Shift of Emphasis in National Policy from Political
to Military Strategy
Japan's National Defense Policy
The "Imperial Doctrine for National Security" drawn up in 1909, and revised just after the Washington Disarmament Treaty, gave the general plan for national defense and the military strength required therefor in a broad and vague outline.
This policy document named the United States and Russia as the most likely enemies of Japan but did not give any special emphasis to Great Britain or China. It further stated that should Japan be driven to war she should plan to fight only one country-at a time. The Navy, at all times, stressed the importance of the potential threat to Japan by the United States while the Army was equally strong in its contention that Russia constituted the greatest danger to Japan's security. Although the military strength required for national defense was revised with the passing of time and the changing international situation, the basic policy remained unchanged. All attempts to obtain a large-scale revision of the document failed, since the establishment of defense priorities could not be agreed upon by the Army General Staff and Navy General Staff.
Each year, the Army General Staff and Navy General Staff drew up operations plans against the United States and Russia and also against China, although not too much attention was given to the China operations plan. When agreement was reached between the
General Staffs, the plans were submitted for Imperial sanction and then delivered to the War and Navy Ministers. These annual operation plans, together with the "Annual Imperial Navy Wartime Organization" constituted the basis for armament, mobilization, training and all other command and administrative functions in the Navy. These operations plans at no time called for total war. For example, the operations plan against the United States for 1940 merely stated, "The Imperial Navy shall destroy the United States bases and her military strength in the Far East, in cooperation with the Army, in the opening phase of the war and maintain command of the sea in the Far East by intercepting and crushing the United States Fleet invading the Far East." It stipulated the strength to be employed and gave general operational policies, but no specific over-all strategy for war in the Pacific. Thus, it could hardly be called a plan for total war against the United States.
After the advent of the China Incident, diplomatic relations with Great Britain, as well as with the United States, became strained so that it was impossible to confine the possible adversary to the United States. It, therefore, became necessary to supplement the annual operations plan with a new section for simultaneous operations against Great Britain and to form a concrete plan of operations to deal with those countries against which war might possibly be waged.
Prior to this, although the Japanese Armed Forces had studied probable strategy to defend Japan against all other nations, no
formal plan against Great Britain had been tendered for Imperial sanction, as Great Britain had not been regarded as a direct threat to Japan's security. Until this time, hopes had always been strongly entertained that oil would be obtained from the Netherlands East Indies by peaceful means and it was felt, under the circumstances, that it was not necessary to make detailed plans for defense against Great Britain.
In March 1941, the Navy General Staff had completed only an extremely rough study of war strategy against the United States and Great Britain on a total war scale. It may safely be assumed, therefore, that, during the first half of 1941; Japan did not envisage the possibility of an all-out war against these two countries in the near future. During this period of strained diplomatic relations, Japan still hoped that war would be averted by negotiations, and even when it became evident that war was inevitable Japan's leaders did not appear to approach the situation realistically. Their political maneuvers against the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and China were based on vague war strategy rather than on a definite plan. This was clearly demonstrated during the Privy Council discussions on 26 September 1940 in regard to the Tripartite Pact (Monograph 146 Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part II). During these discussions, the Army and Navy Ministers when replying to questions in regard to Japan's war strategy, should it be necessary to go to war with the United States,
were evasive, stating broad policy but giving no specific strategy to cope with a war waged simultaneously against the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and China.
In other words, at the time the Japanese Armed Forces entered southern French Indo-China, Japanese national policy was guided by political strategy without consideration being given to a definite total war plan. In spite of the fact that the possibility of war between Japan and the United States was already foreseen, it would appear that Japan's political strategy was not based on any definite military strategical plan, and that only a fragmentary study of total war had been conducted by the various departments.
On 19 October, 1940, the Total War Research Institute (Soryokusen Kenkyujo) was established, but this institute functioned as a research organization furnishing specific studies on national policy rather than in an advisory capacity to the Government.
Strengthening of Strategic Measures (First half 1941)
Military Strategy Against China
The Japanese strategic policy toward the China Incident up to the end of 1940 has been described in Monographs 144 and 146 Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Parts I and II.
On 13 November 1940, this policy was revised at an Imperial Conference in accordance with "Policies for the Settlement of the China Incident" and, during the first half of 1941, measures were
taken to restore and increase the national defense potential to provide for the development of a new war strategy. The following matters pertaining to military strategy were contained in "Policies for the settlement of the China Incident:"
The settlement of the China Incident will be based on the "Principles to Cope with the Changing World Situation" decided upon in July 1940.
