Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


1 JULY 1946

page 2





I - Some Properties of the Political Target

II - Behind the Collapse of TOJO

III - The KOISO Government

IV - The SUZUKI Cabinet

V - The Political Target Under Assalt

Appendix - (Japanese) Survey of National Resources as of 1-10 June, 1945

page 3


The United States Strategic Bombing Survey Was established by the Secretary of Mar on 3 November, 1944,pursuant to a directive from the late President Roosevelt. Its mission was to conduct an impartial and expert study of the effects of our aerial attack on Germany, to be used in connection with air attacks on Japan and to establish a basis for evaluating importance and potentialities of air power. as an instrument of military strategy, for planning the future development of the United States armed forces, and for determining future economic policies with respect to the national defense. A summary report and some 200 supporting reports containing the finding s of the Survey in Germany have been published.

On 15 August 1945, President Truman requested that the Survey conduct a similar study of the effects of all types of air attack in the war against Japan. The officers of the Survey in Japan, who are all civilians were:

Franklin D'Olier,Chairman
Paul H. Nitze,
Henry C. Alexander, Vice-Chairman
Harry L. Bowman,
J.. K. Galbraith,
Rensia Likert,
Frank A. McNamee,

page 4

Fred Searls, Jr.
Honroe E. Spaght,
Dr. Louis R. Thompson,
Theodore P. Bright, Directors.
Walter Wilds, Secretary.

The Survey's complement provided for 300 civilians, 350 officers, and 500 enlisted men. The military segment of the organization was drawn from the Army to the extent of 60 per cent, and from the Navy to the extent of 40 per cent. Both the Army and the Navy gave the Survey all possible assistance in furnishing men, supplies, transport and information. The Survey operated from headquarters established in Tokyo early in September, 1945 with sub-headquarters in Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and with mobile teams operating in other parts of Japan, the islands of the Pacific, and the Asiatic mainland.

It was possible to reconstruct much of wartime Japanese military planning and execution engagement by engagement and campaign by Campaign, and to secure reasonably accurate statistics Japan 'a economy and war - production plant by plant, and industry by industry. In addition, studies were conducted on Japan's overall strategic plans and the background of her entry into the war, the internal discussions and negotiations leading to her acceptance of unconditional

page 5

surrender, the course of health and morale among the civilian population, the effectiveness of the Japanese civilian defense organization, and the effects of the atomic bombs. Separate reports will be issued covering each phase of the study.

The Survey interrogated more than 700 Japanese military, government and industrial officials. It also recovered and translated many documents which have not only been useful to the Survey, but will also furnish data valuable for other studies.. Arrangements have been made to turn over the Survey 'a files to a permanent government agency where they will be available for further examination and distribution.

The present report was prepared by the Chairman's Office under the editorship of Commander Walter Wilds, USNR.

page 6


While the impact of allied air operations in the entire Pacific war bore directly' upon the enemy's military , and economic capabilities for resisting, only by translating these military and economic effects into political events could our announced war aim of unconditional surrender be realized. Japan 's acceptance of defeat without invasion while still possessed of two and a half million combat-equipped troops and nine thousand Kamikaze airplanes in the home is lands, reveal how persuasively the consequences of" our operations were translated into political results. The nature of Japanese politics and its vulnerability and responses to air assault constituted therefore a mayor and significant line of inquiry for the Survey.

The "political target" comprised a ganglion of Army, Navy, government and Imperial household factions which together decided mayor questions of national policy. Fortunately, most of the pertinent questions relating to how Japan was brought to acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration find their answers in the simple chronology of events which can now be narrated in some

page 7

detail for the period from the collapse of TOJ0 in July 1944, to the imperial rescript of 15 August 1945. The evidence is chiefly in the testimony obtained by Survey interrogation of the Army, Navy, government and Imperial household leaders who participated or were influential in the struggle within Japan over whether to continue the war or to accept surrender. The inquiry might have benefited from testimony of certain key figures who were not available to the Survey. TOJO, KOISO, TOGO, and a few others impounded for trial as war criminals could not be interrogated. A few, notably General ANAMI, the war minister in the SUZUKI cabinet, had committed suicide. Since the Emperor's participation in the crucial events of the period preceding surrender had been revealed and corroborated by other participants, an interview with Hirohito would not have been productive. It is felt that the general picture of the course of events would not have been changed materially had these persons been available for interrogation.

I. Some Properties of the Political Target

To assess the events of surrender requires a capsule reminder of the interrelated pressures, the interlocking mechanism of Japanese politics. The starting point is that Japan was governed largely by a consensus among the oligarchy of ruling factions at the top. No major decisions of national policy could

page 8

be reached until such a consensus had been obtained. This process inevitably took time and involved complicated pressures and struggles of will among those of differing opinions.

A flow-chart of the chief pressures would show the Lord Privy Seal (Marquis Koichi KIDO throughout the war period) 88 the Emperor's political agent, an observor and estimator of the current government 's problems and its capabilities for coping with them. To one side. clear of responsibility or authority, but in this instance with pipelines into the government which informed them of the true state of affairs, were the Senior Statesmen or Jushin. These ex-premiers could not enforce their views, but did: apply persuasive and informed pressure on the Privy Seal and other government leaders. The Jushin also had interlocking membership with the '-privy-Council which approved important decisions in foreign policy, and individual Jushin were frequently close to the Emperor, Then there was the cabinet, . Which once' formed could. perpetuate itself 80 long. as it was strong and successful. An important test of its strength and success was its' ability to absorb or modify the vies and policies of the Army and Navy, who named their own cabinet ministers, whose ministers and chiefs of staff had direct access to the Emperor, and who were influenced until the and by the fanaticism of the majority of Army officers and younger Navy officers. One important wartime innovation to this flow-chart,

page 9

the Supreme War Direction Council or Inner Cabinet, will be explained in a later section dealing with KOISO's time.

This political mechanism had several special characteristics which were peculair to out eyes and important to these events - (1) the Lord Privy Seal was the custodian of the Emperor's political powers and chief protector of the "national polity" or' Tenno system; (2) the Japanese had a fine penchant for diffusing political responsibility; (3) politicians and ardent militarists, as did the Japanese people themselves, viewed the Emperor and sacred homeland

through an emotional and reverent haze; (4) the system of government afforded enormous areas wherein personal Judgments and estimates of a small group determined ultimate policy; (5} opinions and attitudes of the general public had significance only as a single and subsidiary factor in the considerations of the leaders.

II. Behind the Collapse of TOJO

In the period between the Pearl Harbor attack and.June, 1944, Japan 'a defeats at Midway, in the Solomons, New Guinea and the Marshalls,coupled with the crippling effects of her shipping losses, produced political consequences which were apparent in frequent cabinet shuffles, TOJO's increase of personal authority through the multiple cabinet Jobs he assumed, and tightened controls intensifying the government's efforts to program military output for a protracted war. The

page 10

first definitive break in the political coalition which began the war occurred following our success at Saipan. Ten days thereafter, on 1$ July, 1944, the cabinet headed by General Hideki TOJO fell, after being continuously in office since 20 October, 1941 .

