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The Asia-Pacific War – a term in use since the mid-1960s – started with the invasion of Manchuria (known as the Manchurian Incident) of 1931 and included the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Pacific War (1941-1945). In December 1945, an order of the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Allied Forces replaced the designation “Greater East Asian War” with “Pacific War.” In the middle of the 1960s, prominent Japanese historians began to reassess the period of “war,” extending it from the four-year Pacific War (1941-1945) to the 15-year Asia-Pacific War, in order to draw attention to the casualties such as the “Nanking Massacre.”
After 1931, the Japanese military established a puppet regime in Manchuria (1932-1945). Pu Yi, the twelfth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, became emperor in 1934, though Manchuria was actually controlled by the Japanese military. In response to the disapproval of the League of Nations concerning Japan’s control of Manchuria, Japan withdrew from the League in 1933 and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany in 1936. The 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident escalated into the full-scale Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). In 1940, Japan concluded the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, cementing the Axis alliance, and in April 1941 Japan signed a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, landed on the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines, and declared war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Japan then quickly established the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere by conquering a large part of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Burma, and the Philippines. However, after the defeat at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 and the campaign for Guadalcanal from August 1942 to February 1943, Japan had tremendous difficulty defending its huge occupied territory against the U.S. counterattacks. The U.S. military won the Pacific battles of Impal, Saipan, Leyte, Luzon and Iwo Jima. Furthermore, in 1944 the Americans began bombing major cities in Japan, including Tokyo on March 10, 1945. On April 1, 1945, American forces landed at Okinawa, conquering it by July 2. On July 27, 1945, the Potsdam Declaration called for Japan’s unconditional surrender to the United States, Great Britain and China. Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and on Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet Union declared war against Japan on August 8. Finally, in the Supreme War Leadership Council Meeting, Emperor Hirohito cast the deciding vote to accept Japan’s defeat. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered and World War II was over.
The “Greater East Asian War” (1941-45) mobilized 7,700,000 soldiers and civilian employees for 101 months at a cost of 222 billion yen, more than 70 percent of the entire national budget (Bōei 1991:376-378). All Japanese men underwent inspection for the draft at the age of 20 and were sorted into five classes (A-class, B-class, C-class, failed class, and unclear). During peacetime some of the A-class draftees were taken into the military for two years through a lottery. In 1939, after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the lottery was abolished, and all A-class draftees were recruited into active duty, serving two years in the army or three years in the navy. All Japanese men had an obligation to serve the military until age 40 (or 45, after the revision at the end of 1943). Men who had already completed their service could be called up again until 40 (or 45). Furthermore, volunteer soldiers between the ages of 14 and 21 years old received special military training and were sent to battlefields.
At the end of the war, the Japanese Army had approximately 5.47 million soldiers and army civilian employees, including 2.388 million in Japan, 88,000 stationed on Sakhalin and the Kurili Islands, 169,000 in Taiwan (Formosa) and the southwestern islands, 294,000 in Korea, 664,000 in the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, 1,056,000 in China, 744,000 in the South, and 70,000 in the Rabaul area. The Japanese Navy had 2.43 million soldiers and naval civilian employees, including 1.97 million in Japan, 3,000 on Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands, 12,000 on the southwestern islands, 42,000 in Korea, 63,000 in Taiwan, 71,000 in China and Hong Kong, 59,000 in the central Pacific Ocean, 30,000 in the Philippines, 61,000 in French Indochina and Malay areas, 52,000 in southern area such as Java and Borneo, and 56,000 in the southeast, including New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. These numbers also included approximately 242,000 Korean and 207,000 Taiwanese soldiers and army/naval civilian employees (Kōseishō 1978:46-47, 60, 74).
The emperor ordered the demobilization of the military on August 25, 1945. The demilitarization of soldiers inside Japan took two months. It is estimated that 6.6 million Japanese soldiers, civilian employees and general public were living overseas at the end of the war. By May 1950, approximately 6.25 million of these people had returned to Japan. Of the 340,000 who did not come back, many had died in the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea. After the restoration of group repatriation from the Soviet Union, China and North Korea following March 1953, 71,000 had not returned by April 1954. Thereafter, all except 2,496 eventually returned, as of 1976 (Kōseishō 1978:173).
By August 1945, 1.55 million Japanese civilians were living in Manchuria. When the Soviet Union advanced into Manchuria on August 9, 1945, many Japanese males were conscripted for the battle against the Soviet Union. After June 1945, approximately 150,000 male residents had been conscripted into the Kwantung Army. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, during the war between the Soviet Union and Japan, the casualties among Japanese soldiers, civilian employees and the general public amounted to 60,000 deaths in Manchuria and 5,000 deaths in Sakhalin and on the Kurile Islands; after the war, another 185,000 Japanese in Manchuria, 28,000 in northern Korea, and 10,000 in Sakhalin and on the Kurile Islands were slaughtered by the local Chinese and the Red Army (Nakayama 2000:263). Another 700,000 were captured and sent to Siberia and Outer Mongolia for forced labor, where more than 50,000 died of starvation, cold and overwork (Ienaga 1986:295).
By June 1946, 1.05 million soldiers and army civil employees and 480,000 Japanese nationals in China had returned to Japan. There was confusion and disorder in China because of the conflicts between the National Party and the Communist Party. In Shanxi and other provinces, Japanese soldiers had been mobilized for the National Party military, and more than 1,500 died after the war (Fujiwara 1991:161). At the end of the war, 500,000 Japanese stayed in South Korea, 270,000 Japanese stayed in North Korea, and 120,000 Japanese refugees from Manchuria were in Korea. Including the refugees from Manchuria, an estimated 25,000 died (Takahashi, S. 2002:192). By the end of 1947, the soldiers from the South – Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Burma, New Guinea and Pacific Islands – returned to Japan.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, during World War II, 3.1 million Japanese perished, including 2.3 million soldiers, army/naval civilian employees and semi-civilian employees, 300,000 Japanese civilians outside Japan and 500,000 Japanese civilians inside Japan (Kōseishō 1978:311). The total number includes approximately 50,000 former Japanese citizens: Koreans and Taiwanese (Fujiwara 2001:132).
The majority of Japanese soldiers did not die from battle wounds but from malnutrition and starvation. Japanese soldiers had been trained not to become prisoners of war. In 1941, War Minister Tōjō Hideki declared, “One should not live under the shame of [being] a POW.” The lack of transportation of supplementary materials and the prohibition against becoming prisoners of war caused thousands of deaths from starvation. Out of 157,646 Japanese troops sent to eastern New Guinea, only 10,072 survived to the end of the war, yielding a mortality rate of 94 percent. The majority died of starvation and diseases (Tanaka 1996:130).
