, Prime Minister, member of Imperial Privy Council, political adviser in militarist Genro grouping and last Governor in Chosen
- Mitsumasa Yonai:Imperial Navy Admiral, Prime Minister, Minister of Marine, Chief of War Relief Association, expert in Jews topics amongst Imperial and Supreme War Councillor
- Hideki Tōjō: Prime Minister, Home Affairs Minister, Education Minister, Trade Minister, War Minister, Head of Kodoha Party; also Commander-in-Chief of Japanese Imperial Forces in same period, also lead the Keishicho (Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department); also was for some time head of the Munitions Ministry.
- Koiso Kuniaki: Prime Minister and head of Ministry of Greater East Asia (Japan), Vice-Minister of War, also commander of the Imperial Volunteer Corps defensive organization
- Kantarō Suzuki: Imperial Navy Admiral, Marine Minister, Military Councillor, Grand Chamberlain and Privy Councilor, later Prime Minister
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko: Prime Minister, Staff Officer, Army General Staff Headquarters, Military Councilor, Chief of the Army Aeronautical Department, and Commander-in-Chief of the Home Defense Headquarters
 Chief Cabinet Secretary
- Kenji Tomita: Chief Cabinet Secretary in Minister Konoe period
 Military Secretary to Prime Minister
- Makoto Matsutani: Military Secretary to Prime Minister
 Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
Main article: Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan
- Makino Nobuaki (30 March 1925 – 26 February 1935)
- Saitō Makoto (26 February 1935 – 26 February 1936)
- Ichiki Kitokuro (6 March 1936-6 March 1936)
- Yuasa Kurahei (6 March 1936 – 1 June 1940)
- Kōichi Kido (1 June 1940 – 24 November 1945)
 Imperial Privy Council
Main article: Privy Council (Japan)
President of Privy Council
- Jirō Minami: Privy Councillor
- Kantarō Suzuki: Privy Councillor
- Nobuyuki Abe: Privy Councillor
- Hiranuma Kiichirō: Privy Councillor
- Senjuro Hayashi: Privy Councillor
- Shigeru Honjō: Privy Councillor
- Hideki Tōjō: Privy Councilor
 Imperial State Council
- Sadao Araki: State Councillor
 Imperial Aide to the Crown Prince
 Military Aide-de-Camp
Main article: Aide-de-camp to the Emperor of Japan
- Shigeru Hasunuma: Chief Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Takeji Nara: Chief Aide-de Camp to the Emperor
- Kazumoto Machijiri: Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Shunroku Hata: Senior Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Korechika Anami: Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Shigeru Honjō: Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Ki Yano: Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Yoshikazu Nishi: Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor
- Tasuku Okada: Aide-de-Camp to Prince Kotohito Kanin
- Masaharu Homma: Aide-de-Camp to Prince Yasuhito Chichibu
- Takushiro Hattori: Aide-de-Camp/Adjutant to Field Marshal (Prince) Nashimoto
- Shoichi Muranaka: Aide-de-camp of Commander Komatsubara during Nomonhan Incident
 Grand Chamberlain
Main article: Chamberlain of Japan
- Makoto Saito: Grand Chamberlain in period of Imperial Colors Incident
- Kantarō Suzuki: Grand Chamberlain
- Saburo Hyakutake: Grand Chamberlain
- Hisanoru Fujita: Grand Chamberlain
 House of Representatives
Main article: House of Representatives of Japan
- Juji Kasai: member of House of Representatives of Japan (government supporter)
- Kingoro Hashimoto: member in House of Representatives of Japan, defender of official policies
 House of Peers
Main article: House of Peers (Japan)
- Satō Tetsutarō: Member in House of Peers
- Aisuke Kabayama: Member of House of Peers (partner of government policies in first stages)
- Teiichi Suzuki: Imperial candidate to House of Peers
- Kenkichi Yoshizawa: Member of House of Peers
- Prince Higashikuni Morihiro: Member in House of Peers
- Nobuyuki Abe: Member in House of Peers
- Naoki Hoshino: Member in House of Peers
 Imperial Supreme War Command (1937-1945)
Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Armed Imperial Forces
- Emperor Hirohito: Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy (Article XI of the Meiji Constitution of 1889).
He also led the Imperial Supreme War Council conferences and meetings, in some cases a member of the Imperial Family was sent to represent him at such strategic conferences.