1. The speedy downfall of the Chungking regime will be brought about by breaking its will to resist through every conceivable military and political maneuver, to include continued armed warfare, the strengthening of measures to stop aid to the Chunking regime from the United States and Great Britain and the adjustment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union.
2. A positive improvement of conditions at home and abroad will be achieved while at the same time, preparations will be made for the execution of a large scale protracted war in order to increase Japan's national defense potential necessary for the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.
3. The Tripartite Alliance will be enforced in order to accomplish this.
It was decided that if peace with the Chungking regime was not restored by the end of 1940, that Japan would revise her war policy, in accordance with the following strategy, in order to bring about the downfall of the Chungking regime:
While endeavoring to improve the general situation, Japan will prepare for a protracted war. In order to maintain her position, it will be necessary for her to secure the strategic territories of Inner Mongolia, North China and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River up to the vicinity of Hankow, part of the Kwangtung Province and strategic points along the coast of South China; constantly maintain tactical flexibility; preserve peace and order in the occupied areas and, at the same time, continue sea blockade and air operations.
The reasons given for proposing these policies were that in view of the unprecedented change in the international situation and the conclusion of the Tripartite Alliance, it would become increasingly urgent for Japan, as leader of Greater East Asia, to secure and bolster her over-all national porter. As there appeared to be little
hope for the early downfall of the Chungking regime, Japan would be compelled to base her political and military policies on a protracted war plan, but, at the same time, would urge the new Central Government in China to cooperate in the execution of various measures to increase Japan's war potential speedily and carry out military operations on a self-supporting basis. Internally, Japan would-revamp and strengthen her national wartime structure and endeavor to further expand and strengthen the national defense potential.
In short, Japan would have to be fully prepared to cope with the future changes in the world situation and at the same time, to completely overthrow the Chungking regime.
During the first half of 1941, therefore, Japan, in accordance with the above policy, devoted herself to the adjustment and stock-piling of war resources in preparation for possible new emergencies, and endeavored to replenish her depleted military strength, caused by the China Incident.
Advocacy of the Malaya Invasion
In the first half of 1941, swayed by German propaganda and the urgent need for oil from the Netherlands, Japan began to regard Great Britain, rather than the United States, as the principal enemy to be overcome. This was particularly evident after Foreign Minister Matsuoka's visit to Europe in March and April, when Hitler and Ribbentrop urged that Japan take Singapore. They stated that Great
Britain was the greatest opposer of the new order and that it would be advantageous to Japan to adopt a positive role in the war against Great Britain. They emphasized that Japan's early attack on Singapore would be a decisive factor in the downfall of Great Britain and that in taking Singapore, Japan would gain a tremendous advantage for negotiation with the Netherlands East Indies.
This concept strongly influenced the Japanese authorities, particularly the Army, and the invasion of Malaya began to be advocated. Although the Japanese Navy had for years studied operations against Hongkong, an over-all war plan against British possessions in the Pacific had never formally been considered. It was now felt that with British naval power present in Singapore and her air power deployed in Malaya, a direct landing operation against Malaya, without first securing staging bases in Thailand or southern French Indo-China, would be absolutely impossible. Therefore, early in 1941, the Japanese Government brought political pressure to bear on these two countries, and, as stated in Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part III, by strongly backing in Thailand's claims, placed that country under heavy obligations to Japan. At the same time, bases were obtained in French Indo-China through diplomatic negotiations.
The Navy then began to study operational plans against Great Britain, using either southern French Indo-China or Thailand as a jumping-off place. These plans were included as part of the annual
operations plan, but no plan was made for simultaneous action against Great Britain, the United States, the Netherlands and China.
Operational Policy Against the United States, Great
Britain and the Netherlands East Indies
With the complete breakdown of negotiations between Japan and the Netherlands East Indies on 18 June 1941, Japan became highly apprehensive of her vital oil supply. It was feared, also, that unless Japan took the initiative, that the United States and Great Britain, by launching a political, economic and military offensive against Thailand and French Indo-China, would gain control of those countries. In order to cope with this situation, therefore, an "Outline of the Empire's National Policy to Cope with the Changing World Situation" was decide upon at an Imperial Conference on 2 July, and, in accordance with this policy, Japanese forces entered southern French Indo-China on 31 July. ( Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part III). This move was made in order to strengthen Japan's strategical position and to enable her to threaten force against the Netherlands East Indies, to compel that country to come to terms in regard to oil. To the complete surprise of both Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government, this led to a general United States embargo against Japan. Japan had hoped to adjust the situation by diplomatic negotiations but the United States and Great Britain applied drastic economic pressure by freezing Japanese assets overseas and placing
an embargo on oil to Japan. This, together with the Netherlands East Indies' refusal to supply Japan with oil, virtually forced Japan to study plans for war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies.