In Japan, air raids by American B-29 planes attacked 99 cities and 13 towns all over Japan. The Tokyo Massive Air Raids on March 10, 1945 caused 100,000 deaths. The death toll inflicted by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima amounted to 119,000 deaths within five years, and the atomic bomb in Nagasaki was responsible for 74,000 deaths within five years. The Battle of Okinawa cost 188,000 lives, 66,000 of whom were soldiers (Asahi 1985:1-6; Hamashima 1999:165-166).
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Japan forced Korea to conclude an unequal Japan-Korea Treaty of Amity in 1876 that opened Korea to the outside world. Japan’s victory over China in the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War forced China to recognize the independence of Korea in the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki. In 1905, the Portsmouth Treaty following Japan’s victory in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War required Russia to recognize Japan’s right to guide, protect, and supervise Korea. In 1905, Japan concluded the second Korean-Japanese Convention, which allowed Japan to control Korea’s foreign affairs. Japan established the Office of the Resident-General in Hansung (now Seoul). In 1910, Japan formally annexed Korea, and its 13 million people and established the Government-General of Korea.
A Japanese military government initially controlled Korea and conducted the 1911-18 Land Survey Project. Many farmers did not apply for their own lands because they were afraid of being taxed, so they were exploited by landlords and local authorities. As a result, the landlords, 3.3 percent of all farmers, owned 50.4 percent of all agricultural lands, and many farmers were made into peasants. Peasants were forced to turn over 50 percent to 70 percent of their harvests to landlords. As a result, many left farming and became unskilled workers (Suh 1999:77-78).
On March 1, 1919, the 3.1 Korean Independent Resistance Movement started, and prevailed nationwide in Korea. By May 1919, it was quelled by the Japanese military, with 7,500 deaths and 40,000 arrests. Afterwards, Japan loosened its strict militaristic control and shifted its policy to an indirect cultural way of reign. Koreans were given equal rights of citizenship, such as voting rights. The cultural assimilation policies encouraged primary education, in order to teach Korean schoolchildren about Japanese language and culture, and promoted loyalty to the Japanese emperor. The school attendance rate rose from 3 percent in 1920 to 25 percent in 1935, and to 50 percent in 1943 (Oguma 1998).
Korea, with a population of 21 million in the mid-1930s, was controlled by nearly a quarter of million Japanese administrators, technicians and military personnel (Weiner 1994:39). Many Japanese also migrated into colonized Korea; 20,000 Japanese people lived there in 1900, 500,000 in 1930, and 690,000 in 1940 (Yamawaki 1994:282). Especially after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the assimilation policies were strengthened in the name of the “unity of Japan and Korea” and “becoming imperial citizens.” In 1938, Korean schools began using the same curriculum as the one used in Japanese schools in Japan. The students visited Japanese shrines and declared their loyalty to the Japanese emperor. In 1939, changing Korean names into Japanese names was highly recommended, and almost 80 percent of Korean families changed their surnames into Japanese names (Lee 1997:109).
After the colonization of Korea in 1910, many male workers from rural areas entered Japan in hopes of escaping the poverty in their homeland. They took low-paid, manual labor jobs in small factories, mines, or at construction sites, mainly in the Kansai areas near Osaka and the western part of Japan, and were integrated into the lowest strata of the working class in Japan. The number of Korean migrants in Japan increased greatly over two decades, from 40,755 in 1920 to 419,009 in 1930 and to 1,241,315 in 1940 (Hatano et al. 2000:49).
When the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) started, Koreans were recruited as interpreters and drivers. Then, under the 1938 Recruit of Volunteer Korean Army Soldiers and the 1943 Recruit of Volunteer Korean Navy Soldiers, many Koreans in Korea, as well as in Japan, served as soldiers and army/naval civil employees. With the introduction of conscription in 1944, many Koreans in Korea and Japan were drafted. Koreans living in Japan were mainly recruited through the Korean Association in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 116,294 Korean soldiers and 126,047 army/naval civilian employees participated in the war, with 22,182 deaths by war (Utsumi 2002:38).
As the fighting in China intensified, “voluntary” recruitment of Korean laborers began in 1939. Korean workers were “voluntarily” recruited for coal and metal mining, construction, the steel and chemical industries, general transportation, and aircraft manufacturing by Japanese companies from 1939 to 1941, and by the government-assistance agencies from 1942 to 1944. Many of the recruits were sent to mining sites, construction sites, and factories in Japan. The deployment of Korean workers from 1939 to 1945 amounted to 667,684. Koreans in Japan since 1943 and Koreans in Korea since 1944 were subject to labor conscription. This forced draft brought 280,304 Korean workers from Korea to Japan in 1944 (Suh 1999:91). The number of Koreans in Japan increased from 1,241,315 in 1940 (Hatano et al. 2000:49) to 1,936,843 in December 1944 (Morita 1996:71).
The Japanese government ruled Taiwan for sixty years, from its victory in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 until 1945. During the Pacific War, the Taiwanese were recruited as Volunteer Army Soldiers for Japan in 1942 and conscripted in 1945. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 80,433 Taiwanese soldiers and 126,750 army/naval civilian employees participated in the war; 30,306 died (Utsumi 2002:38).
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After winning the Sino-Japanese War in 1885, the Japanese government started advancing inside China, which at that time was still ruled by the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Under the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan seized the Liaodong Peninsula; however, the Tripartite Intervention by Germany, France and Russia forced Japan to return it to China. During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, Russia took control of Manchuria. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the 1905 Portsmouth Treaty gave Japan leasing rights to Port Arthur and Dalian and the rights to the Southern Manchurian Railway. Japan invested in the development of Manchuria, and founded the Southern Manchuria Railway Company in 1906. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Russia withdrew from Manchuria. During World War I, Japan occupied Qingdao, Germany’ base in China, and gained a lease right of Shandong Province under the Versailles Treaty in 1919 (returned it to China in 1922).
In January 1912, Sun Yat-sen, along with Yuan Shin-kai, military authority of the Qing Dynasty, established the Republic of China in Nanking and forced the emperor to abdicate, thus ending the Qing Dynasty’s rule. Yuan Shin-kai became the first president of the Republic of China in April 1912. He moved the seat of government to Beijing and governed as dictator until his death in 1916. Then, the military clique regained power and governed China separately.
In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was founded in Shanghai. In 1924, the Chinese People’s Party under Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Communist Party ratified the first united front (1924-1927), in order to fight against foreign powers, as well as the military clique, for ethnic independence and people’s revolution. After the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, General Chiang Kai-Shek made military expeditions against the military clique into North China in 1926. The following year, Chiang Kai-Shek established a Nationalist government in Nanking, suspending the first united front. Chiang Kai-Shek declared the unification of China under the Nationalist Party and launched expeditions against the Communist Party. The civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists continued until 1936, when the two joined forces as the second united front against Japan.