 Imperial General Headquarters (Dai Honei)
Established in 1937
- Hajime Sugiyama : War minister
- Seishirō Itagaki : War minister
- Shunroku Hata : War minister
- Hideki Tōjō: War Minister
- Anami Korechika: War Minister
Japanese Army Strategic Thought Group
Aide to War Minister, IGHQ
- Joichiro Sanada: Aide to War Minister, IGHQ
Staff officer IGHQ
- Torashirō Kawabe: Army Staff officer, IGHQ
- Prince Mikasa: Army Staff officer, IGHQ
- Okitsugu Arao: concurrently Army Staff Officer, IGHQ
- Takushiro Hattori: Army Staff Officer, IGHQ
- Suzuki Meiji: Army Staff officer IGHQ
Operations Bureau’s Organization and Mobilization Section, IGHQ
- Saburo Hayashi: Chief of Operations Bureau’s Organization and Mobilization Section, IGHQ
- Seijun Inada: Chief of Operations Bureau’s Organization and Mobilization Section, IGHQ
Russian Section of Intelligence Department, IGHQ
- Saburo Hayashi: Chief of Russian Section of Intelligence Department, IGHQ
Army Inner Liaison (Army Section), Military Affairs Bureau, Army Ministry, IGHQ
- Masao Inaba:Army inner liaison (Army Section), Military Affairs Bureau, Army Ministry, IGHQ
Imperial Japanese Army General Staff (Tokyo HQ)
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito: Chief of Army General Staff
- Hajime Sugiyama: Chief of Army General Staff
- Hideki Tōjō: Chief of Army General Staff
- Yoshijirō Umezu: Chief of Army General Staff
Army Zone Commands
Army Regional Commands
Army Tactical Commands
General Command of Southern Army
Army Tactical Commands
Army High Level Inner Liaison with Army General Staff, IGHQ
- Suichi Miyazaki: Chief, First Bureau, Army General Staff Headquarters, attended operational liaison conference between IGHQ, Southern Army, and Fourteenth Area Army (Manila)
- Yonai Mitsumasa: Marine Minister
- Koshiro Oikawa : Marine minister
- Shigetarō Shimada: Marine Minister
Japanese Navy Strategic Thinking Group
Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff (Tokyo HQ)
- Hiroyasu Fushimi : Chief of Navy General Staff
- Osami Nagano: Chief of Navy General Staff
- Soemu Toyoda: Chief of Navy General Staff
- Shigeru Fukudome: Vice-Chief of Navy General Staff
Navy General Staff of Combined Fleet (Japan, later Truk HQ)
- Isoroku Yamamoto: Chief of General Staff of Combined Fleet
- Matome Ugaki: Vice-Chief of General Staff of Combined Fleet
- Mineichi Koga: Chief of General Staff of Combined Fleet
- Shigeru Fukudome: Vice-Chief of General Staff of Combined Fleet
Navy Tactical Commands
Navy-Army General Staff (IGHQ) Liaison Officer
- Takushiro Hattori: Member (Army-Navy high level liaison), Naval General Staff; Naval Staff Officer (Operations) IGHQ; Section Chief (Operations), Army General Staff, IGHQ; Army Section Member, Naval General Staff Naval Staff Officer, IGHQ (Operations).
- Joichiro Sanada: Chief, Second Section, (Army-Navy high level liaison) Army General Staff Headquarters; Staff Officer, IGHQ (Navy Section)
- Rikichi Andō: Vice-Chief Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Sadao Araki: Inspector General of Military Training
- Shunroku Hata: Inspector General of Artillery Training
- Harukichi Hyakutake: Inspector General of Signal Training
- Hitoshi Imamura: Deputy Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Masatane Kanda: Department Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Masakazu Kawabe: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Heitarō Kimura: Artillery Department, Office of Military Training
- Kenzo Kitano: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Shigenori Kuroda: Office of Military Training
- Jinsaburo Mazaki: Section Chief, Office of Military Training; also Inspector General of Military Training
- Hajime Sugiyama: Inspector General of Military Training
- Akira Mutō: Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Tasuku Okada: Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Ichiro Shichida: Section Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Tokomatsu Shigeta: Inspector General of Artillery Training
- Sōsaku Suzuki: Chief, 2nd Section, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Sinichi Tanaka: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Hisaichi Terauchi: Inspector General of Military Training
