Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945 Japanese representatives on
board USS Missouri (BB-63) during the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Standing in front are:
Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.
Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army and the Navy.
They include, in middle row, left to right:
Major General Yatsuji Nagai, Army;
Katsuo Okazaki, Foreign Ministry;
Rear Admiral Tadatoshi Tomioka, Navy;
Toshikazu Kase, Foreign Ministry, and
Lieutenant General Suichi Miyakazi, Army.
In the the back row, left to right (not all are visible):
Rear Admiral Ichiro Yokoyama, Navy;
Saburo Ota, Foreign Ministry;
Captain Katsuo Shiba, Navy, and
Colonel Kaziyi Sugita, Army.
(Identities those in second and third rows are from an annotated photograph in NHHC files.)
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 610 pixels
Reproductions may be available through the National Archives
The formal surrender of the Japanese Imperial Government, the Japanese Imperial
General Headquar forces wherever located, was signed aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) at 0908 on 2
September 1945. Looking down upon the ceremony, to present a reminder of an earlier occasion on which Japanese
truculence had been humbled by American sea power was the American Flag which had flown over Commodore Matthew
Calbraith Perry's flagship USS Mississippi (Sidewheel Steamer) when he steamed into the Bay of Yedo (Tokyo Bay, as
it was known after 1868) in 1853. An interesting sidelight concerning this 31-starred flag was the circumstance of
its being framed in reverse, as a result of the obverse side's having suffered such decomposition from mildew that
it had been necessary at some time in the flag's history to back that side with cotton batting.
Another view of the Japanese delegation at the surrender aboard Missouri (BB-63) on 2 September 1945.
Acting on behalf of Emperor Hirohito and of the Japanese Government, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed first
for Japan. The next to affix his signature to the surrender document was General Yosshijiro Umezu, Chief of Staff,
Japanese Army Headquarters, who signed for the Imperial General Headquarters. Both Japanese emissaries, as well as
the various Allied representatives, signed two documents - one for the Allies, and a duplicate to be retained by
Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National
Archives. Online Image: 79KB; 590 x 765 pixelsReproductions may be
available through the National Archives
Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs the Japanese surrender documents aboard the Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay. Lt.
Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, left foreground, who surrendered Bataan to the Japanese, and British Lt. Gen.
A. E. Percival, next to Wainwright, who surrendered Singapore, observe the ceremony marking the end of
World War II.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General of the Army MacArthur, attended by Lieutenant General Jonathan M.
Wainwright, defender of Bataan and Corregidor, Singapore at the time of the Japanese conquest of that base, signed
next. Both generals, recently released from a prison camp near Mukden, Manchuria, had been especially invited by
General MacArthur to witness the surrender of Japan.
The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers then called upon the other signatories to sign in following
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz signs the official surrender document aboard Missouri (BB-63
while RADM Sherman stand to one side of Nimitz. General of the Army Douglas MacAuthur
speaks with Admiral William Halsey at the microphone.
For the United States - Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
For the Republic of China - General Hsu Yung-Chang.
For the United Kingdom - Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, GCB, KBE.
For the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Lieutenant General Kuzma Nikolaevish Derevyanko.
For the Commonwealth of Australia - General Sir Thomas Blamey.
For the Dominion of Canada - Colonel Lawrence Moore-Cosgrave.
For the Provisional Government of the French Republic - Major General Jacques LeClerc (Count Philippe de Hauteclocque).
For the United Kingdom of the Netherlands - Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich.
For the Dominion of New Zealand - Air Vice Marshall L. M. Isitt, RNZAF.
The complete text of the surrender articles signed by the Japanese and Allied
representatives was as follows:
"We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, the Japanese
Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, hereby accept the provisions in the declaration issued
by the heads of the Governments of the United States, China, and Great Britain 26 July 1945 at Potsdam, and
subsequently to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which four powers are hereafter referred to as the
"We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters
and of all Japanese Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under Japanese control wherever situated.
"We hereby command all Japanese forces wherever situated and the Japanese people to cease hostilities forthwith, to
preserve and save from damage all ships, aircraft, and military and civil property, and to comply with all
requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by agencies of the Japanese
Government at his direction.