This marked a significant trim in the course of Japan's wartime politics, the importance of which in retrospect is difficult to overstress. It was not merely the result of an immediate crisis. Even at that early date, there were symptoms that opposing elements had finally found means of applying. pressure against the fanatic exponents in Japan's militarist clique. It revealed in clear trace the effective, though still undercover, intervention of factions which-had either opposed war before Pearl Harbor, or gone along or "retired" in the first phases of the conflict.

To explain the dilemmas and activities of those leaders who felt in the Spring of 1944 that Japan was facing certain defeat or at least that the time had come for positive steps to end the war, it is useful to restate briefly the basis on which Japan began the war in December, 1941. Japan entered the war securely in the hands of the radical military clique that rose to power in Manchuria and was led and symbolized by TOJO. This group had already achieved a police state and the controlling position in

page 11

Japanese policy during its uneasy coalition with the conservatives in the two preceding ANNOYS governments. It is noteworthy that the clique took Japan to car without concrete minibus or maximum objectives nor any clear conception as to how the war could be brought to a close. The decision to attack was roughly calculated as two-way gamble. If the European Axis defeated Soviet Russia, Japan world require chips to play on the winning side at the peace settlement with the United States and Britain that might well follow. On the other side, and independent of European events, a quick drive to the Southern Resources Area accompanied by a series of stunning and crippling defeats of the United States forces would redress Japan's relative strength and create a situation in Which the United States might be Willing to negotiate a peace by trading out the issues on terms favorable to Japan. Great confidence was put in the eventual superiority of Japan's fighting spirit over the potential material superiority of the United States. This calculation, Whatever its other shortcomings, obviously contained at least two serious misreadings regarding the United States, first, in failing to appreciate the tenacious and passionate finality With Which America would prosecute the war, and second, in underestimating the military importance of the enormously greater economic - potential with which the United States would create and bring

page 12

to bear a technically superior force.

The risks involved were understood an" asserted by leaders in the debates which preceded Pearl Harbor. Their original concern gave them a basis for recognizing as early as Spring, 1944 that Japan was facing ultimate defeat. By that tine United States determination to fight and her ability to mount successful thrusts in the Pacific even before opening the Second European Front, had already been demonstrated for all who knew the true situation to see. The political problem of those who saw the situation was to discover and circulate among other leaders in retirement or outside the government a true picture of the war, and then to unseat the TOJO government in favor of one which would bring the war to an end. Prime illustrations of such moves at this time were the operations of TAKAGI and SAKOMIZU.

Rear Admiral Soichi TAKAGI, woo was attached to the Ministerial Secretariat of the Naval General Staff, made a study between 20 September, 1943 and February, 1944, of the war's battle lessons up to that time. He concluded that Japan could not win and verbally presented his findings in March, 1944 to Admiral Mitsumasa YONAI and Vice-Admiral Seibi INOUYE. TAKAGI's study, interestingly enough, undertaken at the end of the second year of the war - beyond which, the Japanese Navy's top command had

page 13

estimated before hostilities, Japan could not fight a successful war. TAKAGI'S estimate was based on an analysis of fleet, air and merchant ship losses suffered to date, the serious difficulties in acquiring essential imported materials, the internal confusion in Japan, and a growing feeling among the "intelligensia" that TOJO should be let out. It seemed clear to TAKAGI that potential long-range air attacks on the home islands and Japan's inability to import essential materials for production had created a situation which dictated that Japan should seek a compromise peace. In TAKAGI'S view Japan at this time should have envisaged withdrawing from China and giving up both Korea and Formosa as part of the peace terms. His study in any case documented the fears YONAI and others held before the war and lent support to the increasing but still carefully guarded concern of their fellow Jushin that all was not well with TOJO's prosecution of the war.

Hisatsune SAKOMIZU is another early example of a connecting link between the unpleasant facts of the war and the senior statemen outside the government. As a member of the Cabinet Planning Board in 1943-1944, he had given information as to the unfavorable war situation to his father-in-law, Admiral Keisuka OKADA, who retailed it to KIDO among others.

page 14

OKADA also had word sent to TOJO that it would be best for him to resign.

All this was not only educational as to Japan's true condition, but indirectly helped to build up political pressure for the fall of TOJO. Among important examples of the way this pressure worked were: (l) TOJO 'had to reconstruct his cabinet just before the Marianas campaign (Saipan was invaded on 15 June 1944), when Shinsuka KISHI, the Commerce and Agriculture Minister, and Mamoru SHIGEMITSU, the Foreign Min- threatened to withdraw; (2) YONAI, supported by the Jushin, refused TOJO's request that he join the cabinet as minister- without portfolio; and (3) the resignation of Shigetaro SHIMADA, the Navy Minister, which helped to force out TO JO three days afterward, had been actively assisted by the senior statesmen.

These steps give the pattern of the behind- scenes talks and illustrate the combined efforts of (1) those who already knew that Japan, 'facing defeat, should save itself by accepting Allied terms, (2) those who believed Japan should take active steps to end the war, hoping ' to achieve terms better than unconditional surrender, and (3) those who realized Japan's situation was desperate, but thought improved resistance could be achieved only by dropping TOJO.

page 15

III. The KOISO Government

The loss of Saipan, followed by TOJO'S collapse, marked a mayor turning point of the war and brought forth the cabinet of Kuniaki KOISO, a retired Army general who was known as a TOJO critic. This government was a disappointment to the more zealous peacemakers and conceivably an inept choice of that ever-cautious political litmus paper, Marquis KIDO. Nevertheless, KOISO's government broke the grip of the TOJO clique as the ruling faction, took important and necessary steps toward peace, and may even have been an unavoidable step in the transition from TOJO to the surrender cabinet of Admiral SUZUKI.

When designated to succeed TOJO, KOISO received an Imperial admonition to give Japan 's situation a "fundamental reconsideration" looking to the termination of the war. If this murky injunction was intended to seek peace, it early became clear that the new government as a whole by no means understood its mission since the reconsideration resulted in a decision to continue the war with renewed vigor and further sacrifice.

At this time, in the late summer of 1944, Intensive air assault on the home islands had not yet begun. But output of a number of essential items had already passed the peak, shipping losses had reduced imports of essential materials

page 16

below the needs of the existing industrial plant capacity. Japan faced a declining output of such war necessities as aircraft, oil, transport, steel and coal. although public confidence in the war remained high, morale of the leaders and "intelligensia" wee falling, principally as knowledge of previous defeats and difficulties became more generally known to the further discredit of the military factions.

Among the first moves of the new KOISO government was the creation of the Supreme War Direction Council. On 5 August 1944, three weeks after the fall of TO JO, this new Inner Cabinet was formed. Announced purpose of the Council . wee "to formulate a fundamental policy for directing the war and to adjust the harmonization of the combined strategy for politics and warn.. It comprised six regular members--the premier, foreign minister,. army minister, navy minister, army chief of staff and n av y chief of staff--who could , however, bring in any other cabinet minister as a regular member when necessary. In addition, the two deputy chiefs of staff attended meetings but did not vote, and the Council had a secretariat. The group was formed originally as a liaison between the military and the cabinet, but its composition and dominant role made it in practice an inner war cabinet con cerned with the highest policies and plans such as measures to maintain fighting strength, central economic decisions,

page 17

whether to continue the war, etc. The agenda originated within the Council itself. Its decisions had to be ratified by the full cabinet before becoming final. It also had direct access to the Emperor and the Emperor could himself initiate meetings with the council. The Council, like the cabinet, did not work on majority votes, out on general agreement or "unity". Important issues on which unity was lacking were presented to the Emperor usually in the form of alternatives for his choice. To one acquainted with the Japanese talent for divided authority and controls, piecemeal responsibility and decisions, and considering the past failures to cope administratively with the necessities of total war, the Council may be taken as an outstanding accomplishment.