- Otozō Yamada: Office of Cavalry Training (Inspectorate General of Military Training)
- Prince Un Yi: Attached to Inspectorate-General of Military Training
- Nobuyushi Muto: Inspector-General of Military Training
- Yoshikazu Nishi: Inspector-General of Military Training
- Tomoyuki Yamashita: Inspector general of Army Aviation
- Prince Mikasa: Inspector general of Army Aviation
- Torashirō Kawabe: Deputy Chief, Inspectorate General of Air Force
- Korechika Anami: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Hideki Tōjō: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Kenji Doihara: Inspector General of Army Aviation
 Imperial Supreme War Council (Senso-shi-do)
Prince Kotohito Kan’in at the time of the russo-japanese war
Chief Secretary of Supreme War Council
- Akira Mutō: Chief Secretary of Supreme War Council
- Mineo Ōsumi: Chief Secretary of Supreme War Council
Supreme War Councilor
- Nobutake Kondō: Appointed to the Supreme War Council
- Mitsumasa Yonai: Supreme War Councilor
- Soemu Toyoda: Supreme War Councilor
- Shigetarō Shimada: Appointed to Supreme War Council
- Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu: Supreme War Councilor
- Prince Un Yi: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Waichirō Sonobe: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Sadao Araki: Member Supreme War Council
- Saburo Ando: Member Supreme War Council
- Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: Member Supreme War Council
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko: Member Supreme War Council
- Shigeru Honjō: Member Supreme War Council
- Shunroku Hata: Member Supreme War Council
- Kenji Dohihara: Member Supreme War Council
- Hisaichi Terauchi: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Prince Nashimoto Morimasa: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Prince Kaya Tsunenori: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Hajime Sugiyama: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Yoshijirō Umezu: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Jinzaburō Masaki: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Hideki Tōjō: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Yoshikazu Nishi: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Tomoyuki Yamashita: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Shigeatsu Yamaoka: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Takeo Yasuda: Member of the Supreme War Council
- Sadao Araki: Military Councilor
General Sadao Araki
- Hisaichi Terauchi: Military Councilor
- Kantarō Suzuki: Military Councilor
- Hajime Sugiyama: concurrently Military Councilor
- Korechika Anami: concurrently Military Councilor
- Kenji Doihara: Military Councilor
- Shunroku Hata: Military Councilor
- Naruhiko Higashikuni: Military Councilor
- Jinsaburo Mazaki: Military Councilor
- Yasuji Okamura: Military Councilor
- Takeo Yasuda: Military Councilor
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito: Military Councilor
- Osami Nagano: Military Councilor
- Shizuichi Teramoto: Military Councillor
President of the Imperial Throne Council of War
- Yoshimichi Hara: President of the Imperial Throne Council of War
Imperial War Councilor
 Home Defence
 Home Defense Headquarters
- Otozō Yamada: Commander-in-Chief, Home Defense Headquarters
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko: Commander-in-Chief, Home Defense Headquarters
- Fifth Area Army and Northern Army District (Sapporo)
- Eleventh Area Army and Northeastern Army District (Sendai)
- Twelfth Area Army and Eastern Army District (Tokyo)
- Thirteenth Area Army and Tokai Army District (Nagoya)
- Fifteenth Area Army and Central Army District (Osaka)
- Shikoku Army District (Zentsuji)
- Sixteenth Area Army and Western Army District (Fukuoka)
- Seventeenth Area Army and Korea Army District (Seoul)
- Tenth Area Army and Formosa Army District (Taipei)
- Imperial General Headquarters in Matsushiro Fortress, Nagano Prefecture
 Tokyo metropolitan area
- Toshizō Nishio: Governor of the Tokyo metropolitan area; also was commander of civil law enforcement divisions in the metropolitan area, including Keishicho, Tokko, Kempeitai and Tokeitai metropolitan units. The Imperial Guards remained under their own commander, who reported directly to the Emperor.