In 1931, the Japanese Kwantung Army bombed the Manchurian railway and blamed it on local Chinese soldiers and bandits in order to make expeditions against them. In 1932, the Kwantung Army established a puppet regime of Manchuria (1932-1945) under Pugi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, who became emperor of Manchukuo in 1934 until the end of the war in 1945. With the encouragement of the government, in 1936 many Japanese started migrating into Manchuria as farmers, in order to have a new life in a new land. The total number of Japanese people who went to Manchuria amounted to 270,006 from 1932 to 1945. By 1940, more than one million Japanese people were living in Manchuria (Okabe 2002:49; Yamawaki 1994:282).
Because of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937, the conflict between China and Japan escalated into full-scale war (the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945). The Japanese military expanded its territories, winning battles in major cities in 1937 and 1938, and then fought continually against the Chinese armies and guerillas to maintain their occupation until the end of the war. The Japanese military had conquered Beijing and Tianjin by the end of July, 1937. The second united front between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung, started to fight against the Japanese military in September. The Japanese military took Shanghai in November. Chiang Kai-shek transferred the capital of the Nationalist government from Nanking to Chungking.
On December 10, the Japanese military started to attack Nanking, occupying it on December 13. From 1938 on, more than one million regular Japanese army troops were stationed in China. By the end of 1938, the Japanese military had occupied many major cities and railways of China, conquering Wuhan and Canton. The areas occupied by the Japanese military expanded to one million square kilometers, with a population of 100 million. The Japanese military decided not to advance any further, focusing on holding Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia areas against the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek and against the Chinese guerrillas and the Communist army (Eighth Route Army), which were based in villages and mountainous areas in the enormous hinterland. In 1940, a puppet government under Wang Jing-wei, supported by the Japanese military, was established in Nanking.
The Communist forces controlled many villagers in remote rural and mountainous areas. From August to October 1940, through its “Hundred Regiments” campaigns, soldiers in the Eighth Route Army expanded its territory by launching surprise attacks against Japanese railways, bridges, houses and communications facilities in North China. Many Japanese soldiers guarding small garrisons were killed. The Japanese retaliated by burning and destroying Communist guerrilla bases between September and December in 1940. In many cases, the Communist guerrillas had already escaped before the Japanese arrived. In the process, many villages were razed and many men suspected of being Communist guerrillas were killed.
In order to eliminate the bases of the Communist guerrillas and the Eighth Route Army, the Japanese divided North China into pacified (10%), semi-pacified (60%), and unpacified areas (30%) in July 1941 (Fujiwara 1998:26). The Japanese planned to destroy villages in unpacified areas, and to draw firm borders between semi-pacified and unpacified areas by digging trenches and making use of natural borders such as mountains and rivers, in order to protect the occupied areas and railways. The Japanese military embarked upon “total annihilation campaigns,” which were also known as “three alls policy” (Sankō Sakusen): “burn all, kill all, steal all.” These campaigns lasted until 1943.
On September 11, 1941 the Japanese military and the Chinese Shanxi Army concluded a ceasefire agreement, and launched a joint attack against the Eight Route Army. From the last half of 1941 through 1942, the Japanese military isolated unpacified areas by using large-scale trenches and uninhabited areas. It burned and destroyed many villages to create uninhabited areas, forcing peasants to leave their homes and make new ones in specified areas. Millions of peasants were mobilized to dig trench lines twenty feet wide and thirteen-and-a-half feet deep, to build thousands of miles of walls and to dig moats under the supervision of Japanese police and Chinese collaborators (Bix 2000:366). By 1942 the unpacified area in Shandong had shrunk to one-fifth of the area liberated by the Eighth Route Army in 1940.
However, by the end of 1942, the Japanese military was having a difficult time with its planned operations to bring 70 percent of the areas under control, because many trained soldiers were sent to the Pacific War (Fujiwara 1998:73). Especially after 1944, the Japanese military could only manage to keep railways and large garrison towns. In April 1944, a large-scale operation with 400,000 soldiers started in order to expand Japan’s holdings in China. The Japanese military seized control of the main railways stations and their surrounding areas. Once the Japanese soldiers left, the Eighth Route Army and Communist guerrillas took them back (Inoue 1975:197).
The number of Chinese victims of the “total annihilation campaigns” remains unknown because there are no official records in Japan. The historian Himeta Mitsuyoshi, using Chinese figures, estimates the number of civilian Chinese victims in North China at 2.47 million, even though General Okamura of the North China Area Army had given all officers a booklet in 1943, telling them not to kill, rape, or harm civilians (Fujiwara 1998:73).
After the war, the people responsible for the “total annihilation campaigns” were tried in Chinese war crimes courts. Former Japanese soldiers who were detained in China on war crimes charges returned to Japan in 1956 and formed the “Liaison Association of Returnee Soldiers from China.” In 1957 they published a bestselling book of their experiences, Sankō.
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On July 28, 1941, French Indochina was occupied peacefully by the Japanese military, with the agreement of the French government. The French Indochinese and the Japanese then jointly governed Vietnam. In March 1945 the Japanese military restored the independence of Vietnam under King Bao-Dai, overthrowing French rule until the end of World War II. The Vietminh Front, which was founded illegally in 1941, created a liberated zone of six counties in June 1945. On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi.
The Japanese military landed on Malaysia peninsula before the Pearl Harbor attack and occupied Singapore after the British surrender on February 15, 1942. The Japanese sent British soldiers and European civilians to concentration camps. In Singapore, the Japanese military questioned more than 70,000 Chinese residents suspected of strong anti-Japanese sentiments and subversive activities, and several thousands persons were killed (Ienaga 1978:172-173). Malaysia became independent in 1957, and Singapore became independent in 1965.
On December 21, 1941, Japan and Thailand concluded a “Treaty of Alliance” so that the Japanese military would have free transfer rights to move troops across Thailand. Next, Japan occupied Burma in May 1942 and planned to march on to India. The 415-km. Taimen (Thai-Burma) Railroad was built between July 1942 and October 1943, in order to send soldiers and goods to India. Approximately 55,000 POWs from Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States and a total of 200,000 Asian coolies/rōmusha (construction levies) from Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were recruited as laborers, along with 10,000 Japanese military personnel, for construction of the Taimen Railroad. Because of the hard work, malnutrition, malaria and cholera, 12,000 POWs and 31,000 Asian workers died. In the B-class and C-class War Crimes Court regarding the Taimen Railroad, among the 67 cases tried, 64 cases received guilty verdicts; Seventeen of the 26 death penalties were carried out (McCormack and Nelson 1993; Utsumi et al. 1994).