An operational policy was formed by supplementing, unifying and adjusting the operational policy against the Netherlands to the annual operational policy against the United States and Great Britain. In forming this policy it was necessary to attach primary importance to the various requirements of a war plan and to subordinate the operations policy to them due to the paramount importance of Japan's seizing the southern area, rich in natural resources in the shortest possible time, before her domestic resources were depleted. (The term "operational policy" as used here refers to military plans for the armed forces. "War plan" designates mobilization of the entire country for total war, to include manpower, industry, transportation, etc.)
On 29 July 1941, having in mind President Roosevelt's announcement of 24 July that the United States would impose an embargo on oil shipments to Japan unless the Japanese forces were withdrawn from French Indo-China, President of the Planning Board Suzuki felt it necessary to submit to the Government and to Imperial General Headquarters a report of the resources it would be necessary for Japan to mobilize in the event of war, and urged them to execute a war aimed at the acquisition of resources in line with these demands.
(Appendix 1) He concluded the report by saying:
Since the actual condition of Japan's material resources is as stated in this report, once we have formed actual plans for war we must adhere to them and not be swayed by local changes in the international political situation. Under present conditions, it is extremely difficult to develop our national power by depending on the United States and Great Britain for the acquisition of materials. If steps are not taken to remedy the position, Japan will find herself completely without resources and unable to defend herself in the future. Japan, therefore, is now forced to make a final decision without hesitation. In view of the inseparable relationship between the southern and northern areas of the international political situation, it is hoped that a command plan will be formed to guide armed warfare so as to convert operational gains into productive use in the shortest possible time.
Under such circumstances, even the minimum demands of a materials mobilization plan could not be met unless Japan seized the southern area, rich in natural resources, at the outset of war and gained command of the sea and air by swiftly destroying the military strength of the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands in that area. With this in mind, the following operational plans were carefully studied.
1. An attack to be launched upon Malaya and the Philippines, after capturing the Netherlands East Indies during the opening phase of hostilities. 2. Advance to be made clockwise along the operations line running from the Philippines to Borneo, Java, Sumatra and Malaya. 3. Advance to be made counter-clockwise along the operations line running from Malaya to Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Philippines so as to delay the outbreak of war with the United States as long as possible. 4. Attacks to be made on the Philippines and Malaya simultaneously and then successive and swift advances to be
made southward along these two lines of operations.
Several discussions took place between the Army and Navy High Commands in regard to these four plans. It was agreed that Plan No 1, whereby the Netherlands East Indies would be occupied in one swift movement, leaving at the rear of the line of operations, the United States and British powerful bases of the Philippines and Malaya was not feasible. The Navy was in favor of Plan No 2 while the Army insisted on Plan No 3. The Navy felt that Plan No 2 was the best method from the standpoint of sequence for the concentration and employment of forces and extension of the operations line. It was feared, however, that by the time Sumatra and Malaya were attacked, that their defenses would be so powerful that they could be able to withstand our offensive. Plan No 3 might, as a political maneuver, delay the United States' participation in the war, as Germany asserted it would, by by-passing the Philippines. Even if Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies were occupied as strategic moves, however, if the powerful United States Navy and Air Forces were deployed to strengthen the Philippines, they could possibly disrupt our line of operations and cause us to abandon already occupied areas. Moreover, if the attack on the Philippines, the most powerful area in the line of operations, "mere postponed, eventually these islands would become impregnable.
After serious study of the merits end demerits of the plans,
Plan No 4 was finally adopted. This plan called for the swift advance southward of our forces along the two lines of operations to the oil fields in simultaneous operations in the Philippines and Malaya, insofar as strength permitted.
This was the situation about the middle of August 1941.
Suede of Naval Operations Plan against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies
With the basic study completed and the broad outline of the operations plan agreed upon by the Army and Navy Supreme Commands the Navy began to work out details of the plan. By early September, Imperial General Headquarters, Navy Section, had practically completed a draft of the operations plan, which was to be studied through the customary Combined Fleet's table maneuvers. From 10 to 13 September the Combined Fleet assembled all commanding officers and staff officers of the Fleet at the Naval Staff College, Tokyo, to carry out table maneuvers on a somewhat larger scale than the usual Combined Fleet table maneuvers carried out annually with the assistance of the Naval General Staff personnel. Commander in Chief Yamamoto of the Combined Fleet acted as the chief referee.