 Tokyo Divisional District
- Jo Iimura: Commanding General, Tokyo Defense Army; concurrently Commanding General, Tokyo Divisional District
 Tokyo Defense Command
- Yoshikazu Nishi: Commander Officer of Tokyo Defence Command
 Tokyo Garrison Headquarters
- Kiichiro Higuchi: Staff Officer, Tokyo Garrison Headquarters
- Joichiro Sanada: Staff Officer, Tokyo Garrison Command
 Tokyo Bay Fortress Detachment Officers
- Shihei Oba: Commanding General, Tokyo Bay Fortress, concurrently Commanding General, Tokyo Bay Detachment
- Tokumatsu Shigeta: Staff Officer, Tokyo Bay Fortress Detachment
 Maizuru Fortified Zone
- Kanji Ishiwara: Commanding General, Maizuru Fortified Zone
 Tsushima Fortress Detachment
- Kiyotake Kawaguchi: recalled to active duty, Commanding General, Tsushima Fortress
 Officer assigned to General Defense Command
- Shōjirō Iida: assigned to General Defense Command
 Shinbu Group (Fourteenth Area Army command)
- Shizuo Yokoyama: Commanding General, Shinbu Group (Fourteenth Area Army command)
 Northeastern Army District Headquarters (Japan Proper)
- Sinichi Tanaka: attached to Northeastern Army District Headquarters (Japan Proper)
 Northern District Army Command
- Kiichiro Higuchi: concurrently Commanding General, Northern District Army Command
 Western Army District HQ
- Kanji Nishihara: attached to Western Army District Headquarters
 Western District Army Command
- Shizuo Sakaguchi: attached to Western District Army Command
 Central District Army Headquarters
- Joichiro Sanada: Central District Army Headquarters
 Central District Army Command
- Masakazu Kawabe: concurrently Commanding General, Central District Army Command
- See Home Defense Units WW2(Japan)
 Chosen Army District
- Seishirō Itagaki: concurrently Commanding General, Chosen District Army Command
For details of the Chosen Army:
 War Ministries
 Munitions Minister
- Hideki Tōjō: Concurrent chief of the Munitions Ministry,as Army figure in same Ministry
- Nobusuke Kishi: As sometimes replaced at Gen Tojo in lead of Munitions Minister
- Ginjirō Fujiwara: in charge of the Munitions Ministry
- Shigeru Yoshida: Munitions Minister
- Teijirō Toyoda: Marine and Munitions Ministry,as Navy figure in such Ministry
- Takijiro Ohnishi: Chief of naval aviation development,a division of the Munitions Ministry; also father of the “Kamikaze” special forces
- Chikuhei Nakajima: Munitions Minister and aircraft industrialist as linked with Army
 Materiel Section, War Ministry
 Sagami Army Arsenal
- Tasuku Okada: Chief, Sagami Army Arsenal
 Tokyo Army Arsenal
- Kijirō Nambu: Chief, Tokyo Army Arsenal; he also founded and led Nambu Arms Manufacturing Company during wartime
 Army Remount Department
- Minoru Sasaki: Member, Army Remount Department
 Inspector General of Chemical Warfare
- Kanji Nishihara: Inspector General of Chemical Warfare
- Kazumoto Machijiri: Inspector General of Chemical Warfare
 Officer in Inspectorate General
- Shinichi Tanaka: Chief of Staff, Inspectorate General, LOC
 Army Section, Imperial General Headquarters
- Prince Mikasa: Staff officer in the Army Section of the Imperial General Headquarters
 Ōita PW Internment Camp Staff
- Akira Mutō: member of Ōita PW Internment Camp staff
 Army Allied Prisoner of War Information Bureau
- Hitoshi Hamada: Deputy Chief Supervisor of Allied Prisoner of War Information Bureau
Army Commanders of Military Prisons and POW Camps in occupied territories
- Lieutenant-General Igatu: General Officer Commanding Prisoner of War Camps Philippines
- Shinpei Fukei: Commandant Prisoner of War Camps, Singapore
- Major-General Arimina: Commandant Changi Jail, Singapore
 War Minister
Main article: Ministry of War of Japan
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko: Minister of War
- Senjuro Hayashi: Minister of War
- Hajime Sugiyama: Minister of War
- Sadao Araki: Minister of War
- Jirō Minami: Minister of War
- Shunroku Hata: Minister of War
- Kazushige Ugaki: Minister of War
- Yoshijirō Umezu: Minister of War
- Seishirō Itagaki: Minister of War
- Hideki Tōjō: Minister of War
- Korechika Anami: Minister of War
- Hisaichi Terauchi: Minister of War
- Shigenori Kuroda: Minister of War
- Nobuyuki Abe: Minister of War
 Deputy Minister of War
- Nobuyuki Abe: Deputy Minister of War
 Vice-Minister of War
- Yoshinori Shirakawa: Vice-Minister of War
- Mikio Furusho: Vice-Minister of War
- Toranosuke Hashimoto: Vice-Minister of War
- Korechika Anami: Vice-Minister of War
- Kazushige Ugaki: War Vice-Minister
- Hajime Sugiyama: Vice-Minister of War
- Hideki Tōjō: Vice-Minister of War
- Heisuke Yanagawa: War Vice-Minister
- Hyotaro Yamada: War Vice-Minister
- Heitarō Kimura: War Vice-Minister
- Koiso Kuniaki: War Vice-Minister
- Masataka Yamawaki: War Vice-Minister
 Secretary to the War Minister
- Joichiro Sanada: Secretary to War Minister; concurrently Adjutant in the same Ministry; Aide to the War Minister; Staff Officer, Tokyo Garrison Command
- Takushiro Hattori: Secretary to the War Minister; Adjutant, War Ministry
