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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0068, 1945-12-13.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0297

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 297 Date: 13 Dec 45


ITEM 1 The Fateful 17th October - Mainichi Shimbun - 8 Dec 45. Translator: J. Weiller.
Full Translation:
8 December, the "Historic Day" has come round for the fifth time since the outbreak of war. Naturally the thought of everyone of the Japanese, amidst the cold reality of the disastrous defeat goes back through the nightmarish wartime to this day four years ago, when we were driven to a pathetic determination. How did JAPAN plonage herself into the war? We are going to uncover the true aspects of how the war came about.
In consideration of the effect it might have had on the parties concerned the real facts regarding the PEARL HARBOR tactics were kept secret by the Naval authorities even after the termination of war. The fateful 14 October 1941 - the war virtually started on this day. The terrible fuse was ignited on the day of "KII[illegible]AMESAI" (T.N. A Japanese holiday on which the first crop of rice of the year is dedicated to the Emperor). On that day General TOJO, who was the War Minister, received the Emperial command to form a cabinet, succeeding Prince KONOE, whose ministry resigned on the previous day. (The TOJO Cabinet was formed on 18 October). The downfall of the KONOE Cabinet was the result of TOJO's unyielding attitude towards the opinion of Premier KONOE, Naval Minister OIKAWA and Foreign Minister TOYUDA that there was still a way open for an amicable settlement. Furthermore, since the advent of the third KONOE Cabinet indicated the termination of the CHINA Incident, its replacement by the TOJO Cabinet at the last moment meant only one thing politically and strategically. That was, the incoitable enlargement of the CHINA Incident and ultimate clash with the UNITED STATES.
17 October - on this very day the Navy's tactics for the Pacific was commenced. Orders were given to a submarine squadron to weigh anchor at KURE base and head towards PEARL HARBOR. Number 1 and 2 flotillas belonging to the Sixth Fleet left KURE under cover of darkness. Of course no explanation was given to the crews on departure. Only a day's shore leave was allowed, but it was enough for the officers and men to understand what it meant.
When the crews assembled again after shore leave they formed among them Commander IWASA and others of Special Submarine Flotilla. As expected, instructions were given to the whole assembly by the commander of each flotilla.
Taking to the South the two flotillas entered the Inner South Seas and advanced to QUESERIN of the MARSHALLS where they found the KATORI, the flagship of the 6th Squadron. For fear of discovery, the flotilla dispersed to nearby WOSSE and MALOELAP.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 68 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
However, the advance of the two flotillas as far as QUESERIN was, at that stage, no more than a waiting tactic. In the meantime our outlook on the American-Japanese negotiations became more pessimistic as time went on, and as a result, the order to go to HAWAII was wirelessed to submarines. Number 1 and 2 flotillas left the South Sea regions on the 11 November and at the sametime number 3 flotilla and the remainder of number 1 left YOKOSNKA, and taking a course to the east, sailed to HAWAII through the typhoon-swept PACIFIC. After encircling OAHU, they submerged and waited for a chance to strike.
Even this was a waiting game, and if the course of events turned for the better our submarine mission would have ended in scouting PEARL HARBOR. The Government, however, with the interview at WASHINGTON on the 20th as a turning point, arrived at the decission that negotiation was useless and that war was inevitable. Therefore, war strategy had to be planned hastily. JAPAN's movements clearly commenced on 21 November. This was indeed an epiech-making day in the history. The public thinks that JAPAN finally made up her mind to fight because of AMERICA's "ultimatum" at the 4th interview on 26 November in which Secretary of State HULL enumerated the four fundamental principles (multilateral non-agression pact, immediate withdrawal from CHINA, and FRENCH INDO-CHINA and denial of the NANKINE regime) but it was on 20 November that our Government and General Headquarters determined to open hostilities.
Now, speedy action took place. In conjunction with the submarines in Hawaiian waters, an order was given to the Mobile Fleet to ''stand out to wea and wait". It was 25 November, the "sea" meant CAIHITOCAP Bay of YETOROP, CHISHIMA. Our Mobile Fleet, with the First Aircraft Carrier Fleet, left various bases and assembled at CHIHITOCAP Bay far in the north. The AKAGI, the KAGA the SORYU, the HIRYU the ZUIKAKU and the SHOKAKU all regular aircraft carriers, the high-speed battleships KONGO, HARUNA, HIEL, KIRISHIMA, the new new air defence cruisers, TONE CHIKUMA, Numberl Torpedo flotilla with the KAWAUCHI as flagship, tank boats and supply boats, - a fleet comprising 46 ships in all, assembled in sparsely populated CHIHITOCAP Bay. On the morning of 3 December, when the in abitants of that island awoke and scanned the sea there was not a shadow of the ships which until the previous night were spread all over the bay.
Prepared as we were for the war we were not yet certain of hostilities. It was at the meeting held on 2 December in the Emperor's presence that the war against AMERICA and ENGLAND was formally decided on, but with the proviso that a war would not be resorted to if there was any other way out.