The Indonesians of the Dutch East Indies at first welcomed Japan and their independence from the Dutch, when Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies in March 1942 after the nine days of battle. The Japanese Army governed Java and Sumatra, while the Japanese Navy governed Borneo and the east Indonesian area. Japan made Indonesian and Japanese the official languages. After abolishing the seven-year Dutch-style school for children of the upper classes, they established six-year “National People’s School” for Indonesian children and taught Japanese language and Japanese culture, as well as Indonesian language.
In 1943, the volunteer corps of Java was formed with 15,000 troops, growing to 38,000 by the end of the war (Katō 2002:135-139). On August 17, 1945, Sukarno and Hatta Mohammad, with the assistance of Japanese naval officers, declared the independence of Indonesia, but the Netherlands did not recognize that independence until 1949.
In May 1942, the Japanese along with the Burma National Army under Aung San expelled the British military from colonized Burma. The Burmese initially hailed the Japanese as forces for liberation. In 1943, Burma officially became independent but remained under Japanese control. The Burmese Army under Aung San revolted and supported the British Indian Army when the Japanese military started to withdraw in March 1945. In 1948, Burma became a sovereign and independent country.
The Philippines, which had been a Spanish colony since 1565, became a colony of the United States after the 1848 American-Spanish War. In 1935, the Philippines Commonwealth was established after the U.S. promised the independence of the Philippines in ten years. On December 10, 1942, the Japanese invaded the Philippines, and U.S. General Douglas MacArthur retreated to the Bataan peninsula. The Japanese conquered the Bataan on April 9, 1942. In April 1942, the infamous 100-km. Bataan Death March killed as many as 16,000 Filipinos and 2,000 American POWs (Tanaka 1996:15). By May 10, 1942, the Japanese military conquered almost all of the Philippines, after the defeat of the United States Army of the Far East on May 6, 1942.
The Japanese government dissolved all political organizations, commandeered all weapons, and controlled the media in the Philippines. Military coupons replaced currency right after the occupation, and the Japanese language was taught in all schools. On October 14, 1943, Japan granted the independence of the Philippines, the Republic of the Philippines, though the Japanese military remained in de facto control.
Many Filipinos participated in the resistance to Japanese occupation. There were more than 100 guerilla units with 270,000 Filipino guerrillas. There were two kinds of guerilla organizations: the guerillas in cooperation of the United States Army of the Far East, and the guerillas recruited from farmers and workers and led by the Philippine Communist Party and Socialist Party. At the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, a prosecutor claimed that under the Japanese occupation, 91,184 civilians were killed. According to the government of the Philippines, the total deaths of soldiers and civilians amounted to 1,111,938 (Satō 1995:140-141, 146; Fujiwara 2001:133).
On October 20, 1944, MacArthur advanced to Leyte Island, and occupied it after defeating the Japanese navy in December. On February 3, 1945, the U.S. Army invaded Manila and finally defeated the Japanese military. A total of 518,000 Japanese soldiers died in the Philippines (Kōseishō 1978:311). Many died of malnutrition and starvation and illness caused by desperate operations.
After fighting against Germany in World War I, Japan obtained Germany’s Pacific colonies under the Versailles Treaty. In 1930, Japan colonized the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands and Marshall Islands, with a total population of 50,000 (Takagi 2001:137). In 1942, the Japanese occupied Timor Island, the Gilbert Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea Island, Nauru Island and others in the area. When the U.S. forces landed on Guadalcanal in August 1942, the Japanese abandoned that island on Dec. 31, 1942 after sustaining heavy losses.
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Japan signed and ratified the “Convention regarding the Laws and Customs of War by Land,” a product of the 1899 Hague International Peace Conference, and the Hague 1907 Laws and Customs of War on Land; however, Japan signed but did not ratify the 1929 Geneva Convention regarding prisoners of war. Japan treated POWs relatively well during the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War, the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, and the 1914-1917 First World War. During the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), all 1,790 Chinese POWs were released upon signing an agreement not to take up arms against Japan again. The 79,367 Russian POWs from the Russo-Japanese War were well treated in twenty-nine camps and returned to their homeland after the war. During World War I, 4,600 German soldiers were captured in 1919-1920. They formed an orchestra with some local Japanese amateur musicians and engaged in bread-making and beer-brewing (Tanaka 1996:72-73).
However, the treatment of POWs during the Pacific War was brutal, and caused a high rate of deaths. During the Pacific War, 261,000 soldiers were captured: 52,000 from the Philippines, 97,000 from Malay, 93,000 from Java, and 19,000 from other places (Takagi 2001:84). Asian POWs were released after they promised cooperation with the Japanese military. According to the records of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, there were 132,134 Allied POWs: 50,016 British, 37,000 Dutch, 21,726 Australians, 21,580 Americans, 1,691 Canadians, and 121 New Zealanders. More than one fourth (27.1%) of these POWs died in captivity. In comparison, only 9,348 of the 235,473 British and American POWs captured by the Germans and Italians died (Osuga 1994:19).
The Japanese also detained 14,000 U.S. civilians and 17,000 U.S. military personnel captured in the Philippines and other areas. Fourteen thousand British citizens in Malaysia and Burma, 99,000 citizens in Singapore, and 690 citizens in Japan were taken into detention. Roughly 100,000 Dutch settlers were arrested in the Dutch East Indies. Because the Netherlands was already occupied by Nazi Germany, the Dutch settlers had nowhere to go when the Pacific War broke out (Utsumi 1996:178). Military internment centers were established in the occupied territories of Java, Sumatra, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and Borneo.
Japanese soldiers were taught to die rather than submit to capture. The regulation of battlefronts in the Field Service Code issued in 1941 said, “Do not accept the humiliation of being prisoners of war. You should prefer to die rather than to avoid the humiliation of being prisoners of war.” Even before the regulation, POWs received a penalty after returning to Japan during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and after the 1939 Nomonhan Incident against the Soviet Union. In February 1932, in the first Shanghai Incident, Major Kuga Noboru committed suicide upon becoming a prisoner of war, and he then became a military hero. Afterwards, captured officers killed themselves in order to atone for their failure. Military schools taught admiration for such actions. The Army as well the Navy did not allow Japanese soldiers to become prisoners of war. This ethos caused many Japanese soldiers to starve to death or be killed rather than surrender (Fujiwara 2001:224-235).