Nor is it possible to exaggerate the central importance of this committee, for certainly from early May of 1945 until the August surrender the enemy's principal problem was to give expression to its political decision to end the war. During that period the military and economic and morale effects of our operations were significant chiefly as they bore directly upon the top political decision already made and the struggle between those political leaders who had already determined to find a way out of the war and the militarists who were determined to continue it. Cumulative difficulties and defeats bred further determination among the peace seekers who increasingly opposed the

page 18

intrsnsigency of the militarists.

The Council accordingly was on one hand a symbol and test of how far Japan's original warmaking coalition had been discredited and liquidated, and on the other hand a successful reintegration of the ruling factions which could act with authority and purpose in solving their dilemma. The magnitude of this last point can' tee shown by citing the following considerations. First, the two chiefs of staff (and their deputies) who formerly had been not merely responsible for' executing operational plans but also almost autocratically capable of formulating them, were now drawn into discussions of overall national policy, matters of economic capability, the political realities, etc.; the military were finally harnessed and Joined to political, economic and civilian requirements. Second, the Council afforded a few key ministers who were determined on peace a more effective and enhanced basis for achieving it through domination ' of a small 'group, working in the greatest secrecy, with direct and official access to the Emperor.

Early in September, 1944 YONAI, who had become Vice-Premier and Navy Minister under KOISO, directed TAKAGI to resume his secret studied of-steps to got out of the war. Working With ION`; and the Navy vice- minister, Vice Admiral Seibi INOUYE, TAKAGI considered such questions as (1) how to

page 19

get Army agreement to end the war; (2) issues involved in possible Allied terms such as demands on Japan after the war, reparations, protection of the "national polity''; (3) the problem of public opinion and morale in the event of peace; (4) how to reach the Emperor and work through him to accomplish their purpose. As these studies progressed, private briefing sessions were held with Prince Fumimaro KONOYE, Kl DO , Marquis Tsuneo MATSUDAIRA, the Imperial Household Minister, OKADA, and a number of others. Sometime later Admiral Koshiro OIKAWA, the chief of naval staff, and Admiral Jisaburo OZAWA, the deputy chief of naval staff, were informed of these maneuvers. Contacts were also established with Army people. TAKAGI testified that quite a number of them were convinced and some, in fact, brought pressure upon the Army minister. This served, however, only to stiffen the Army's attitude against all peace moves and many on the Army side recanted for reasons of discipline and personal safety.

In these conversations some differences of opinion emerged as to peace terms--some favored giving up all occupied territories, whereas others thought Formosa and Korea were required for food. It was generally agreed that the only way to reach the public was through the Emperor, if conformity to a peace decision were to be secured and a possible military coup avoided. OKADA approached KIDO frequently on this

page 20

subject. TAKAGI reported that KONOYE had already made up his mind along similar lines before these talks began. TAKAGI further stated that as a result of these activities they were prepared to carry through toward peace in the face of Army opposition, if need be even to the point of withstanding revolution.

Although the peacemakers were well represented in the KOISO government, the cabinet 's decision was taken to continue and renew the war effort hoping for an improved position from which to seek a compromise peace. The validity of the peacemakers' estimates was demonstrated by further attrition of air forces and shipping, a declining basic industrial production and a seriously lowered civilian livelihood. In the meantime, the initial air raids on the Empire coupled with loss of the Philippines had a deepening effect upon these attitudes. The leaders especially feared the threat to production, the decline in public morale, and a break-up of Japan as Germany even then was breaking up.

By December 1944 private conversations among the top ruling factions, including KIDO, KONOYE, YONAI, OKAWA, Baron Kiichiro HIRANUMA, MA, etc. were addressed to problems created by urgent need for peace.. The Emperor on his own initiative in February 1945 had a series of interviews with

page 21

the senior statesmen whose consensus was that Japan faced. certain defeat and should seek peace at once.

Discussed at least, during March 1945, was the plan to initiate peace steps through the mediation of China. Prince Naruhiko HIGASHI-KUNI was the chief advocate of this scheme, and it received some consideration and support among the Jushin and at the foreign office. Choice of China as Allied negotiator was based in part on the ingenuous notion that since "she was a neighbor and fellow member of the co-prosperity sphere", her mediation would be more suitable than direct approaches to the U.S. Terms were to be based on Japan returning to her pre-1931 boundaries. There is no clear 'evidence available to the Survey as to how far the plan was carried, but what is significant here is that at least by March 1945, a specific peace overture was under cabinet discussion.

In this desperate situation, and since important elements both within the government and among the leaders outside were favoring and initiating peace moves, it is legitimate to ask why the KOISO Cabinet did not end the war in the 'Fall of 1944. Members of Japan origins *arming coalition though no longer in fall control still had great Strength within the top Army command, the middle ranks of both

page 22

services and the bureaucracy of the government. They constituted a distinct threat of revolt or a coup in the estimate of the civilian and Imperial household leaders. Certain general and psychological factors also determined the further conduct of the war and the central decision by the KOISO regime: (1) it is clear that the Japanese leaders entered the war deeply convinced that they were fighting for their very national existence and life, whereas the United States they believed was merely pressing for economic advantages and a set of principles, but not for vital security. (2) Japan had no specific plan other than negotiation for ending the war she began. A predilection for negotiation--demonstrated in terminating the Russo-Japanese war, efforts to enlist the U.S. in bringing the China Incident to a close, etc.--maintained a hope that Japan could trade it out with the Allies. (3) The Casablanca statement and the Cairo declaration setting forth Allied terms for unconditional surrender were still considered by Japan’s leaders to be just declarations, not actual final terms to be imposed. (4) The desire to save face, to preserve the Tenno system, and fear of the military and the police at this period helped the factions favoring continued resistance. (5) The information policy of minimizing U.S. successes and capabilities, while distorting their own losses and exaggerating their ability to conduct effective operations, had left the people ignorant of the fact of Japan’s actual military situation at this time. Some government factions feared internal

page 23

chaos, "communistic revolts and disorganization" if the true situation became known.

Thus so nicely balanced were the ruling factions and cliques that their interrelation conditioned the expression of policy as well as its formation, and accounts in part at least for the unusual time-lapse between the top civilian political decision to accept defeat and the final capitulation. The result in the KOISO Cabinet at least was a temporary stalemate.

The Okinawa landings on 1 April were quickly followed by KOISO’s fall on 8 April and the designation of Admiral Baron Kantaro SUZUKI as Premier.

IV. The SUZUKI Cabinet

KIDO’s estimate affords the best guide to the political situation which produced the SUZUKI government. The Lord Privy Seal stated to the Survey that Japan’s situation called for a man who could think fundamentally, had deep convictions and great personal courage. Although many among the peacemakers had long favored a stronger man than KOISO, KIDO at least was convinced that so long as Germany remained in the war Japan would be in danger of a military coup in the event firm and positive steps were taken immediately to end the war. In any case the hopes for positive steps under KOISO’s aegis were not fulfilled, primarily because he was not strong enough to stand up to the military. When SUZUKI was named Premier, KIDO

page 24

stated the question was not whether to end the war, but by what means and how quickly.