The plans studied during these maneuvers were for the south Pacific operations to capture the strategically important United States, British and Dutch areas in the Orient and to control the surrounding sea area while a surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands was examined. In the case of the operations against the United
States, British and Dutch areas in the Orient, the maneuvers were conducted exhaustively, while a study of the surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands was made in the utmost secrecy with specially appointed personnel, including separate research groups.
These maneuvers provided a good insight into the adequacy of the basic strategic concept and various opinions were expressed as to its feasibility. Imperial General Headquarters, Navy Section, using these plans as a basis, immediately began to formulate a naval operations plan against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies, and, in agreement with the Army, the Naval Operations Plan was informally decided upon on 20 October. On 29 October, the informal draft plan was submitted to the Combined Fleet Headquarters to aid their drafting of the Combined Fleet operations plan and to aid the various units in making their preparations along the lines of the draft plan. The operations plan of Imperial General Headquarters and the Combined Fleet is explained in detail in Monograph 152, Political Strategy Prior to Outbreak of War, Part V.
Transition of National Policy from Political
Strategy to Military Strategy
The "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" ratified at the Imperial Conference on 6 September 1941 is fully described in Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to Outbreak of War, Part III. Further comment is made hereunder to clarify the transition from a policy emphasizing political strategy to one
emphasizing military strategy.
In Item 1 of the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" it was stated:
The Empire, determined to face a war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands for the sake of self-existence and self-defense, will complete preparations for war with early October as the approximate deadline.
This was based on a request from Imperial General Headquarters, because unless there was an Imperial sanction to start war preparations, the Army and Navy could not undertake these preparations in earnest, and unless some date for completion of the preparations were given, neither the Government nor Imperial General Headquarters could establish an actual deadline. The time for the completion of war preparations, therefore, was fixed as early October.
At that time, the state of the Japanese Navy's war preparations was as follows:
Early that year, in order to provide for any eventuality in the strained international situation, preparations requiring much time under the annual mobilization and war preparations, plan, especially for defense and guard duty, were begun, and, as the situation became increasingly tense, ships and necessary war materials were requisitioned. The United States, British and Dutch embargo in August stepped up the tempo of war preparations. However, since in the past the Mobilization and War Preparation Plan had been based on war with one nation, it was realized that it was necessary to now launch all-out war preparations if war was to be begun with suffi-
cient fuel oil in stock to carry out the plans. Therefore, a date was fixed in order to accelerate completion of preparations for war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies.
Item 3 of the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" stated:
In case, there is little possibility that our demands can be realized by diplomatic negotiations mentioned in the preceding paragraph by the beginning of November, the Empire will resolve to wage war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. The policy toward areas other than the southern regions will be carried out in accordance with the established national policy, and special efforts will be made to prevent the formation of a united front by the United States and the Soviet Union.
This clause did not actually mean that the decision was made to go to war but rather placed a time limit on diplomatic negotiations, and, in anticipating the date of the outbreak of hostilities from a strategical standpoint, provided formal standards for the concrete formation of war and operations plans.
Supreme Command's Proposal to the Government in Regard
to the Transition from Peace to War
(24 September 1941)
In late September, as diplomatic negotiations seemed to be making absolutely no headway, the Supreme Command , its patience taxed to the limit, submitted the following proposal, over the joint
2. "Supreme Command" differs from "Imperial General Headquarters" in that the Emperor was present at meetings of the Supreme Command.
signatures of the Chiefs of the Army and Navy General Staffs, to the Government.