- Joichiro Sanada: Aide to War Minister, IGHQ
- Hiroo Sato: Adjutant to the War Minister
- Yoshio Kozuki: Secretary to the War Minister; Adjutant, War Ministry
- Toshizō Nishio: Adjutant, War Ministry; Secretary to the War Minister; Governor, Tokyo Metropolitan area
- Yozo Miyama: Senior Adjutant, War Ministry
- Okitsugu Arao: Secretary to the War Minister
 Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Kenryo Sato: Chief, Army Affairs Bureau
- Kitsuju Ayabe: Member, Army Affairs Section
- Tetsuzan Nagata: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau
- Hitoshi Imamura: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Kiyotake Kawaguchi: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Heitarō Kimura: Chief, Military Administration Bureau, War Ministry
- Masahiko Takeshita: Chief of the Domestic affairs section of the Military Affairs Bureau
- Machijiri Kazumoto: Chief of Army Affairs Section, Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War and Head of Military Affairs Bureau, in same Ministry
- Takeji Nara: Head of Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War
- Kenji Hatanaka: Officer in Military Affairs Section
- Yoshio Kozuki: assigned to the Military Affairs Bureau
- Tadamichi Kuribayashi: Member, Military Affairs Bureau
- Renya Mutaguchi: Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Tetsuzan Nagata: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau
- Hidemitsu Nakano: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Kanji Nishihara: Section Member, Military Affairs Bureau
- Kengo Noda: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Hideyoshi Obata: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Sanji Okido: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Joichiro Sanada: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau
- Minoru Sasaki: Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Hajime Sugiyama: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau
- Sōsaku Suzuki: Member, Military Affairs Bureau
- Teiichi Suzuki: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Sizuichi Tanaka: Member, Military Affairs Bureau
- Yuitsu Tsuchihashi: Member, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Tomoyuki Yamashita: Member and Chief, Army Affairs Section, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Takeo Yasuda: Chief, Defense Section, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Isamu Yokoyama: Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Takeji Nara: Head of Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War
- Isamu Chō: Attached to Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War
 Economic Mobilization Bureau in War Ministry and related sections
- Shigenori Kuroda: Section Chief (Conscription), War Ministry
- Tetsuzan Nagata: Section Chief, Economic Mobilization Bureau
- Koiso Kuniaki: Chief, Materiel Mobilization Bureau, War Ministry
- Heitarō Kimura: Section Chief, Economic Mobilization Bureau, War Ministry
- Kanji Nishihara: attached to Army Technical Department
- Toshishiro Obata: Chief, Operations Bureau, Army General Staff
- Joichiro Sanada: Member, War Ministry Maintenance section; Chief, Army Affairs Section, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Minoru Sasaki: Ordnance Bureau, War Ministry, Army Ordnance Main Depot, Mechanized Department
- Sōsaku Suzuki: Army Ordnance, Administration Department
- Kenryo Sato: Chief, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
- Teichii Suzuki: Military Affairs Bureau; concurrently Member of the Cabinet Research Board
- Shinichi Tanaka: Chief, Military Service Section, War Ministry
- Yoshijirō Umezu: Ordnance Bureau, War Ministry
- Isamu Yokoyama: Economic Mobilization Bureau, War Ministry; Section Chief, Planning Bureau, Cabinet Resources Board
 Personal Bureau of War Ministry
- Yaezo Akashiba: Member, Personnel Bureau
- Korechika Anami: Chief, Personnel Bureau
- Yasuji Okamura: Chief, Assignments Section, Personnel Bureau, War Ministry
- Tan Nukata: Chief, Personnel Bureau, War Ministry
- Sanji Okido: attached to Personnel Bureau, War Ministry
- Otozō Yamada: Chief, Personnel Bureau
 Press Relations Branch, Ministry of War
- Masaharu Homma: Chief of Press Relations Branch, Ministry of War
 Army Field Marshal
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito:- Field Marshal
- Prince Nashimoto Morimasa:- Field Marshal
- Shunroku Hata:- Field Marshal
- Hisaichi Terauchi:- Field Marshal
- Hajime Sugiyama:- Field Marshal
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko:- Field Marshal
- Nobuyoshi Mutō:- Field Marshal
 Provost Marshal General
- Sadao Araki: Provost Marshal General
- Fusataro Teshima: Provost Marshal General (LtGen)
- Shigeru Taiboku: Provost Marshal General
- Toranosuke Hashimoto: Provost Marshal General, later the Japanese first priest in Shintoist central Shrine in Hsinking, led the Cultural Japanese entity in Manchukuo, amongst operative leader of Manchoukouan Intelligence services.