"We hereby command the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to issue at once orders to the commanders of all
Japanese forces and all forces under Japanese control wherever situated to surrender unconditionally themselves
and all forces under their control.
"We hereby command all civil, military, and naval officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders, directives
deemed by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to be proper to effectuate this surrender and issued by him
or under his authority; and we direct all such officials to remain at their posts and to continue to perform their
non-combatant duties unless specifically relieved by him or under his authority.
"We hereby undertake for the Emperor, the Japanese Government, and their successors to carry out the provisions of
the Potsdam Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever action may be required by the
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers or by any other designated representative of the Allied Powers for the
purpose of giving effect to that declaration.
"We hereby command the Japanese Imperial Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters at once to
liberate all Allied Prisoners of War and civilian internees now under Japanese control and to provide for their
protection, care, maintenance, and immediate transportation to places as directed.
"The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander
for the Allied Powers, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender".
Immediately upon the signing of the surrender articles, the Supreme Commander ordered that the following proclamation
be issued by Emperor Hirohito:
the declaration by the heads of the Governmentsof the United States, Great Britain, and China on July 26, 1945, at
Potsdam and subsequently adhered to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, I have commanded the Japanese Imperial
Government and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters to sign on my behalf the Instrument of Surrender presented
by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and to issue General Orders to the military and naval forces in
accordance with the direction of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. I command all my people forthwith to
cease hostilities, to lay down their arms, and faithfully to carry out all provisions of the Instrument of Surrender
and the General Orders issued by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters hereunder."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Japanese received copies of General Order No. One, prepared previously by the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and approved by the President of the United states, containing instructions for disarming Japan.
The General Order, which was to be issued through the Japanese Government, called upon all commanders in Japan and
abroad to lay down their arms, cease hostilities at once, and to remain in their present locations, and it required
that all Japanese except the police force in the main islands of Japan be disarmed.
It further provided that the Allied Powers should be furnished lists of all land, air, and anti-aircraft units,
aircraft, naval and merchant vessels in or out of commission or under construction; maps of minefields and all other
obstacles to movement by land, sea, or air should be provided; locations and descriptions of all military
installations and establishments; and locations of all camps and other places of detention of United Nations
prisoners of war and civilian internees. Other sections of the General Order stressed that all military and naval
installations were to be kept intact, as well as all industrial establishments engaged in war work.
To implement the formal instrument of surrender, General Order No. 1 specified that immediate contact be made by each
Japanese commander with the indicated Allied commander, or his designated representative, for each of the six
surrender regions into which the Japanese the commanders to whom the surrenders would be tendered were as follows:
(a) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within China (excluding
Manchuria), Formosa, and French Indo-China north of 16 degrees North, would surrender to Generalissimo Chiang
(b) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces in the Japanese mandated
islands, Ryukyus, Bonins, and other Pacific Islands were to surrender to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific
(c) The Imperial General Headquarters, its senior commanders, and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces in
the main islands of Japan, minor islands adjacent thereto, Korea south of 38 degrees North, and the Philippines
should surrender to CinCAFPac.
(d) The senior Japanese commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within Manchuria, Korea north
of 38 degrees North, Karafuto, and the Kurile Islands would surrender to the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces
in the Far East.
(e) The senior Japanese commanders of all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within the Andamans, Nicobars,
Burma, Thailand, French Indo-China (south of 16 degrees North), Malaya, Sumatra, Java, the Lesser Sundas
(including Bali, Lombok, and Timor), Boeroe, Ceram, Ambon, Kai, Aroe, Tanimbar (and islands in the Arafura
Sea), Celebes, the Halmaheras, and Dutch New Guinea would surrender to the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast
Asia Command, Lord Louis Mountbatten.
(f) The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air, and auxiliary forces within Borneo, British New
Guinea, the Bismarcks, and the Solomons would surrender to the Commander-in- Chief, Australian Military Forces,
General Sir Thomas Blamey.