Subject: Forecast of the Outcome of Diplomatic Negotiations concerning Peace or War. From: Chiefs of Army and Navy General Staffs. Date: 24 September 1941 In regard to the opportune moment for Japan to commence hostilities against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, in accordance with the "Outline for the Execution of the National Policy," the changeover from political to military strategy should be decided by 15 October at the latest by attaching importance to operational requirements. The reasons for this are: 1. Although this matter has already been decided at an Imperial Conference, in view of the unexpectedly slow progress of diplomatic negotiations, the shortage of time and the increas- ing urgency of operational demands, the Supreme Command wishes to express its views on the matter and requests careful considera- tion thereof by the Government. 2. From the standpoint of war guidance, the present supply of Japanese war resources and the national potential will have a far-reaching effect upon the execution of operations. In view of the enormous military preparations being made by the United States, and by the other powers, it is obvious that each day's delay increases Japan's operational disadvantages. In planning operations great importance should also be attached to climatic conditions. It is imperative that the greater part of the operations in the southern area be completed by the middle of March in consideration of a possible attack by the Soviet Union. Therefore, the operations against the southern area must commence by the middle of November. 3. On the above grounds, the Army and Navy Supreme Commands have started operational preparations in order to be in a position to commence hostilities, if necessary, early in November. The operational preparations of the Army call for the mobili- zation and special organization of units in Japan Proper and the recall and transfer of troops engaged in operations in Manchuria and China. It is planned to accomplish this partly before Japan makes a formal decision to go to war and to complete the prepara- tions after the decision is made. The first order has already been issued and troops, being transported since 23 September, are
scheduled to reach south China and Formosa some time in the latter part of October. During this move every possible precau- tion will be taken to prevent the incitement of the negotiating powers or to do anything that may obstruct diplomatic negotia- tions. Units to be subsequently activated will constitute the principal item of the current operational preparations. These troops are scheduled to be strategically deployed in an area, to include southern French Indo-China, about 15 October. This movement of forces will be governed by Japan's decision to com- mence hostilities. In regard to the Navy's operational preparations, the forces to be committed to the operations must complete preparations by the middle of October but the order for their deployment in the vast area necessary for the commencement of operations will not be issued before a final decision to wage war is made. For the reasons stated above, and from the viewpoint of over-all war guidance and the relationship between operational guidance and operational preparations against the southern area, the changeover from political to military strategy must be decided by 15 October at the latest. Therefore, diplomatic negotiations must be carried out in full cognizance of this.
The above proposal of Supreme Command was especially significant in that it brought pressure to bear on the Government to decide on war or peace by fixing the deadline at 15 October. It must be admitted that. in the last analysis, Japanese national policy was forced along the lines which finally led to the situation wherein a large scale war was inevitable by the Supreme Command's insistence on this deadline. Until this time, Japanese national policy was generally pursued with primary importance being attached to political strategy and secondary importance to military strategy, but, after September, military strategy became the underlying factor of national policy and political strategy assumed a subordinate role. The military dominated the Japanese Government and, by its insistence on this policy, finally led Japan to war.
Supreme Command took every precaution to insure that these operational preparations were conducted in the utmost secrecy in order to prevent their being regarded as an obstruction to diplomatic negotiations.
Acceleration of Navy's War Preparations
In early September, the Navy started over-all war preparations including increasing air strength and requisitioning ships. (Monograph No 160, Outline of Naval Armament and Preparations for war, Part III.) The Army-Navy Central agreement on operations also gradually began to crystallize.
About 1 October, the Navy strengthened its Inner Combat Force with requisitioned ships and consolidated defense preparations against the initial enemy blow and, in mid-October, the Combined Fleet launched a special training program to put the final touches to the training of each force for its scheduled mission. (Monograph No 160, Outline of Naval Armament and Preparations for war, Part III.)
On 20 October, the operations plan of Imperial General Headquarters generally was completed and details worked out to the extent that they could be unofficially announced to the Combined Fleet. (For the Navy's war preparations and operations plan see Monographs Nos 152, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part V, and 160, Outline of Naval Armament and Preparations for war, Part III.)
As the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" was revoked with the formation of the Tojo Cabinet, it was necessary that an over-all decision be made as to whether Japan would go to war or yield to the demands of the United States. Until such a decision was made, it was impossible to obtain formal Imperial sanction to an operations plan against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands that was more than an annual operations plan. On 24 October, therefore, the Combined Fleet was instructed that the operations plan submitted on the 20th was to be regarded as an unofficial one. Based on this plan, the Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet began to prepare a draft operational order.
Japan found it extremely difficult to cope fully with the changeover from political to military strategy. With the deterioration of the economic situation, however, particularly as her oil reserve was being drained away day by day with little hope of replenishment, she found it impossible to remain passive.
On 7 October, Chief of the Naval General Staff Nagano expressed the following opinion to the Chief of the Army General Staff Sugiyama. He expressed the same opinion at the Liaison Conference between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government.