However, some Japanese soldiers and army/naval civilian employees were unable to avoid capture. Hata estimates that in August 1945, there were more than 51,000 Japanese POWs, including 10,000 Korean and Taiwanese POWs who had been fighting for the Japanese. Nearly 13,000 were confined in prison camps in the Philippines, 10,000 in Okinawa, 8,317 in China (1,358 by the Republic of China and 6,959 by the People’s Republic of China), 5600 in Australia and New Guinea, 8,800 in the United States (5,000 in the mainland and 3,800 in Hawaii), 2,296 in India, 1,754 in Saipan and Guam, 800 in Burma, 797 in New Zealand, and 263 in the Dutch East Indies (Hata 1998:530-531). Many Japanese POWs believed that they could not go back to their hometown after they were released. However, after the war, most of them received a warm welcome home.
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Reflecting on the devastation inflicted by the war, the Japanese government and the general public enthusiastically supported the policies of “demilitarization” and “democratization” that were promoted by the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Allied Forces. The peace Constitution drafted by the GHQ was put into effect in 1947. According to Article Nine, “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
The GHQ took care to place the full responsibility for the war upon the shoulders of the Japanese military leadership, not upon Emperor Hirohito or the people of the country. Prime Minister Naruhiko Higashikuni, however, called for “One hundred million people’s repentance” and claimed that the Japanese people, having lost the war, owed an apology to their emperor. The GHQ immediately censored the press and broadcast media and established the War Guilt Information Program, which attempted to convince public opinion that the military leaders had manipulated the Japanese people and Emperor Hirohito into a hopeless war.
All of the national newspapers published an article, written under the supervision of the GHQ, “The History of the Pacific War.” Once a week, from December 9, 1945 through February 10, 1946, the GHQ made a radio broadcast, “This is Fact!” which emphasized the complicity of military leaders in the war and in the defeat. The radio was an important source of news and information. During the immediate postwar period, there was one radio for each 1.4 families in Japan (Kawai 1960:221).
The Japanese people eventually realized that their military leaders had caused and waged this terrible war, and that the Japanese people were among their victims. In October 1945, the special political police was abolished, and political prisoners were released. In January 1946, the GHQ issued the order to purge all public servants who had supported the war, the chief administrators of occupied areas, politicians belonging to the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, and almost all members of the Diet. The purges of the civil service lasted two-and-a-half years, until May 1948. Among the 210,000 who lost their positions, 80 percent belonged to the military and 17 percent were politicians; if those who resigned before the purge are included, the total is much higher (Masuda 1998:3, 97).
The GHQ also ordered the removal of public teachers who had taught extremely militaristic doctrines. The Ministry of Education (MOE) reported that before the investigation 115,778 teachers had resigned and were eligible for pension (Yamamoto 1994:337). Nationwide, only 0.5 percent of the investigated teachers, or 7,003 of 1,311,066 teachers, were labeled as “militaristic” and purged. Only 86 college professors out of 24,572 examined were purged as “inappropriate” (Nagahama 1981:297, 306). However, in 1948, the onset of the Cold War and a conservative resurgence created a climate in which some purged politicians and wartime leaders could return to public life. In 1952, orders requiring the purge of militaristic public workers were abolished. In contrast, during the “Red Purges” against communists, which started in 1950, approximately 22,000 public servants, journalists, and workers lost their jobs (Masuda 1998:306-324).
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The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), better known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, was established by the Supreme Commander’s Proclamation on January 19, 1946, to bring to justice the people who were classified as “A” (committing crimes against peace), “B” (committing conventional war crimes), and “C” (committing crimes against humanity like atrocities).
Between May 3, 1946 and November 2, 1948, Chief Judge Sir William Webb of Australia presided over the trials of 28 military leaders of the A-Class. The Trials had to rely on the firsthand witness testimony, because most of the relevant documents had been destroyed in August 1945. Twenty-five of the defendants were found guilty on all counts. Seven, including General and Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō were condemned to death, 16 were sentenced to life imprisonment, and two received shorter prison terms. Two of the defendants died during the trials and one was declared incompetent to stand trial. On February 24, 1948, the day after the execution of Tōjō and six of his co-defendants, 17 A-ranked suspects who had been arrested but never tried, including future Prime Minister Shinsuke Kishi, were released.
Conservatives cooperated with the Trials in order to spare the emperor from the trial. Liberals agreed that the military leaders bore the weight of responsibility for the war, but refused to believe that the emperor was completely innocent. The Japanese people regarded the Trials with skepticism because the judges were their former enemies; however, they did believe that the Japanese military leaders had precipitated the war.
Meanwhile, through 1951, 49 courts in the U.S., Britain, Australia, France, the Netherlands, China and the Philippines conducted the war crimes trials for B-class and C-class suspects, most of whom were middle-ranked military officers. These trials have been accused of being unfair; the accused did not have enough interpreters and lawyers. In the B-class and C-class war crimes courts, 5,700 war criminals were tried, and 984 received death sentences. In 1951, seventy-one accused war criminals from Hong Kong and 230 from Singapore were sent to the Sugamo Prison in Japan. The Republic of China sent its Japanese war criminals to Japan in 1949 and released 91 in 1952, under the terms of the 1952 Japan-China Peace Treaty. The Philippines released all of its Japanese war criminals by 1954. By 1958, all war criminals had been released from the Sugamo Prison (Hayashi 1998).
In addition, the Soviet Union conducted secret war crimes trials, such as the Khabarovsk trials, and may have executed 3,000 Japanese defendants (Dower 1999:449). In 1956, the People’s Republic of China tried 1,062 war criminals, 45 of whom were convicted, while 1,017 were released after “education,” confession and repentance (Noda 1998:104-105).
Among the war criminals tried in the B/C class courts, 148 Koreans and 173 Taiwanese were also accused, and 23 Koreans (including 14 inspectors of prisoners of war) and 26 Taiwanese were executed. Since many Korean and Taiwanese soldiers and army/naval civilian employees had been supervisors of POWs, they were more likely to be accused of war crimes by former Allied POWs (Takagi 2001:83). The Allied Powers placed the most emphasis on war crimes against their own POWs and internees. The Japanese personnel responsible for the internment centers and the Korean inspectors of POWs were severely judged.
Emperor Hirohito was never tried for war crimes, nor were the people responsible for the chemical and biological weapons experiments of Unit 731. General MacArthur secretly granted immunity to the staff of Unit 731, in exchange for their assistance with American chemical and biological projects. No one from an Allied country was charged with war crimes for the bombings of Japanese cities. Many other war crimes against Asians went unpunished.
Under great pressure from the U.S., the Tokyo War Crimes Trials decided not to indict Emperor Hirohito in 1946, against the wishes of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, Australia, and New Zealand. After the war, Japanese conservatives cooperated with the Tokyo War Crimes Trials in order to shield the emperor. They created the image of a peace-loving Emperor Hirohito, a constitutional monarch and a pacifist, but who had signed the declaration of war against his will because the cabinet had already decided in favor of it. Furthermore, they insisted that the Emperor had a constitutional right to immunity from the responsibility for decisions made by the cabinet, under Articles 3 and 55 of the 1889 Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji Constitution).