SUZUKI informed the Survey that when he assumed office "it was the Empero’s desire to make every effort to bring the war to a conclusion as quickly as possible, and that was my purpose". This created a position SUZUKI described as difficult. On the one hand he had instructions from the Emperor to arrange an end to the war; on the other hand any of those opposing this policy who learned of such peace moves would be apt to attack or even assassinate him. Thus with the general staffs, government in general and the people, he advocated increased war effort and determination to fight, whereas "through diplomacy and any other means available" he had to negotiate with other countries to stop the war.

Almost immediately, SUZUKI ordered his chief cabinet secretary, SAKOMIZU, to make a study of Japan’s fighting capabilities and whether they were sufficient to continue the war. SAKOMIZU concluded in May that Japan could not continue the war, basing his estimate on Japanese studies as to the inability to produce aircraft, losses and damage to shipping, the precarious food situation and the anti-war sentiments of the people. (A copy of this estimate came into Survey hands from YONAI in November 1945, and is appended in translation as "Survey of National Resources as of 1-10 June 1945"). SUZUKI, who agreed with the estimate, presented it to the Emperor. Concurrently he asked ex-premier

page 25

Koki HIROTA to sound out the Russian ambassador to Tokyo, MALIK, privately as to the Russian attitude toward interceding with America.

Early in May (prior to the 18th according to a statement of Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Soemu TOYODA) the Supreme War Direction Council began to discuss ways and means of ending the war. Concurrently other meetings of the Council were going on with the view of obtaining Russia’s services at an opportune time. Foreign Minister TOGO was leader of this. While HIROTA was talking with MALIK, Ambassador SATO had been instructed in Moscow to prepare the way for a Japanese emissary to discuss improvement of Soviet-Japanese relations and Russia’s intercession to end the war. Specific terms for ending the war apparently did not come up at this time, but the Council was prepared that whatever the result they "would be worse than pre-war conditions". The Potsdam declaration had not been issued, but it was felt that the Cairo declaration terms would not actually be applied; it was looked upon as a declaration only, whose terms could be reduced by negotiating and by being in a position to exact "heavy sacrifices" if the war continued.

Thus during the forepart of May two separate but interrelated topics were before the Inner Cabinet, one dealing with Japan’s inability to continue the war, the other initiating talks with Russia for intercession. Shortly after

page 26

the end of the European war, 8 May, the war minister, General Korechika ANAMI, asked the cabinet for an Imperial conference to decide the "fundamental principle of the war", that is whether to continue it. This action, while not indicating that the army was ready to quit (on the contrary the war minister and army chief of staff urged continuance of hostilities), did confirm KIDO’s belief that the Army would permit open consideration of the question within the cabinet only after Germany’s collapse. Perhaps even more important it was an affirmative test of the wisdom in selecting ANAMI as war minister. For even though he held out to the last against unconditional surrender (ANAMI committed suicide on 15 August), at no time did he obstruct the positive peace steps which were being taken by SUZUKI and the others, although by resigning he might have forced the SUZUKI government out of office. This negative support of the peace moves by certain Army leaders would have afforded an interesting line of inquiry had ANAMI et al been available to the Survey for questioning. The Navy of course was divided, with YONAI among the foremost advocates of peace and Admiral Soemu TOYODA, the navy chief of staff, siding with the Army. But TOYODA also was restrained in his opposition to cabinet peace councils; he testified that "only two persons in all of the Navy had any knowledge of

page 27

the discussions relating to intervention of Russia, the navy minister and the chief of the navy general staff. It may be (TOYODA continued) that since frequent conferences were being held some of the others high up in the Navy Ministry might have had some suspicions, and because I felt that such might be the case I stated to my deputy chief of staff that although conversations were being carried out relative to the conclusion of the war, that was not an affair with which officers should be concerned...I believe that a similar situation prevailed in the Army, that only two officials had definite knowledge of these discussions."

From June until the close of the war, the narrative of political events in Japan is clear and rather detailed from the testimony of YONAI, TOYODA, SUZUKI, UMEZU and SAKOMIZU, corroborated by KIDO, KONOYE, HIRANUMA and others. After ANAMI’s request for an Imperial conference SAKOMIZU prepared a statement for that occasion which opened by saying that the war should be "accomplished", and the Emperor’s reign and the homeland kept intact. This was followed by the details of SAKOMIZU’s estimate prepared shortly after SUZUKI assumed office. On 6 June the six regular members of the Council discussed what steps should be taken to prosecute the war. Also at the meeting were the chief cabinet secretary, the chief of the Navy’s military affairs bureau, the chief of the

page 28

Army bureau of military affairs, the head of the cabinet research bureau and the minister of agriculture and commerce. The conclusion was that unless some radical measure could be adopted to arouse the people, the nation’s war power was bound to decline very rapidly. At this session, as TOYODA explained, "no one expressed the view that we should ask for peace--when a large number of people are present it is difficult for any one member to say that we should so entreat".

On 8 June the six regular members of the Council conferred with the Emperor. The statement was read by the Emperor who made no comment at this meeting. Each of the others expressed his own official opinion, but none as yet expressed his own official opinion, but none as yet expressed his real feelings. On 20 June the Emperor on his own initiative called the six council members to a conference and stated that it was necessary to have a plan to close the war at once, as well as a plan to defend the home islands. He asked what the council thought of that idea. The prime minister, the foreign minister and the Navy minister stated that they fully concurred with the Imperial view and that such steps were then being taken to that end. Then the Emperor in turn asked when the ministers expected they would be able to send a special ambassador to Moscow. The reply was that it was uncertain but they hoped he could be sent before the Potsdam conference. SAKOMIZU testified that after this expression from the Emperor,

page 29

SUZUKI decided he could stop the war; when he returned from the conference he told SAKOMIZU "Today the Emperor said what everyone has wanted to say but yet was afraid to say".

After that the government redoubled its talks with Russia and decided to send Prince KONOYE to Moscow if he were persona grata. On 10 July the Emperor called foreign minister Shigenori TOGO and said, "As it is now early July should not our special ambassador be dispatched to Moscow without delay?" Since Soviet Ambassador Malik was ill in Tokyo and the conversations there were not progressing, SATO was again instructed to put the matter directly to the vice-commissar for foreign affairs in Moscow. Russia asked for more details concerning the mission and SATO was directed to explain the mission as follows: (1) to make an improvement in relations between Russia and Japan (in view of Russia’s denunciation of the neutrality pact), and (2) to ask Russia to intercede with the United States in order to stop the war. The Soviets replied on 13 July that since Stalin and Molotov were just leaving for Potsdam no answer could be given until their return to Moscow. On 12 July meanwhile the Emperor had called in KONOYE and secretly instructed him to accept any terms he could get and to wire these terms direct to the Emperor. KONOYE also testified that when SATO was sounding out the Russians he reported the Russians would not consider a peace role unless the terms were unconditional surrender,

page 30

and that this reply had a great influence on the Emperor.

In the days before the Potsdam Declaration, SUZUKI, TOGO AND YONAI became pessimistic about the Russian negotiations. They expected eventually that they would have some answer; but if it were unfavorable they concluded that their only recourse would be to broadcast directly to the United States.