- See List of Japanese Army Officers (WW2)
 General Affairs Bureau, Provost Marshal Headquarters
- Fusataro Teshima: Chief, General Affairs Bureau, Provost Marshal Headquarters
 Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Rikichi Andō: Vice-Chief Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Sadao Araki: Inspector General of Military Training
- Shunroku Hata: Inspector General of Artillery Training
- Harukichi Hyakutake: Inspector General of Signal Training
- Hitoshi Imamura: Deputy Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Masatane Kanda: Department Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Masakazu Kawabe: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Heitarō Kimura: Artillery Department, Office of Military Training
- Kenzo Kitano: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Shigenori Kuroda: Office of Military Training
- Jinsaburo Mazaki: Section Chief, Office of Military Training; also Inspector General of Military Training
- Akira Mutō: Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Tasuku Okada: Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Ichiro Shichida: Section Chief, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Tokomatsu Shigeta: Inspector General of Artillery Training
- Sōsaku Suzuki: Chief, 2nd Section, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Sinichi Tanaka: Section Member, Inspectorate General of Military Training
- Hisaichi Terauchi: Inspector General of Military Training
- Otozō Yamada: Office of Cavalry Training (Inspectorate General of Military Training)
- Heisuke Yanagawa: Inspector-General of Cavalry Training
 Imperial Army-Navy military teaching and training services units
 Army Officers in Reserve list
- Sadao Araki: retired, March 1936, later enter in politic activities
- Jirō Minami: placed on reserve list, 1936, later reacalled
- Nobuyuki Abe: In 1936 put on reserve list with rank of general
- Rikichi Andō: transferred to reserve list, January 1941; recalled to active duty
- Keisuke Fujie: retired, April 1945; recalled to active duty
- Masaharu Homma: transferred to First Reserve List, August 1943
- Shōjirō Iida: retired, December 1944; later recalled
- Kanji Ishiwara: retired, 1938; recalled to active duty, 1938–40
- Kiyotake Kawaguchi: unassigned list, March 1943; transferred to first reserve list, April 1943
- Teiichi Suzuki: transferred to first reserve list
- Renya Mutaguchi: retired, December 1944
- Toshizō Nishio: placed on reserve list, 1942
- Ichiro Shicida: retired, April 1945; recalled to active duty
- Hideki Tōjō: relieved of all military and political posts, July 1944; retired to first reserve list
- Kioji Tominaga: transferred to first reserve list (Formosa), May 1945
- Koiso Kuniaki: retired to first reserve list, July 1938
- Yoshitoshi Tokugawa: Was entered on Reserve list (1939), for later retirement to civilian life (1939). He was called to operational service during 1944-45.
 Deputy Chief of Army General Staff
- Jun Ushiroku: Senior Deputy Chief of Army General Staff
- Hikosaburo Hata: Second Deputy Chief of Army General Staff
- Torashirō Kawabe: Deputy Chief of Army General Staff
- Hajime Sugiyama: Deputy Chief of Army General Staff
 Chief of Army General Staff
- Prince Kan’in Kotohito: Chief of the Army General Staff
- Hideki Tōjō: Chief of Army General Staff
- Yoshijirō Umezu: Chief of Army General Staff
- Hajime Sugiyama: Chief of Army General Staff
 Bureau Chief of Army General Staff
- Sadao Araki: Bureau Chief of Army General Staff
 1st Bureau Chief of Army General Staff
 2nd Bureau Chief of Army General Staff
 Vice Chief of Army General Staff
 Army General Staff
- Hideo Iwakuro
- Muraji Yano
- Saburo Hayashi
- Hatazō Adachi
- Rikichi Andō
- Sadao Araki
- Okitsugu Arao
- Kitsuju Ayabe
- Kenji Doihara
- Keisuke Fujie
- Shunroku Hata
- Takushiro Hattori
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
- Kiichiro Higuchi
- Masaharu Homma
- Prince Chichibu
- Harukichi Hyakutake
- Jo Iimura
- Hitoshi Imamura
- Kanji Ishiwara
- Masatane Kanda
- Tadasu Kataoka
- Masakazu Kawabe
- Torashirō Kawabe
- Kiyotake Kawabe
- Heitarō Kimura
- Seiichi Kita
- Kenzo Kitano
- Kuniaki Koiso
- Yoshio Kozuki
- Shuichi Miyazaki
- Takeshi Mori
- Renya Mutaguchi
- Akira Mutō
- Tetsuzan Nagata
- Hidemitsu Nakano
- Mitsuo Nakazawa
- Masahiko Takeshita
- Kengo Noda
- Shihei Oba
- Hideyoshi Obata
- Toshishiro Obata
- Tasuku Okada
- Sanji Okido
- Minoru Sasaki
- Ichiro Shichida
- Hajime Sugiyama
- Sōsaku Suzuki
- Teiichi Suzuki
- Shinichi Tanaka
- Shizuichi Tanaka
- Kumaichi Teramoto
- Kyoji Tominaga
- Yuitsu Tsuchihashi deputy Chief-of-Staff of China Expeditionary Army in October 1940.