The undue extension of the tine limit for the purpose of continuing negotiations will deprive us of the opportunity of taking the initiative in war and, in consequence, will make the carrying out of future operations more difficult. Therefore,
it is necessary to successfully conclude negotiations within the prescribed time limit. We cannot agree to continue hopeless diplomatic negotiations.
Although the successful conclusion of the diplomatic negotiations depends to a certain degree on the attitude of the United States, Japan's attitude must also be clearly defined and negotiations must be carried out with the conviction that their success can be assured. Without this conviction, it is foolish to continue negotiations.
Adjustment of negotiations will be utterly impossible if Japan maintains the attitude that all her claims have already been stated and she is therefore, only concerned with theoretical discussions or minor modifications. The first problem is to determine whether or not a fundamental change in policy can be instituted and if, with this change, negotiations can be successfully concluded. Once negotiations are undertaken after the extension of the time limit, it is of the utmost importance for Japan that the negotiations be concluded successfully.
This opinion was advanced prior to Prime Minister Konoye's five-minister conference held at his residence on the outskirts of Tokyo on 12 October. (Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part III.) The reason for advancing this opinion to the Chief of the Army General Staff at this time was in order to obtain clarification of the army authorities' intention as the Army was in a position to take the initiative in making the final decision on the withdrawal of troops from China and of going to war in the southern area.
Preparations in Anticipation of Outbreak of War
The circumstances leading up to the formation of the Tojo Cabinet, following the resignation of the Third Konoye Cabinet on 17 October 1941, and the conferences held by the new Cabinet on the basic conditions of peace or war, immediately after its formation,
are described in Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part III. The conclusions arrived at by the Liaison Conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government from 23 to 30 October are given in Appendix 2. These estimates became the basis of the national policy in anticipation of the outbreak of hostilities, decided upon at the Imperial Conference on 5 November, and constituted the substance of Japan's "Estimate of the Situation" just prior to the Pacific War.
At the Liaison Conference on 30 October, the President of the Planning Board explained that in the event of Japan going to war in early December, it would be necessary to occupy the oil fields in the southern area within four or five months in order to obtain sufficient oil to continue fighting. Even if this were accomplished, taking into consideration Japan's present stockpile of oil and the time it would take to bring the southern oil fields into production, there would be a period when Japan's oil supply would be dangerously low. In the event of the outbreak of war being delayed until March, and with the continued consumption of oil within those four months commercially as well as for war preparations, the demand would exceed the supply by the middle of the second year of war, thus rendering it impossible to continue fighting. Depending on the consumption, it was estimated that the shortage of aviation fuel would become serious in the second or third year of the war. It
was believed that shipping losses could be compensated by requisitioning further ship. 
The President of the Planning Board explained that, at that time, it would be impossible for the synthetic gasoline industry to produce the various types of liquid fuel required in any appreciable quantity.
The scheduled oil production, in the event operations were carried out in the southern area, was:
First year 850,000 tons Second year 2,600,000 tons Third year 5,300,000 tons
Considering supply and consumption, and adding the 8,400,000 tons of oil stored in Japan Proper to the above amount, the quantity of oil that would be stored was as follows:
At the end of-the-first year 2,550,000 tons At the-end of the second year 150,000 tons At the end of the third year 700,000 tons
These quantities barely would allow Japan to continue the war.
The total quantity of aviation fuel stored by the Army and Navy
 This estimate proved to be incorrect. The actual loss of ships gradually increased until, at the end of the second year of the war, losses exceeded construction.  These quantities did not include the oil already stored by the Navy at advanced bases.
as of 1 December 1941 was 1,110,000 tons. This was estimated to be sufficient to supply the Air Force for from two to three years, depending on the rate of consumption.
In regard to the transport capacity of ships for non-military use, the President of the Planning Board stated that if retention of at least 3,000,000 gross tons were possible, the amount of supplies required generally by the Materials Mobilization Plan for the fiscal year 1941 could be maintained. The maximum amount of steel that could be supplied during the 1942 fiscal year was estimated at 4,300,000 tons. Therefore, if the annual loss of ships was estimated at from 800,000 to 1,000,000 gross tons and it was possible to create annually a surplus of about 600,000 gross tons of new ships required, about 300,000 odd tons of steel, as well as cooper and other auxiliary materials would be necessary. If the allocation ratio specified in the Materials Mobilization Plan for the 1941 fiscal year was applied to the total amount of supply for that year in meeting the Army and Navy requirements for steel and other auxiliary materials, the supply of these materials would be possible.