On 26 July the Potsdam declaration was issued. In their deliberations on that statement, which began immediately, no member of the Inner Cabinet had any objections to ending the war. SUZUKI, TOGO and YONAI felt that the declaration must be accepted as the final terms of peace at once, whether they liked it or not. The War Minister and the two chiefs of staff on the other hand felt that the terms were "too dishonorable". Discussion centered around first the future position of the Emperor, second the disposition of war criminals, and third the future form of Japan’s "national polity".

On 6 August in the midst of these discussions an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Early reports to Tokyo described very great damage, but the military did not think it was an atomic bomb until President Truman’s announcement and a mission of Japanese scientists sent to Hiroshima confirmed it. On the morning of 7 August SUZUKI and TOGO conferred and then reported the news to the Emperor, stating that this was the time to accept the Potsdam

page 31

declaration. The military side still however could not make up their minds to accept it.

These differences continued to be examined and hope of favorable word from Russia had been all but abandoned when very early in the morning of 9 August the news arrived that Russia had declared war. Although considerable pessimism had prevailed regarding the outcome of the negotiations, the government was not prepared for war with the Soviets, nor the military capable of any effective counter-plan. SUZUKI calculated that he had a choice of any effective counter-plan. SUZUKI calculated that he had a choice of resigning, or taking immediate positive action which could be either declaring war on Russia and continuing until the whole nation was destroyed or accepting the Potsdam declaration. He conferred with the Emperor around 0700 and after a couple of hours decided to accept the Potsdam terms, with which decision the Emperor agreed. A meeting of the six regular members of the Supreme War Direction Council was called for 1000. After two gloomy hours it remained deadlocked as before on the two opposing opinions: (1) To accept the Potsdam declaration outright, with the understanding that it did not alter the Emperor’s legal position; (2) To accept the declaration with the following conditions: (a) that the Allied forces would not occupy the homeland; (b) that the Japanese military and naval forces abroad would be withdrawn, disarmed and demobilized by Japan itself; (c) that all war crimes should be prosecuted by the Japanese government.

page 32

SUZUKI, YONAI, and TOGO favored the first opinion, whereas ANAMI, UMEZU and TOYODA supported the second. When this three-to-three split could not be resolved, the full cabinet was called in, and after an explanation by TOGO, nine voted for unconditional acceptance, three others favored intermediate positions. After a session lasting until 2000 without achieving unity, the cabinet declared an intermission. In this impasse SUZUKI decided to request an Imperial conference for the Inner Cabinet at which the conflicting views could be presented and the Emperor’s own decision sought. At 2330 on the 9th the conference was held, with chief cabinet secretary SAKOMIZU and HIRANUMA, the privy council president, also attending. The Potsdam declaration was first read to the emperor, then TOGO expressed his opinion, followed by all of the others who stated their views. Around 0300 on the 10th SUZUKI announced (as paraphrased by SAKOMIZU’s testimony), "We have discussed this question for a long time and everyone has expressed his own opinion sincerely without any conclusion being reached. The situation is urgent, so any delay in coming to a decision should not be tolerated. I am therefore proposing to ask the Emperor his own wish and to decide the conference’s conclusion on that basis. His wish should settle the issue, and the government should follow it".

page 33

The Emperor then stated his own view (again paraphrased by SAKOMIZU), "I agree with the first opinion as expressed by the foreign minister. I think I should tell the reasons why I have decided so. Thinking about the world situation and the internal Japanese situation, to continue the war means nothing but the destruction of the whole nation. My ancestors and I have always wished to put forward the nation’s welfare and international world peace as our prime concern. To continue the war now means that cruelty and bloodshed will still continue in the world and that the Japanese nation will suffer severe damage. So, to stop the war on this occasion is the only way to save the nation from destruction and to restore peace in the world. Looking back at what our military headquarters have done, it is apparent that their performance has fallen far short of the plans expressed. I don’t think this discrepancy can be corrected in the future. But when I think about my obedient soldiers abroad and of those who died or were wounded in battle, about those who have lost their property or lives by bombing in the homeland, when I think of all those sacrifices, I cannot help but feel sad. I decided that this war should be stopped, however, in spite of this sentiment and for more important considerations".

SUZUKI then said, "The Imperial decision has been expressed. This should be the conclusion of the conference."

page 34

Immediately thereafter the full cabinet resumed its meeting and ratified unanimously a decision to accept the Potsdam terms provided they did not alter the Emperor’s prerogatives. This was cabled to the United States through the Swiss around 0700 the 10th. The U.S. reply was received from the San Francisco broadcast about 0400 on the 12th and officially about 0700 the 13th. The broadcast reply was immediately studied by the Inner Cabinet and the official documents put before the full cabinet meeting around 1300 on the 13th. Acceptance was favored by 13 ministers, but three were opposed. Early in the evening the cabinet recessed. TOYODA, the Navy chief of staff, stated the objections as follows: "On the question of the Emperor’s position, the American reply made no direct statement but did state that the powers of the Emperor and the Japanese government would be subject to the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. The main point.had to do with the Emperor’s position since it was the conviction of the Japanese people that the Emperor was a living god above whom there could be no earthly being. It was feared that the Japanese people would not readily accept the wording of the reply which placed the Emperor in a subordinate position...So the suggestion was made to query the Allied governments as to whether it would not be possible to have the orders and instruction of the Supreme Commander go directly to the Japanese government and those orders passed on by the cabinet to the Emperor who... would carry out the work connected with the termination of the war."

page 35

It is not clear whether this objection arose from a sincere endeavor to preserve the Tenno system through a typically Japanese concern with semantics, or a last-ditch effort to void the decision for peace, or fear of a military coup if the Emperor’s position were not meticulously preserved. In any case, it is significant that the two chiefs of staff refused that evening to sign the document, with the premier, which was required for the government to request a conference with the Emperor. The two chiefs of staff stayed up all night with the foreign minister, pressing him to ask the American government for a more "exact" answer. The foreign minister refused, insisting that it would be construed as a refusal of the term offered and thus disrupt the slim string of communications between the two countries. The next morning, about 0800 the 14th, SUZUKI decided to go to the Emperor privately and ask him to call an Imperial conference, which the Emperor could do at any time, but the government could not without the consent of the two chiefs of staff.

The terminal conference was held before the Emperor at 1000. Present were the 16 cabinet ministers, the two chiefs of staff, HIRANUMA representing the privy council, the chiefs of the bureaus of military and naval affairs, and the chief cabinet secretary, SAKOMIZU. SUZUKI announced that the Emperor had called the meeting to consider the American reply in his presence,

page 36

so that everyone who had an opinion should express it freely. ANAMI, UMEZU and TOYODA stated that the American reply was insufficient, that they favored asking again for a more concrete answer, or if that were impossible the war should be continued. All the others favored acceptance. Then the Emperor, as quoted by SAKOMIZU, said, "It seems to me that there is no other opinion to support your side (the military’s). I shall explain mine. I hope all of you will agree with my opinion. My opinion is the same as the one I expressed the other night. The American answer seems to me acceptable." He then asked the government to draft an Imperial Rescript to stop the war, and offered to broadcast the decision to the people. The cabinet returned to their office and formally accepted unconditional surrender.