Appreciating the real and symbolic power of the Emperor, General MacArthur decided to administer the occupation policies in conjunction with the Emperor. It was a wise decision; the Emperor gave an order to cooperate with the Allied Powers, and as a result there was not one casualty among the 400,000 Allied soldiers stationed in Japan after the war (Takahashi H. 2002:33-36).
On June 18, 1946, the Chief Prosecutor of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, Joseph B. Keenan announced that the Emperor would not be brought to trial. During the trials, General Tōjō, who denied the Emperor’s complicity in war, slipped once, saying “No Japanese subject, let alone a high official of Japan, would ever go against the will of Emperor.” A week later, he amended his words (Bix 2000:603-605). After the end of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials in 1948, Chief Judge William Webb published his opinion that he believed that the Emperor did have some responsibility for the war, but that for political reasons he had escaped indictment (Inoue 1975:2-3).
In March, 1946, Emperor Hirohito completed his “Monologue” in which he stated that he had not been involved in political decision-making, except during the military rebellion of February 26, 1936 and in 1945. He insisted that as a constitutional monarch with limited power, he could not stop the cabinet from going to war. Emperor Hirohito confessed that he had fired Prime Minster Giichi Tanaka in 1929, saying, “What you say now is entirely different from what you had told me before. Don’t you think you ought to tender resignation?” The Emperor claimed to have spoken thus out of youthful indiscretion, because he was upset about Tanaka’s handling of the assassination of Chang Tso-lin, warlord of Manchuria. He then “decided that henceforth in affairs of this nature all matters would have to be left entirely in the hands of the cabinet” (Higashino 1998:218-219). During the February 26 Incident of 1936, junior army officers had revolted, seizing the Army Ministry and the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, attacking the official and private residences of senior statesmen and cabinet ministers, and assassinating the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Saitō Makoto, Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo and several other officials. Emperor Hirohito was furious and wanted to suppress the coup right away, though the arrests started only three days later. In the summer of 1945, Emperor Hirohito commanded acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration when Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki requested him to break the deadlock.
Under Article 11 of the Meiji Constitution of 1889, Emperor Hirohito was the supreme command of the army and navy. He was well-informed of war situations and was active in planning military strategies and operations. After the Imperial Headquarters was established within the palace in 1937, important military matters were discussed and decided in the Liaison Conference of the Imperial Headquarters. The Imperial Conference was usually convened before Emperor Hirohito after the Liaison Conference. The Liaison Conference of the Imperial Headquarters took the lead determining political and military policies.
The cabinet decided to undertake the Pacific War with the Emperor’s blessing on November 15, 1941 in the Liaison Conference and Imperial Conference. Therefore, the belief that Emperor Hirohito could not oppose the decision to make war is patently false. Furthermore, according to the Diary of Kido Kōichi, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, published in 1966, in February 1945 Emperor Hirohito rejected the surrender offer suggested by the Prince and former Prime Minister Konoe, and said that Japan should achieve some military victory before entering into negotiations (Fujiwara 1991:122, 148).
After the war the Emperor became “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power” (Article I of the 1946 Constitution of Japan). Emperor Hirohito did not abdicate his position because General MacArthur supported his remaining there and supporting the GHQ, and because the conservatives worried that abdication might spark a debate about the imperial system itself. According to a 1948 poll, more than 90 percent of the Japanese population supported the imperial system as symbol of the nation, 68.5 percent agreed that Hirohito should stay on as emperor, 18.4 percent said he should abdicate and pass the throne on to the prince, while only 4.0 percent said he should abdicate and abolish the imperial system (Yoshida 1995:46, 49).
Emperor Hirohito stayed on as emperor until 1989, when he died at the age of 87. When asked about his responsibility for the war in an interview on October 31, 1975, Emperor Hirohito replied, “Concerning this kind of word-playing, I do not work on literature. I do not know. Therefore, I cannot answer this kind of question” (Higashino 1998:193). In general, talking about the war responsibility of Emperor Hirohito in public was taboo. In December 1988, Motoyama Hiroshi, the mayor of Nagasaki City, voiced his own opinion in public that Emperor Hirohito had some war responsibility; he was subsequently threaten and eventually shot and injured by right-wing groups in January 1990. After the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989, the debate concerning the war responsibility of the Emperor resumed, and it became easier to talk about his responsibility in public. According to a 1989 survey, more than half of the respondents believed that Emperor Hirohito had some responsibility for the war (Yoshida 1995:49, 180).
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The Peace Treaty with Japan was signed by 48 countries of the 55 Allied Powers in San Francisco on September 8, 1951 and went into effect on April 28, 1952. India, Burma and Yugoslavia were invited to the peace conference but did not participate in the treaty, while China was not invited because the British and the U.S. could not agree on a Chinese representative. The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Poland did not sign the treaty, and Indonesia did not ratify it.
In the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan renounced all rights, titles and claims to Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), the Kurile Islands, and the portion of Sakhalin. Further, Japan accepted the judgments of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials and of other Allied War Crimes Trials both within and outside of Japan, and would carry out the sentences imposed upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan. Under pressure from the United States, the Allied countries, except for the Philippines and Vietnam, abandoned their demands for reparations, because Japan did not have the resources to pay for all of the damage that it had caused. Article 16 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulated that the compensation for POWs would be paid by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Article 14 stated that Japan had an obligation to pay some reparations if one of the Allied Powers made a request. Many Asian countries that Japan had occupied did not sign the treaty; therefore, Japan’s peace treaties and economic aid agreements with those countries came later.
Japan completed war reparations with all of the relevant countries, except for North Korea (and Taiwan), under the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, separate reparation agreements and joint declarations. Japan spent one trillion yen on war reparations and economic aid, and for the renunciation of property/capital of the Japanese government, companies and people from occupied areas. As of August 15, 1945, Japan had lost 325 billion yen in capital in Japanese enterprises’ property, government property and personal property, including government deposits, personal deposits, railroads, factories, buildings and houses in Manchuria, Korea, Taiwan, Central and Southern China and other regions (Tanaka 1995:143). Moreover, in the early Occupation period, the removal of machinery from factories in the Philippines, the Netherlands, the British and China cost about 165,000,000 yen (Utsumi 2002:15).
After the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan spent 364,248,800,000 yen on reparation, 260,367,600,000 yen on economic aid, 448,776,000 yen in economic development loans, and 21,070,000,000 yen in payment of various requests. Japan made reparation agreements with Burma, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia (Table I). For example, under the 1954 agreement with Burma, Japan provided $200 million (7.2 billion yen) over ten years through power stations, factories to produce trucks, buses, and cars, and factories to manufacture home appliances. In the 1956 agreement with the Philippines, Japan provided $550 million (198 billion yen) over the next twenty years to construct electric communication facilities, railroads, and dams (Utsumi 2002:25; Irokawa 1995:148-150).
Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Mongolia and Micronesia received economic aid and/or economic development loans under separate peace treaties with Japan (Table I). In addition, a total of miscellaneous payments included 5.4 billion yen to Thailand in 1955, $10 million to the Netherlands in 1956, $5.5 million to Spain in 1957 (Irokawa 1995:148-151). By the first half of the 1950s, Japan was exporting cotton products to Southeast Asia; however, because of the reparation payments, the heavy chemical industries obtained a profitable market in Southeast Asian countries (Kobayashi 1995:14).
Furthermore, Japan reached agreements on war reparations with the Soviet Union in 1956 and China in 1972. In the 1956 Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration, the Soviet Union renounced all rights to reparations from Japan, and both countries renounced all rights of the country, organizations and people to request compensation for damages after August 9, 1945. China also renounced all rights to reparations from Japan in the 1972 China-Japan Joint Communiqué, which annulled the 1952 Peace Treaty with Taiwan.
Japan and Korea settled their outstanding reparations issues through the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, along with the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims between Japan and the Republic of Korea. Japan provided South Korea with $300 million in economic aid through products and services and $200 million in loans with products and services over the next ten years (1965-1975), together with $300 million in loans for private trust. In exchange, South Korea renounced all rights to request reparation and compensation. After the agreement, Japan enacted Law 144, which nullified the right of requests from Korean individuals for unpaid salaries, savings for retirement, and pension insurance.
The South Korean government paid 300,000 won (about 190,000 yen at the prevailing exchange rate) per person to 8,552 surviving family members of Korean soldiers and army/naval civilian employees of the Japanese military. The government also paid 6,622,090,000 won in unpaid salaries and deposits of Korean workers, under the 1971 and 1974 Korean laws for compensation. Wounded Korean soldiers in South Korea, their survivors, and wounded Korean soldiers living in Japan did not receive any compensation from the government (Utsumi 2002:57-66; Koshō 1991:146).
In 2000, after several lawsuits by wounded Koreans living in Japan, a law for former Japanese soldiers and army/naval civilian employees of Korean or Taiwanese descent living in Japan was passed to provide “gift money” primarily for the surviving families of Korean soldiers and the wounded Korean soldiers living in Japan, who were excluded from compensation by the South Korean government after the 1965 Japan-South Korea agreement. The surviving family members of soldiers who had been killed or wounded in the war received 2.6 million yen, and wounded soldiers received a total of 4 million yen in the form of presents and pensions.
In 1952, the Republic of China (Taiwan) under Chiang Kai-shek formed a China-Japan Peace Treaty, under which the Republic of China gave up its claim for reparations and resolved to solve Taiwanese residents’ claims on a case-by-case basis. However, in 1972, when Japan signed a Joint Communiqué with the People’s Republic of China, Japan annulled the Treaty with the Republic of China. Finally, the Japanese government, following the suggestion of the Tokyo High Court, enacted the 1986 and 1987 Laws to pay “condolence money” of two million yen through the Japanese and Taiwanese Red Cross Societies to the survivors of each Taiwanese killed or wounded in the war. In 1995, the Japanese government decided to pay military postal savings and the unpaid salaries of Taiwanese soldiers and army/naval civilian employees.
In 1949, the People’s Republic of China was established after Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government left for Taiwan. Under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan recognized Taiwan as the legitimate Chinese government until 1972, when it signed China-Japan Joint Communiqué and established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. The Japanese government sincerely apologized for the enormous damages inflicted upon the Chinese people by the Japanese military during the war. The Chinese government gave up its claims for reparations. In return, the Japanese government promised to offer economic aid to China.
The estimates of Chinese casualties have risen over time. In 1946, the Nationalist government of China submitted to the Tokyo War Crimes Trials a statement that there had been 3,208,000 military casualties, including 1,889,000 deaths. According to official Chinese records in the 1980s, the number of Chinese casualties (killed and/or injured) amounted to 22 million, including 10 million deaths. However, in 1995, Jiang Zemin proclaimed that under the Japanese military invasion 35 million Chinese had been killed or wounded (Hata 2003:19, 72).
After the 1978 China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty, the Japanese government provided 2.6 trillion yen through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to China from 1979 to 1999, including 2.4535 trillion yen in loan aid, 118.5 billion yen in economic aid, and 116.3 billion yen in technical aid. The ODA were suspended temporarily because of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, and economic aid was suspended from 1995 to 1997 because of China’s nuclear weapons experiments. The ODA from Japan to China covered half of the entire ODA from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to China (Asahi Shinbun (AS) November 3, 2001). Japan is China’s largest trade partner, and China is Japan’s second largest trade partner of Japan, after the United States. In practical terms, the ODA from Japan to China comprises another form of war reparations, although not many Chinese people know about the tremendous contributions from Japan through the ODA.
In 1977, the Japanese government sent 5 billion yen in economic aid to the Mongolian government as reparations. Reparations have paid for the public bus system. On Mongolian buses, both the Mongolian and Japanese flags are displayed in appreciation of the economic aid from Japan.
After the war, the Indonesians under Sukarno fought a four-year war of independence against the Netherlands. Before the Netherlands waged a colonial war against the Indonesians in 1947, more than 600 Japanese soldiers fought in Indonesian guerilla skirmishes against the Dutch. Four Japanese were accused of participation in the Indonesian war at the war crime trials in 1947 (Arai 1990:35).
In 1958, President Sukarno concluded the Japan and Indonesian Peace Treaty and Reparation Agreement with the Japanese government and received $223 million over twelve years and $400 million in economic aid over twenty years. President Sukarno used the reparation money for economic development rather than for individual claims. More than 50,000 Indonesians may have been recruited and employed as auxiliary soldiers of the Japanese military, starting in April 1943, when the first recruitment was made on Java. The Association of Former Special Recruits, founded in 1985, insisted that Japan acknowledge 15,000 dead and missing former special recruits and offer restitution. By 2001, they had requested about 2.7 million yen per person (at the current exchange rate) for unpaid salaries and savings, in addition to compensation, from the Japanese government. However, the Japanese government insists that compensation had been completed by the 1958 Japan and Indonesian Peace Treaty and Reparation Agreement (Takagi 1992:184; Takagi 2001:124-126).