In regard to the number of ships and the period for which they would be used for operations in the southern area, it would be necessary to follow the plan agreed upon by the Army, Navy and Planning Board.
Imperial Conference on 5 November 1941 to Form
National Policy in Anticipation of War
As a result of the conclusions arrived at the Liaison Conference from 23 to 30 October 1941, a plan was agreed upon whereby it was decided to continue negotiations in accordance with the outline of policies already formulated, but, on the other hand, to wage war in case of a breakdown in negotiations and to make preparations for such an emergency. A way was to be sought to break the stalemate by diplomatic means by the beginning of December. Should negotiations be satisfactorily concluded, preparations for military operations were to be immediately suspended. Should the negotiations break dome, however, it was decided to go to war immediately. In regard to the actual date of the declaration of war, the decision was to be made at a later date.
Having agreed upon the basic plan, a further Liaison Conference was called on 1 November, at which was decided the "Principles for the Execution of the National Policy of the Empire." To discuss and confirm this policy, an Imperial Conference were held in the Imperial Court Room, East No 1 at 1030 on 5 November 1941. Those who took part in the conference, in the presence of the Emperor, were: Tojo, Prime Minister and concurrently Minister for Home Affairs and War Minister, Togo, Foreign Minister, Kaya, Finance Minister, Shimada, Navy Minister, Suzuki, Portfolio and concurrently Planning Board President, Sugiyama, Chief of Army General Staff, Tenable, Deputy Chief of Army General Staff, Nagano, Chief of Naval General Staff,
Ito, Vice Chief of Naval General Staff and Hare, Privy Council President. The Chief Cabinet Secretary, the Chief of Military Affairs Bureau, War Ministry and the Chief of Naval Affairs Bureau, Navy Ministry were present as observers.
This conference was simply a formal meeting at which the Prime Minister, the Foreign minister, the Planning Board President, the Finance Minister, the Chief of Naval General Staff and the Chief of the Army General Staff explained the plan. The original draft had been agreed upon at the Liaison Conference between the Government and Imperial General Headquarters on 1 November when the same members had attended, with the exception of the Emperor and the Privy Council President. After Hara, the Privy Council President, had asked questions and expressed his opinion, the original draft was passed. After the signatures of the participants had been affixed to the draft, the Cabinet submitted it to the Emperor as a formal document and received his sanction on the same day.
The national policy decided upon was as follows:
Principles for the Execution of the National Policy of the Empire. 1. In order to maintain her self-existence and self-defense during the present crisis and to establish a new order in Greater East Asia, Japan, now determined to wage war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, will take the following measures: a. The time to take up arms will be set at the begin- ning of December and both the Army and the Navy will complete
operational preparations accordingly. b. Negotiations with the United States will be carried out in accordance with the outline given in the annex. c. There will be closer collaboration with Germany and Italy. d. A close military tie-up with Thailand will be effected immediately before the opening of hostilities. 2. If success in the negotiations with the United States is achieved by 0000 hours on 1 December, hostilities will be sus- pended. Annex Outline of Negotiations with the United States Negotiation with the United States will be undertaken in ac- cordance with Plans A or B, which modify important matters on which agreement could not be reached, with a view to realizing a successful conclusion to the negotiations. Plan "A" 1. Withdrawal of troops from China. The United States not only takes a serious view of Japan's stationing troops in China for an indefinite period but insists on the inclusion of this issue in the conditions for ef- fecting a peaceful settlement and demands a more definite mani- festation of Japan's intention to withdraw her troops. In view of this, Japan will relax her stand to the extent that Japanese troops dispatched to China for participation in the China In- cident will be stationed in only certain areas of North China and Mongolia and on Hainan Island for a necessary period after peace is restored between Japan and China. Withdrawal of the remaining Japanese troops will be started in accordance with an agreement to be concluded separately between Japan and China upon restoration of peace and the withdrawal will be completed within two years. 2. Stationing of troops in and withdrawal from French Indo-China. In this regard, it is acknowledged that the United
States fears Japan has territorial ambitions toward French Indo-China and intends to use this country as a base for military invasion of adjacent territories. Therefore, Japan's stand will be relaxed to the extent that the Japanese Govern- ment will respect the territorial sovereignty of French Indo- China and Japanese troops now being dispatched to French Indo- China will be withdrawn immediately upon settlement of the China Incident or upon restoration of a just peace in the Far East. 3. Trade equality in China. If agreement on this problem in accordance with the plan submitted on 25 September is deemed wholly impossible, the following plan will be proposed in lieu thereof: If the principle of trade equality is applicable throughout the world, then the Japanese Government will enforce this principle in the entire Pacific area, including China. 4. Interpretation and execution of the Tripartite Pact. The scope of the interpretation of the right of self- defense will not be magnified indiscriminately and the inter- pretation and fulfillment of the Tripartite Pact will be made by the Japanese Government. This assurance had already been given to the Unites States and, if not clearly understood, will be further explained. Plan "B" 1. Japan and the United States will pledge not to under- take any armed invasion of Southeast Asia or the South Pacific area, except French Indo-China. 2. Japan and the united States will work closely together to insure the acquisition of necessary materials from the Netherlands East Indies. 3. Japan and the United States will restore mutual trade relations to the status prior to the freezing of funds and the United States will agree to supply Japan with oil. 4. The United States will refrain from committing such acts as will hinder efforts being made toward the restoration of peace between Japan and China. Remarks: Upon conclusion of this agreement, Japan may, if
necessary, pledge to transfer her troops now stationed in southern French Indo-China to northern French Indo-China and, upon settlement of the China Incident or upon establishment of a just peace in the Pacific area, may withdrawn these troops from French Indo-China. The trade equality clause contained in Plan "A" will be inserted in Plan "B" as well as regulations for the interpretation and execution of the Tripartite Pact, if necessary.