V. The Political Target under Assault

From the foregoing calendar it remains first to outline the nature of the political target presented by Japan and second to assess various factors which contributed to the success of the assault on the enemy’s will to resist.

A. To those who thought of Japanese resistance as typified by a fanatical Japanese soldier who fought until rooted out of his last-ditch foxhole, the possibility of forcing a surrender appeared to be remote. Our aim in the Pacific war was, nevertheless, to induce responsible Japanese leaders to

page 37

admit defeat. Compelling such an admission at the earliest moment constituted the objective of our attack.

In total war the nature of the political target is linked to the political structure and the spirit of the enemy. In the case of Japan that spirit differed as between the general populace and the top ruling elements. This separation of public from leaders was an important consideration. Japan had long been conditioned to oligarchic rule. Rigid police controls allowed the ideas and spirit of the leaders to form separately from those of the people. Popular morale therefore became just another factor in the reckonings of the ruling group. At the war’s opening and throughout its early stages, the spirit of both leaders and people was chauvinistic, aggressive, expansionist. After the defeats at Midway, Port Moresby and Guadalcanal, Japan went on the strategic defensive. Though her advance had been stemmed, she had won an empire and needed only to consolidate her conquest. Thereafter, under the pressure of our counteroffensive which eventually exposed her home islands to direct attack, seriously reduced her fleet and air forces, and blockaded her already inadequate economy, the early hope of victory was replaced by fear of defeat. Finally, a desperate determination to resist remained.

Japan’s will to resist, the prime objective of our assault, was supported mainly by military potential, production

page 38

potential, morale of the people, and such political considerations of the leadership as the preservation of the Tenno system, etc. So long as these factors supported resistance they operated, of course, as impediments to surrender. Thus affecting the determination of Japan’s leaders to continue the war was not alone the actual loss of an air force capable of defending the home islands, but the loss of hope that this air force could be replaced, let alone enlarged. It was not necessary for us to burn every city, to destroy every factory, to shoot down every airplane or sink every ship, and starve the people. It was enough to demonstrate that we were capable of doing all this - that we had the power and the intention of continuing to the end. In this fashion, those responsible for the decision to surrender felt the twin-impact of our attack which made them not only impotent to resist, but also destroyed any hope of future resistance.

The will of the political leaders to resist collapsed well before the will of the people as a whole. The leaders were, however, unwilling to move too far in advance of public opinion. At the time of surrender, even though there was little pressure toward surrender from the people, their confidence in victory had been thoroughly undermined and they accepted the Imperial rescript, perhaps with surprise, but not with active resistance as some of the leaders had feared.

page 39

One further point should be developed and stressed here. The political objective which existed in Japan lay exposed and vulnerable to air attack, which fact goes far toward explaining the true basis for unconditional surrender without invasion of the home islands. That vulnerability to air attack derived in part from the basic character of the war in its decisive phases. It turned out to be essentially a war to win air control over the Japanese homeland. This concept was not merely central to much of the strategy guiding our operations, but was thoroughly understood and feared by an effective sector of Japanese leaders who sought and achieved political power to terminate the war. By the Summer and Fall of 1944, and throughout the remainder of the war, the validity of their fear was being persuasively demonstrated by the application of our air power in its several roles. Loss of fleet and air forces, without which, as the leaders knew, no effective defense could be mounted, was almost entirely the result of our air superiority. Vital perimeter bases were lost when our air forces neutralized them, sealed off both air and sea reinforcement, and gave direct local support to our occupying operations. Japan’s limited war production, already starved for materials through shipping lost to our submarines, was further depleted by air interdiction of sea communications as new bases eventually permitted almost complete blockade day and

page 40

night. Heavy bomber and carrier raids against cities, military and industrial installations, further depleted her remaining resources, productivity and transport, lowered morale, and brought the true war situation home to the Japanese people. Thus the Japanese leaders lost both power and hope of resistance as our air weapons exploited air control over the home islands.

B. By relating them to the narrative set forth in the first sections of this report, it is possible to treat separately the principal contributions to surrender made by various factors which bore on the terminal events of the war.

1. Blockade of Japan’s sea communications exploited the basic vulnerability of an island enemy which, with inherently second-power resources, was struggling to enlarge its capabilities by milking the raw materials of a rich conquered area. Acute dependence upon imports of such basic items as oil, iron ore, coal, bauxite, food, etc., caused Japan’s shipping position even in the Fall of 1941 to appear deficient to several members of the Jushin, whose opinions were declared to TOJO before the Pearl Harbor attack. These fears were well-founded, at least for long-term fighting, since Japan began the war with 6,000,000 tons of merchant shipping, which were barely sufficient for estimated minimum requirements. Her capacity to build was quickly exceeded by losses. Eighty-eight per cent

page 41

of Japan’s total merchant shipping available during the war was sunk. U.S. submarines sank 55 per cent of the total lost. Our Navy and Army air forces made important contributions by sinking 40 per cent of Japan’s total shipping lost, by interdiction of sea routes, and by an aerial mining program carried out by B-29s in the last months of the war which sealed off the vital Inland Sea and disrupted every major home island port. The blockade prevented exploitation of conquered resources, kept Japan’s economy off balance, created shortages of materials which in turn limited war production, and deprived her of oil in amounts sufficient to immobilize fleet and air units and to impair training. These effects were intimately associated with the political conditions culminating in the fall of TOJO. The direct military and economic limitations imposed by shortages created virtually insoluble political as well as economic problems in attempting to achieve war production adequate for the defense of Japan. The special feeling of vulnerability to blockade, to which a dependent island people are ever subject, increased and dramatized, especially to the leaders, the hopelessness of their position and favored the growing conviction that the defeat was inevitable.

2. While the blockade was definitive in strangling Japan’s war mobilization and production, it cannot be considered separately from the pressure of our concurrent military operations,

page 42

with which it formed a shears that scissored Japan's military potential into an ineffectual remnant. In the early engagements that stemmed the Japanese advance and in the subsequent battle for bases, the application of our air power against vital forces which Japan committed piecemeal in defense of these perimeter positions enabled us largely to destroy her navy and reduce her air forces to impotence before the home islands could be brought under direct air attack. Throughout these operations we were employing air power effectively and potently in ways the Japanese leaders understood and feared, and had no adequate defense to withstand. Although a core of bitter-end resistance lay in Japan's army and navy until the Imperial rescript was signed, it should be noted that TOJO's collapse and the introduction of peace-making factions into the succeeding KOISO government quickly followed the loss of Saipan in July 1944. Also, after the costly and vitiating defeats in the Pa vuaus, Philippines and at Iwo Jima, KOISO was in turn succeeded shortly after our Okinawa landings of 1 April 1945 by the SUZUKI cabinet, which was formed with the specific mandate to terminate the war. In these campaigns, dictated by our need for air mastery and won by immediate air control, while Japan's loss of effective naval and land- based air forces was overwhelming, her military attrition was not complete, since our operations used up by no means all of her ground and Kamikaze forces. Japan's principal land armies were in fact never defeated, a consideration

page 43

which also supported the military’s continued last-ditch resistance to the surrender decision. It nevertheless appears that after the loss of the Marianas in July-August, 1944 the military commands, though unconvinced of final victory, viewed defense against our subsequent operations as affording an opportunity for only a limited success, a tactical victory which might, so they hoped, have created a purchase from which to try for a negotiated peace under terms more favorable than unconditional surrender.