A subsequent readjustment, made at the request of the British Chiefs of staff led to the following procedures being
adopted in the Japanese capitulation of Ocean and Nauru Islands:
At Ocean, the Australian Commander concerned in accepting the surrender signed once on behalf of the theater
commander (Cincpac-Cincpoa) and a second time on behalf of the United Kingdom, as the territorial authority. At
Nauru, he signed once on behalf of the theater commander (Cincpac-Cincpoa) and again on behalf of Australia, the
The question of the Admiralty islands' being retained by the United States because of their strategic importance was
also the subject for an exchange of views by the governments of the United States and of Australia, the nation to
which the Admiralties had been mandated after World War I. The Prime Minister of Australia urged that control of all
Australian-mandated territories should revert to that country as soon as possible, now that the requirements of war
no longer made heir retention by the United States a military necessity.
The American view, that security against future Japanese aggression was of prime importance, prevailed, however-at
least for the time being - with the result that Manus Island (in the Admiralty Group), with its superb Seeadler
Harbor, as well as Emirau and St. Matthias Islands (in the St. Matthias Group), and the Ninigo Group (to the west
of the Admiralties), all of which had been in the Philippine Sea Frontier, were added as bases under Commander
Marianas, in the Pacific Ocean Areas, during the last week of September. A Naval Operating Base was established at
Manus, while Emirau, which had been rolled up as an air base several months earlier, was retained as an emergency
Simultaneously, preparations continued for the roll-up of American bases in South pacific and Southwest Pacific
islands being returned to British, French, Australian, and Dutch sovereignty. It was evident that by 15 October
the shore establishments in the South Pacific would be sufficiently rolled up to permit the closing of the
headquarters on Noumea and the establishment aboard USS Vincennes (CL-64) of mobile headquarters which would enable
ComSoPac to move with greater freedom to the various ports in which the roll-up was being accomplished.
At the same time, USS Birmingham (CL-62) was assigned to Commander U.S. Naval Forces Australia-New Guinea (a command
established on 15 August, 1945, under Commander SEVENTH Fleet) to facilitate his visiting of the ports in the
roll-up of the area was to be accomplished.
Somewhat earlier, on 27 August, the War Department had decided to maintain token garrisons on the South Pacific
islands of Aitutaki and Penryhn (in the Cook Islands), pending the completion of negotiations with the government
of New Zealand by the American State Department.
Simultaneously with the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan on 2 September, the title of Commander Allied Naval
Forces Southwest Pacific Area was abolished, and all naval forces thereunder, except United States vessels, passed
to British Control.
On 17 September, Supreme Allied Headquarters shifted to Tokyo from Yokohama. The Supreme Commander, his aides, and
other high-ranking officials established themselves in the American Embassy, while headquarters officials were
located in the lavish, seven-story Dai-Ichi Hotel and the Mutual Insurance building facing a section of the moat
around the Emperor's Palace. Six hundred officers and 1,400 enlisted men moved into Tokyo with headquarters. The
rear echelon of general headquarters remained in Manila. The EIGHTH Army took over Yokohama buildings formerly
occupied by supreme Headquarters.
The same day, a British Flag was formally hoisted over the British Embassy by a Marine guard from the cruiser HMS
Newfoundland relieving the Marine guard from the battleship HMS King George V which had been on duty at the
Embassy since 8 September.
In a move by premier Higashi-Kuni to purge from his cabinet all members who might not prove acceptable to the Supreme
Commander, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, who had signed the surrender document for the Imperial Japanese
Government aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63), was asked, on 18 September, to resign. He was replaced the same day by
Shigeru Yoshida, a career diplomat well known for his consistent stand against Japanese aggression. Yoshida was
reported to have opposed the war from the start, and to have been jailed for a month early in 1945 because of his
persistent efforts to bring about peace through diplomatic channels. Premier Higashi-Kuni stated that he made the
appointment because "his record is free of any suspicion of actively supporting the war."
The same week, Taketora Ogata was removed as President of the Board of Information and Minister without Portfolio,
after he had been ordered arrested by the Supreme Commander as one of the leaders of the notorious Black Dragon
Society. His place was taken by Tatsuo Kawai. Ogata retained his post as Chief Cabinet Secretary, however.
Source: Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, Report of Surrender and Occupation of Japan,
Ser: 0395 of 11 February 1946, Box 255, World War II Command File, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical
Center, Washington DC.
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