After declaring Vietnam’s independence in September 1945, Ho Chi Minh invited the French military back to Vietnam on March 6, 1946. However, the breakdown of the French-Vietnamese truce in late 1946 initiated the French Indochina War (1946-54), which ended with the Vietnamese victory in Dien Bien Phu, a French military base. In 1954, the Geneva Conference divided Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The Vietnam War (1960-1975) between the South Vietnamese government, backed by the U.S., and the Viet Cong guerrilla forces (Vietnamese Communists) aided by North Vietnam was fought primarily in South Vietnam and ended with the unification of Vietnam under the North. In 1959, the Japanese government agreed to pay $39 million as reparation, $7.5 million in loan aid, and $9.1 million in loan aid for economic development to South Vietnam, for five years (1960-65). In 1975 the Japanese government provided 8.5 billion yen in economic aid to North Vietnam, followed in 1976 by five billion yen in economic aid for economic development to the unified Vietnam.
In January 1948, Burma gained its independence from Britain. Burma was the first country to conclude a bilateral reparation agreement with the Japanese government. In 1954, Burma and Japan signed a Peace Treatment and a Reparation and Economic Aids Agreement. Japan paid $200 million as reparation, and $50 million in loan aid for economic development, from 1955 to 1965. In the second Agreement of 1963, the Japanese government paid $140 million in economic aid and $30 million in loan aid for economic development until 1977.
On July 4, 1946, the Philippines were formally declared as an independent republic. The Philippines did not sign the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and instead made a bilateral agreement on reparation with Japan in 1956. Under the agreement, Japan paid $550 million as reparations and $250 million in loan aid for economic development from 1956 to 1976.
The Federation of Malaya became independent from Britain in August 1957 and became the Federation of Malaysia, adding North Borneo and Singapore in 1963. Singapore peacefully seceded and became an independent country in 1965. The British imperial government in Malaysia had relinquished its rights to full reparation under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. The government of Singapore had also abandoned its claims to reparations for war damages in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty; however, the British took the estates and capital abandoned by the Japanese in Singapore, which amounted to $72 million, and used that wealth for the reestablishment of British companies and enterprises. In 1967, the Japanese government concluded the Japan-Malaysia Agreement and the Japan-Singapore Agreement and provided 25 million Malaysian dollars (2,940 million yen) in economic aid for Malaysia and 25 million Singapore dollars (2,940 million yen) in economic aid for Singapore for five years from 1968 to 1972. In addition, the Japanese government paid 1 billion yen (1959-1965) to Laos, 1.5 billion yen to Cambodia (1959-1966) and 9.6 billion yen to Thailand (1962-69) in economic aid.
According to the terms of the 1969 Agreement Between the United States and Micronesia, the Japanese government gave $5 million in economic aid from 1972 to 1976 as war reparations. The families of people who had been massacred in the Marshall Islands, and in the Timbunke village of Papua New Guinia, and the former civilian squads from Palau requested compensation; however, the Japanese government said that the 1951 SF Peace Treaty, the 1969 Japan-U.S. Agreement and/or the Micronesian Agreement had already settled the matter (Takagi 2001:141-150).
Article 16 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty states that compensation for POWs would be arranged by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). According to a 1971 report from the ICRC, the Committee had received about 4.5 billion yen from the Japanese government as compensation for POWs of the former Allied Forces. The total compensation amounted to about 2,970,000 pounds and $7,980,000 for 203,600 POWs, an average of 14 pounds or 39 dollars per person. The British government added about 3.005 million pounds from the disposal capital of assets seized from the Japanese government and about 175,000 pounds from the Thailand-Burma Railroad compensation money to the distribution from the ICRC, and paid 76.5 pounds (about 80,000 yen) each to 50,000 soldiers and 48.5 pounds to 8,800 civilians. Japan paid 602,463 pounds and $1,630,305 to 42,233 Dutch from the ICRC compensation money, and $10,000,000 (3.6 billion yen) to those who had been detained in Indonesia, according to the 1956 private petition agreement (AS November 11, 1993).
Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway have decided to provide support money for former POWs, detainees and their bereaved families. In 2000, the British government paid 10,000 pounds to each of 16,700 POWs, detainees and their survivors (Utsumi 2002:29). The Japanese courts dismissed the claims of former POWs for compensation in a suit brought by former Dutch POWs and detainees in 1998 (Tokyo District Court) and 2001 (Tokyo High Court), as well as in a suit brought by former POWs and detainees from Great Britain, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand in 1998 (Tokyo District Court) and 2002 (Tokyo High Court), suggesting that compensation for POWs has been completed.Table I Reparations, Economic Aid, and Loan Aid
|Burma (1954, 1963)||$200 million (72 billion yen) as reparations and $50 million (18 billion yen) in loan aid (1955-1965); $140 million (50.4 billion yen) in economic aid and $30 million (10.8 billion yen) in loan aid, completed in 1977|
|Philippines (1956)||$550 million (198 million yen) as reparations and $250 million (90 billion yen) in loan aid (1956-1976)|
|Indonesia (1958)||$223.08 million (80.388 billion yen) as reparations (1958-70); $176.91 million (63.6876 billion yen) in economic aid and $4 million (144 billion yen) in loan aid|
|Laos (1958)||1 billion yen in economic aid (1959-1965)|
|Cambodia (1959)||1.5 billion yen in economic aid (1959-1966)|
|Thailand (1962)||9.6 billion yen in economic aid (1962-1969)|
|South Korea (1965)||$300 million (108 billion yen) in economic aid (1965-1975); $200 million (72 billion yen) in loan aid; and $300 million (108 billion yen) in loan aid for private trust|
|Malaysia (1967)||2.94 billion yen in economic aid (1968-1972)|
|Singapore (1967)||2.94 billion yen in economic aid (1968-1972)|
|Micronesia (1969)||$5 million (1.8 billion yen) in economic aid (1972-1976)|
|Vietnam (1959, 1975, 1976)||$39 million (14.04 billion yen) as reparations (1960-1965); $7.5 million (2.7 billion yen) in loan aid; $9.1 million (3.276 billion yen) in loan aid in 1959 to Vietnam; in 1975, 8.5 billion yen in economic aid to North Vietnam; in 1976, 5.0 billion yen in economic aid to Vietnam.|
|Mongolia (1977)||5 billion yen in economic aid in 1977|
The Asia-Pacific War inflicted millions casualties upon the Asians, including the Japanese. After the war, the Japanese public, devastated by the war, enthusiastically praised the GHQ’s policies of “demilitarization” and “democratization,” especially the Peace Constitution. They blamed their military leaders for the war.
Japan completed war reparation with all of its former enemies, except for North Korea (and Taiwan), through the San Francisco Peace Treaty, reparation agreements and joint declarations. Through the completion of war reparations payments, the Japanese government and the public looked forward to a new future of cooperation with its former enemies. The economic aid and development loans from Japan to Asian countries also helped Japan to develop its economic connections with Asian countries and enjoy economic prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s.
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