3. Fear of home island bombing was persuasive to the political leaders even before its direct effects could be felt. News of the B-29 and its intended capabilities reached Japan in 1943. B-29 raids on Kyushu and Southern Honshu targets began from China bases on 15 June 1944. With the loss of Saipan in early July, 1944, many leaders became wholly convinced of Japan’s eventual defeat, one factor being that from Marianas bases the homeland would be brought under the kind of intensive, shattering air assault even than being administered to their German partner. The timing of the strategic bombing attack affected its role in the surrender decision. After the Marianas were lost but before the first attacks were flown in November, 1944 TOJO had been unseated and peace-makers introduced into the government as prominent elements. The war economy had already passed its peak, fleet

page 44

and air forces had been critically weakened, confidence of the "intelligensia" in the government and the military had been deflated, and confidence of the people in eventual victory was weakening. By mid-1944 shortages of food and civilian supplies were reflected in reduced living standards. Therefore the actual destruction wrought by strategic bombing assumed the role of an accelerator, to assist and expedite forces already in motion. It added a tremendous quantitative weight to those forces. Since the means of resisting direct air attacks had already been largely destroyed, it represented the full exploitation of air control by an air weapon. These attacks became definitive in the surrender decision because they broadened the realization of defeat by bringing it home to the people and dramatized to the whole nation what the small peace party already knew. They proved day in and day out, and night after night, that the United States did control the air and could exploit it. They lowered morale by demonstrating the disadvantages of total war directly, added a vital increment of both actual and clearly foreseeable future production loss by both precision and area attacks, and applied pressure on the surrender decision by eliminating the hope of successful final resistance.

4. When Japan was defeated without invasion, a recurrent question arose as to what effect the threat of

page 45

a home island invasion had had upon the surrender decision. It was contended that the threat of invasion, if not the actual operation, was a requirement to induce acceptance of the surrender terms. On this tangled issue the evidence and hindsight are clear. The fact is, of course, that Japan did surrender without invasion, and with its principal armies intact. Testimony before the Survey shows that the expected "violation of the sacred homeland" raised few fears which expedited the decision to surrender beforehand. Government and Imperial household leaders felt some concern for the "destruction of the Japanese people", but the people were already being shattered by direct air attacks. Anticipated landings were even viewed by the military with hope that they would afford a means of inflicting casualties sufficiently high to improve their chances of a negotiated peace. Preparation of defenses against landings diverted certain resources from dispersal and cushioning moves which might have partially mitigated our air blows. But in Japan’s then depleted state, the diversion was not significant. The responsible leaders in power read correctly the true situation and embraced surrender well before invasion was expected.

5. So long as Germany remained in the war that fact contributed to the core of Japanese resistance. Slight

page 46

evidence exists that some hope was held for a long-promised German miracle weapon. A telegram received on 6 May in the German embassy at Tokyo revealed that Hitler was dead, the promised new weapon had failed to materialize and that Germany would surrender within a matter of hours. KIDO believed, presumably on Japanese Army representations, that the Army would not countenance peace moves so long as Germany continued to fight. It is not clear whether this was a facesaving position, designed to avoid a prior Japanese surrender. In any case on 9 May 1945, immediately after the Nazi capitulation, General ANAMI, the War Minister, asked the cabinet for an Imperial conference to reconsider the war situation. The significant fact, however, is that Japan was pursuing peace before the Nazis collapsed, and the impoverishment and fragmentation of the German people had already afforded a portent of similar consequences for an intransigent Japan.

6. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs did not defeat Japan, nor by the testimony of the enemy leaders who ended the war did they persuade Japan to accept unconditional surrender. The Emperor, the lord privy seal, the prime minister, the foreign minister and the navy minister had decided as early as May of 1945 that the war should be ended even if it meant acceptance of defeat on allied terms.

page 47

The war minister and the two chiefs of staff opposed unconditional surrender. The impact of the Hiroshima attack was to bring further urgency and lubrication to the machinery of achieving peace, primarily by contributing to a situation which permitted the prime minister to bring the Emperor overtly and directly into a position where his decision for immediate acceptance of the Potsdam declaration could be used to override the remaining objectors. Thus, although the atomic bombs changed no votes of the Supreme War Direction Council oncerning the Potsdam terms, they did foreshorten the war and expedite the peace.

Events and testimony which support these conclusions are blue-printed from the chronology established in the first sections of this report.

a. The mission of the SUZUKI government, appointed 7 April 1945, was to make peace. The position of negotiating for terms less onerous than unconditional surrender was maintained in order to contain the military and bureaucratic elements still determined on a final Bushido defense, and perhaps even more importantly to obtain freedom to create peace with a minimum of personal danger and internal obstruction. It seems clear however that in extremis the peacemakers would have peace, and peace on any terms. This was the gist of advice given to Hirohito by the Jushin in February, the declared conclusion of KIDO in April, the underlying reason for KOISO’s fall in April, the specific injunction of the Emperor

page 48

to SUZUKI on becoming premier which was known to all members of his cabinet.

b. A series of conferences of the Supreme War Direction Council before Hirohito on the subject of continuing or terminating the war began on 8 June and continued through 14 August. At the 8 June meeting the war situation was reviewed. On 20 June the Emperor, supported by the premier, foreign minister and Navy minister, declared for peace; the army minister and the two chiefs of staff did not concur. On 10 July the Emperor again urged haste in the moves to mediate through Russia, but Potsdam intervened. While the government still awaited a Russian answer, the Hiroshima bomb was dropped on 6 August.

c. Consideration of the Potsdam terms within the Supreme War Direction Council revealed the same three-to-three cleavage which first appeared at the Imperial conference on 20 June. On the morning of 9 August Premier SUZUKI and Hirohito decided at once to accept the Potsdam terms; meetings and moves thereafter were designed to legalize the decision and prepare the Imperial rescript. At the conclusive Imperial conference, on the night of 9-10 August, the Supreme War Direction Council still split three-to three. It was necessary for the Emperor finally to repeat his desire for acceptance of the Potsdam terms.

page 49

d. Indubitably the Hiroshima bomb and the rumor derived from interrogation of an American prisoner (B-29 pilot) who stated that an atom bomb attack on Tokyo was scheduled for 12 August introduced urgency in the minds of the government and magnified the pressure behind its moves to end the war.

7. The sequence of events just recited also defines the effect of Russia's entry into the Pacific war on 8 August 1945. Coming two days after the Hiroshima bomb, the move neither defeated Japan nor materially hastened the acceptance of surrender nor changed the votes of the Supreme War Direction Council. Negotiation for Russia to intercede began the forepart of May 1945 in both Tokyo and Moscow. KONOYE, the intended emissary to the Soviets, stated to the Survey that while ostensibly he was to negotiate, he received direct and secret instructions from the Emperor to secure peace at any price, notwithstanding its severity. SAKOMIZU, the chief cabinet secretary, alleged that while awaiting the Russian answer on mediation, SUZUKI and TOGO decided that were it negative direct overtures would be made to the United States. Efforts toward peace through the Russians, forestalled by the imminent departure of Stalin and Molotov for Potsdam, were answered by the Red Army's advance into Manchuria. The Kwantung army, already weakened by diversion of its units

page 50

and logistics to bolster island defenses in the South and written off for the defense of Japan proper, faced inescapable defeat.