- Toshimichi Uemura
- Otozō Yamada
- Tomoyuki Yamashita
- Isamu Yokoyama
- Shizuo Yokoyama
 20th Group – War Coordination, Army General Staff
- Makoto Matsutani: Chief, 20th Group-War Coordination, Army General Staff
 Operations Section, Army General Staff
- Seijun Inada: Chief of Operations Section, Army General Staff
 Third Section-Organization and Mobilization, Army General Staff
- Yozo Miyama: Chief, Third Section (Organization and Mobilization), Army General Staff
- Kitsuju Ayabe: Section Chief, Third Section (Organization and Mobilization), Army General Staff
 Chief of General Intelligence Bureau in Army General Staff
- Seizo Arisue: Chief of General Intelligence Bureau in Army General Staff
 Second Bureau (Intelligence Division), Army General Staff
- Major General Okamoto: Chief, Second Bureau (Intelligence Division), Army General Staff, at the time of the outbreak of the Pacific War. His staff consisted of Colonel Kotani, Navy officer Captain Onoda, and Mr.Yosano, Foreign Office Chancellor.
- Seizo Arisue: Chief, Second Bureau (Intelligence Division), Army General Staff
- Harukichi Hyakutake: Chief of the Cryptographic Section (Intelligence Division), Army General Staff
 Russian unit of Second Bureau (Intelligence Division) Army General Staff
- Saburo Hayashi: Commander of Russian unit, Second Bureau (Intelligence) Army General Staff
Japanese Army Intelligence Services units
- Hideki Tōjō, the highest operative Chief in Japanese Army Intelligence Services in wartime
- Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi as the underground, supreme chief and secret agent in Japanese Secret Service in Manchukuo
- Toranosuke Hashimoto as Operative Commander of Manchoukouan Secret services under the lead of Prince Takeda amongst Kempeitai services
- Torashirō Kawabe Staff Officer (Operations/Intelligence), Kwantung Army
- Kingoro Hashimoto Chief, Special Service Agency, Hailar, Kwantung Army
- Harukichi Hyakutake Chief of the Special Service Agency, Kwantung Army in Harbin
- Kuniaki Koiso leader of Special Services Agency in Manchukuo
- Michitarō Komatsubara intelligence chief of Special Services Agency in Harbin for some time
- Noboyushi Obata (Shinryo) chief of Special Services Agency in Harbin
- Kanji Tsuneoka Directed the Mongol department of Kwantung Army in land and native saboteurs and secret agent units
- Hiroshi Akita Chief of German Section of Japanese Military Intelligence in this period
- Masayoshi Yamamoto Led the Matsu Kikan (Pine Tree) Secret Agency, under command of 19th Army, with HQ in Ambon (Dutch Indies)
- Jinzo Nomoto intelligence officer sent by a unit of the Imperial Japanese Army to Tibet and Sinkiang
 Army Technical Research Institute
- Lieutenant-General Gondo:Director 9th Dept Army Technical Research Institute
- Yoshikazu Nishi: Head of General Affairs Bureau in Technical Research Institute
 Third Bureau (Logistics), Army General Staff
- Tan Nukata: Chief, Third Bureau-Logistics, Army General Staff
- Goro Isoya: Chief, Third Bureau-Logistics, Army General Staff
 Railways and Shipping section, Army General Staff
- Okitsugu Arao: Section Chief (Railways and Shipping), Army General Staff
 Army Ordnance and Army Shipping Department
- Yoshio Kozuki: Commanding General, Shipping Transportation Headquarters
- Sōsaku Suzuki: Army Ordnance, Administration Department; Chief, Army Shipping Department Shipping Transportation Headquarters
- Hideo Baba: General Officer Commanding Army Maritime Transport Command
- Hakaru Gondo: Commanding Officer 13th Shipping Group
 Chairman of the Military Affairs Bureau
- Tetsuzan Nagata: Military Affairs Bureau and Economic Mobilization Bureau
- Kenryo Sato: Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, Government Planning Board
- Rikichi Andō: Chief, Military Administration Section, Military Administration Bureau
- Renya Mutaguchi: Military Affairs Bureau
- Akiho Ishii: Chief, Military Affairs Section, War Ministry
- Okitsugu Arao: Chief, Army Affairs Section, Military Affairs Bureau
- Susumu Nishiura: Chief, Army Affairs Section, War Ministry
- Tan Nukata: Chief, General Affairs Bureau
- Hitoshi Imamura: Section Chief, Military Affairs Bureau
- Yoshio Kozuki: Military Affairs Bureau and Military Administration Bureau; member Military Administration Bureau