General Headquarters issued on that very day the historic order to the whole forces for the commencement of hostilities. Our tactical movements in case of war had been carefully prearranged, and the plans had already been issued to all the forces. The order of "War - opening of hostilities" was passed on in the code of "XB". Even though this fateful "XB" was communicated it was done so on condition that in case a way was found for a smooth termination of the negotiations a separate order for the suspension of activities would be issued.
On receipt of "XB" our Mobile Force took a great circular course from CHISHIMA and pressed on to HAWAII.
At 0330, 8 December, (0800 7 December, Hawaiion time) the order to attach PEARL HARBOR was issued. The whole nation learned for the first
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POLITICAL SERIES: 68 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
time of the opening of hostilities at 1800 through the General Headquarter's announcement. War had started only two and one half hours before the broadcast.
As stated above, both the decision of the council on 2 December and General Headquarter's order carried provison with a faint hope for amicable settlement, but on 5 December the Government at last made the final determination. On that day it wired Ambassadors NOMURA and KURUSU at WASHINGTON to announce the termination of negotiations. On the same day, the Government announced in the names of the Foreign and Communications Offices that it would send the ASAWA MARU to repatriate the Japanese residents in MALAY and British BORNEO and that it would have the TATSUTA MARU, which left YOKOHAMA on 2 December for LOS AHGELES and PANAMA, touch at MEKICO for the purpose of bringing back the Japanese in the UNITED STATES. The dispatch of the TATSUTA MARU was simply a trick. On board that ship a British Naval officer was a passenger. According to him the ship never allowed the use of wireless and took an eastern circling course in the northern PACIFIC. When she reached 180° east longitude she turned her bow to the south and on the morning of 8 December was back off CHOSHI.
The Government's intention was to hand the note of termination of the negotiation and cessation of diplomatic relations to the AMERICAN Government 30 minutes before the outbreak of the war, that is 0300 hours, but due to damage to the telegram decoding took more time that usual so that it was 0410 that our representatives handed the note to the American Government.
The time that the Emperor signed the Declaration of War was 1130 on 8 December. The Government however, felt that the Emperor's signature on the Declaration of War was simply a matter of internal procedure, and, viewed from the point of view of international law, a cessation of diplomatic relations was the expression of war intent.
The plan was minutely laid out. The surprise attach on HAWAII was planned by Admiral YAMAMOTO, Isoroku, Commander-in-Chief of the combined squadrons. As soon as the decison was arrived at, at the council on 2 December, the admiral was summoned to the Imperial Palace. Prior to this, at a tactical conference at General Headquarters it was Admiral YAMAMOTO who strongly advocated the plan of a forced attack on PEARL HARBOR immediately on the outbreak of war. He would not yield in the belief that to facilitate the invasion into the south it was essential that the American PACIFIC Fleet at PEARL HARBOR, especially its battleships and aircraft carriers, must be neutralized. Therefore our main target of attack was the battleships and aircraft carriers. Owing to the fact that some forces were out of the port our Navy let slip the chance of getting hold of the aircraft carriers.
The details of the plan were worked out by Rear-Admiral UGAKI, Matome, Chief of Staff of the combined squadron and Captain KURODA, Kameto. The aerial attacks were divided into air torpedo attack and level bombing by the First Attacking Force (under Commander FUCHIDA of the AKAGI), and bombing by the Second Attacking Force (under Lieutenant- Commander SHIMAZAI of the ZUIKAKU). The attacks were carried out for about three hours starting at 0800. In order to prevent the torpedoes from submerging too deeply in the shallow waters of PEARL HARBOR special, side wings were attached to them. The plan was so minutely worked out that even code word, "TORA", meaning "we have succeeded in the surprise attack" had been prepared.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 68 (Continued)
ITEM 2 The First Court Martial To Be Opened On 17 December. War Criminals Moved From Omori To Sugamo - Asahi Shimbun - 9 Dec 45. Translator: K. Murakami.
The trial for persons responsible for the war and war criminals of JAPAN is rapidly being prepared by Mr. KEENAN, chief public prosecutor, and his party which recently arrived. Court Martial for war criminals is to be held first in YOKOHAMA on 17 December. This trial is for those reputed to be guilty of brutalities to UNITED STATES' prisoners of war. Three hundred Japanese soldiers and civilians are accused of atrocities.
Forty-eight war criminals in the OMORI Camp, including General TOJO, the members of his Cabinet and some general officers were moved to the SUGAMO War Criminals' Camp on 7 December. Consequently the OMORI Camp has become vacant. All prisoners awaiting trial as war criminals are to be imprisoned in the SUGAMO Camp. Colonel HARDY, commander of the OMORI War Criminals' Camp, said that the SUGAMO Camp was a modern Jail like those in AMERICA.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0068, 1945-12-13.
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