There is little point in attempting more precisely to impute Japan’s unconditional surrender to any one of the numerous causes which jointly and cumulatively were responsible for Japan’s disaster. Concerning the absoluteluteness of her defeat there can be no doubt. The time lapse between military impotence and political acceptance of the inevitable might have been shorter had the political structure of Japan permitted a more rapid and decisive determination of national policies. It seems clear, however, that air supremacy and its exploitation over Japan proper was the major factor which determined the timing of Japan’s surrender and obvitated any need for invasion.

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

page 51

AS OF 1-10 JUNE 1945

The following is a translation of the Japanese estimate prepared for the pre-surrender deliberations of the cabinet, and referred to on page 19 of this report.

page 52


A. General

The ominous turn of the war, coupled with the increasing tempo of air raids is bringing about great disruptrion of land and sea communications and essential war production. The food situation has worsened. It has become increasingly difficult to meet the requirements of total war. Moreover, it has become necessary to pay careful attention to the trends in public sentiment.

B. National Trends in General

Morale is high, but there is dissatisfaction with the present regime. Criticisms of the government and the military are increasing. The people are losing confidence in their leaders, and the gloomy omen of deterioration of public morale is present. The spirit of public sacrifice is lagging and among leading intellectuals there are some who advocate peace negotiations as a way out. It is necessary at this time to make careful preparations to cope with public reactions in case the Okinawa campaign results in a disaster and to provide proper indoctrination against such an eventuality. Moreover, it is to be expected that in the future the enemy’s psychological warfare will intensify.

page 53

C. Manpower

1. As compared with material resources, there is a relative surplus of manpower, but there is no efficient exploitation of it. Although distribution and mobilization of manpower do not respond to shifting of production, there is still room for increasing war potential depending on its efficient application. On the other hand, the case of military mobilization does not permit optimism.

2. The physical standard and birth rate of the people are on the down grade.


a. Surplus manpower

Industry - 2,000,000

Commerce - 500,000

Others - 500,000

There is a reverse of 3,000,000. At present effort is being made to apply this surplus to agriculture and transportation where shortages exist.

b. Mobilization and distribution of manpower

Workers available for various industries in December 1944 (between the ages of 16 to 60):

Male - 20,300,000

Female - 24,000,000

Total - 44,300,000 (37,500,000 already engaged in industries and armed forces)

page 54

c. Rate of population increase per 1000

After 1940, there is a yearly increase of approximately 1,000,000.

1940 - 12.7

1941 - 15.2

1942 - 14.2

1943 - 13.8

1944 - Figures unknown. It is estimated that since birth rate decreased and infant morality increased, the figure is lower than that of the previous year.

C. Transportation and Communications

1. Transportation and Shipping

The volume of available shipping space was sharply reduced and at present comes to a total of one million tons. Transportation is faced with insurmountable difficulties because of fuel shortages, mounting fury of enemy attacks on our lines of communication, and insufficient manpower in cargo handling.

The question of whether or not we can maintain communication with the continent will greatly depend upon the results of the Okinawa campaign. If the campaign turns to our disadvantage, we cannot hope to maintain planned communication after June. For the same reason, the cargo-carrying capacity of vessels will drastically decrease.

page 55

Notes: Shipping

Dec 1941 – 5,500,000 gross tons

Dec 1942 – 4,600,000 "
Dec 1943 – 3,700,000 "
Jul 1944 – 3,100,000 "
Apr 1945 – 1,250,000 "

Actual Losses

Previous average – 7 to 10 per cent

This year – 23 per cent

2. Transportation and railways

Transport capacity of the railways will drop to half that of the previous year due to the intensified enemy air attack and our inability to maintain construction and repairs on an efficient level. It is feared that railway transportation will become confined to local areas, especially after the middle of this year.

Shuttle transports (trucks, wagons, etc) and cargo handling here become the bottleneck of land and sea transportation, because of the scarcity of fuel and labor.

Notes: Railway Transport Capacity

1941 – 150,000,000 tons
1942 – 160,000,000 "
1943 – 180,000,000 "
1944 – 190,000,000 "
1945 - 90,000,000 " (projected)

page 56

3. Communications

Maintenance of communication will be exceedingly difficult after the middle of this year, because of enemy air raid damage and shortages of materials and personnel.

E. Material Resources

1. Steel

Shipping of iron ore has become difficult. The total production is about one-fourth that of the same period of the previous year. Construction of steel ships cannot be expected after mid-year. Even a shift to the use of existing materials would mean overcoming numerous obstacles before the plan could be executed.

Notes: Steel Production

1941 – 4,200,000 tons
1942 – 4,100,000 "
1943 – 4,200,000 "
1944 – 2,700,000 "
1945 - 270,000 " (projected for first quarter)

2. Coal

Accompanying the increasing severity of air raids and reduction in transport capacity and production, there is a strong possibility that a considerable portion of the various industrial areas will have to suspend operation for lack of coal.

3. Industrial salts

Shipping from the continent has decreased and production

page 57

of chemicals, which is dependent on soda, is falling off at an alarming rate. After the middle of this year, we will be confronted with a shortage of basic salts. For this reason, not only will there be difficulty in producing light metals and synthetic oil, but also in producing explosives.

Notes: In the first quarter of 1945, the objective was to obtain 460,000 tons, but the actual result was approximately 40 per cent.

Aluminum Production

1941 – 73,000 tons
1942 - 110,000 "
1943 - 140,000 "
1944 – 110,000 "
1945 - 9,000 "

4. Liquid fuel

Hearafter Japan, Manchuria and China will have to depend upon their own sources for fuel oil. With oil reserves on the verge of exhaustion and the delay in plans for increased output of oil, we are faced with an extreme shortage of aviation fuel. This, of course, will have a serious effect on the planning of future operations, especially after the mid-year.

page 58


Production (unit – 1000 K1) Storage (unit – 1000 Kl)

[Please see document for table]

5. Modern weapons with aircraft as nucleus

It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain production of aircraft due to the ever increasing tempo of air raids, the destruction of transportation systems and production facilities, and the lack of raw materials and fuels.

Notes: Production of Aircraft

1944 – monthly production – 2,230
1945 – April – 1,800
1945 – May – 1,600

F. National Living Conditions

1. Foodstuffs

The food situation has grown worse and a crisis will be

page 59

reaches at the end of this year. The people will have to get along on an absolute minimum of rice and salt required for subsistence, considering the severity of air raids, difficulties in transportation, and the appearance of starvation conditions in the isolated sections of the nation. It is apparent that the food situation will become further aggravated this year.

2. Living conditions

From now n prices will rise sharply bringing on inflation which will seriously undermine the wartime economy.

Notes: Anticipated supply and demand of rice for 1945 (estimate made 1 – 10 June)

TN: 1 koku = 4.96 bushels

a. Estimated supply, Japan proper – 77,165,000 koku

b. Estimated demand – 84,258,000 koku

c. Estimated imports from Manchuria and Korea – 4,250,000 koku. (It will become increasingly difficult to realize this figure, depending upon air raids.)

Deficiencies will be alleviated with military rice and by placing restriction on rice distributions.