- Kanji Nishihara: Section Member, Military Affairs Bureau; Inspector General of Chemical Warfare
- Takeo Yasuda: Chief, Defense Section, Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry
 Commanders Officer Army Home Stations
- Masao Iwasa: Commanding Officer Tokyo Home Station
- Jinzaburo Ishitani: Commanding Officer Tsu Home Station, Commanding Officer Ujiyamada Home Station, Commanding Officer Yokkaichi Home Station
- Juzo Hirata: Commanding Officer Shibata Home Station
- Seiji Ikehama: Commanding Officer Ashigawa Home Station and Commanding Officer Obihiro Home Station
- Keinosuke Iizuka: Commanding Officer Akita Home Station
- Tomejiro Hishiki: Commanding Officer Wakamatsu Home Station
- Jūrō Gotō: Commanding Officer Kofu Home Station
- Hisao Harada: Commanding Officer Matsumo Home Station, Commanding Officer Muramatsu Home Station and Commanding Officer Takeda Home Station
 Army Aeronautical Department
Administrative Chief of Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Korechika Anami: Chief, Army Aeronautical Department
- Shunroku Hata: Chief, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko: Chief, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Takuma Shimoyama: Chief Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Michio Sugawara: Chief Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Hajime Sugiyama: Chief, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Kumaichi Teramoto: Member, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Takeo Yasuda: Chief, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Koiso Kuniaki: Chief, Administrative Division, Army Aeronautical Department
- Tsuneori Kaya: Attached to Administration, Army Aeronautical Department, Ministry of War
Chief of the Army Aviation Headquarters
- Tomoyuki Yamashita: Chief of the Army Aviation Headquarters
Inspectorate General of Army Air Force
- Tomoyuki Yamashita: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Prince Mikasa: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Korechika Anami: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Torashirō Kawabe: Deputy Chief, Inspectorate General of Air Force
- Hideki Tōjō: Inspector General of Army Aviation
- Kenji Doihara: Inspector General of Army Aviation
Air Armies General Commanders
- Masakazu Kawabe: Commanding General, Air General Army, (took charge of Army air operations in homeland, Chosen and Ryukyus)
- Takeo Yasuda: Commanding General, First Air Army
- Torashirō Kawabe: Commanding General, Second Air Army (Manchuria)
- Hideyoshi Obata: Third Air Army General Commander
- Michio Sugawara: Third Air Army Commander and Sixth Air Army Commander. Between March and May 1945, General Sugawara was engaged in the Ten-Go Air Operation, under the Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet
- Kumaichi Teramoto: Commanding General, Fourth Air Army
- Kyoji Tominaga: Fourth Air Army Commander
- Takuma Shimoyama: At end of World War II, he was Commanding General (LtGen), Fifth Air Army, stationed in Seoul, Chosen
- Prince Un Yi: General Officer Commanding 1st Air Army
Air Groups Commanders
- Michio Sugawara: First Air Group Commander
- Kumaichi Teramoto: Commanding General, Second Air Group (LtGen)
- Hideyoshi Obata: Fifth Air Group Commander and Third Air Group Commander
Air Regiment Commanders
- Michio Sugawara: LtCol (Air Force), Regimental Commander, 6th Air Regiment (Colonel)
- Rikishi Tsukada: LtCol/Colonel (Air Force) Officer attached to 7th Air Regiment; later 7th Air Regiment Commander
- Kumaichi Teramoto: Regimental Commander, 8th Air Regiment (Colonel, Air Force)
- Takuma Shimoyama: Regimental Commander, 16th Air Regiment
- Hideyoshi Obata: Regimental Commander, 16th Air Regiment
- Yoshitoshi Tokugawa: Commanding Officer 1st Air Regiment
Air Force Brigade Commanders
- Michio Sugawara: Brigade Commander, 2nd Air Brigade, Brigade Commander, 3rd Air Brigade
Air Force Staff Officers
- Prince Mikasa: Member of Staff of the Air General Army
- Rikishi Tsukada: Chief of Staff, First Air Group
- Takuma Shimoyama: Staff Officer, Air Force
- Michio Sugawara: Department (MajGen), Staff Officer, Air Force administration
Officer Attached to Second Air Group HQ
- Hideyoshi Obata: Colonel (Air Force) –attached to Second Air Group Headquarters