Discussions on Proposals made at Imperial
Conference of 5 November
Prime Minister Tojo stated:
At the Imperial Conference of 6 September, the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" was discussed and ratified. This policy contained the following statement: "The Empire, determined to face a war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands for the sake of self-existence and self-defense, will complete preparations for war with early October as the approximate deadline. At the same time, the Empire will strive to attain her demands by exhausting every possible diplomatic means available toward the United States and Britain.... In case there is little possibility that our demands can be realized by diplomatic negotiations by early October, the Empire will resolve to wage war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands."
Japan, by closely coordinated political and military strategy, made every effort to bring these diplomatic negotiations to a successful conclusion but the United States refused to reconsider its position. While negotiations were still under way, the Konoye Cabinet resigned and was replaced by the Tojo Cabinet. In an endeavor to cope with the changing situation, the Government together with Imperial General Headquarters, Army and Navy Sections, decided to make an even wider and more searching study of the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" After eight liaison conferences they were firmly convinced that the only solution was war. It was decided that, if the deadlock in negotiations could not be broken, armed strength would be employed early in December and that every effort must be devoted toward the completion of operational preparations by that time. At the same time, new means of successfully concluding diplomatic negotiations must be sought.
The gist of Foreign Minister Togo's statement was that Japan could not make any further concessions to the United States on the substance of the final proposal presented in the previous negoti-
ations. Under the circumstances, it would appear that there was no hope of successfully concluding negotiations with the United States and the only alternative was to open hostilities. He then explained the plan for future negotiations with the United States and measures for collaboration with Germany and Italy.
Planning Board President Suzuki said that without a decision to commence hostilities, maintenance of the status quo through increased production of synthetic oil and other commodities was next to impossible, and, without increased production, Japan's national defense power to resist the enemy would be lost after autumn. There would then be no choice but to yield to the force of the United States.
He added that by use of war materials in stock and of resources in the southern area after the commencement of hostilities, there was an excellent prospect that the material power of the Japanese Empire would be sufficient to carry out a protracted war. He then submitted figures to substantiate these statements. 
Finance Minister Kaya stated that the financial strength of the Japanese Empire was quite capable of coping with a protracted war but that those people living in occupied areas would have to be self-supporting.
The statements of the Naval General Staff Nagano and Chief of the
 These figures are not available.
Army General Staff Sugiyama in this regard are given when dealing with the "Estimate of the Situation of the Supreme Command in Deciding the Operations Plan," (Monograph 152, Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War, Part V).
The Foreign Minister then gave details of the progress of negotiations between Japan and the United States to Privy Council President Hara and the Prime Minister added that the same four principles as were embodied in the Nine Power Treaty were in the reply received on 2 October which called for quick settlement of the China Incident.
The Foreign Minister pointed out that as the differences in the proposals submitted by Japan and the United States were so great, there was little possibility of an agreement being reached.
The Privy Council President then asked what the boundary of the southern area operations was and the time schedule for completion of the operations. The Chief of the Army General Staff stated that it was planned to launch simultaneous operations against Great Britain and the United States, to be followed by operations against the Netherlands East Indies. It was estimated that the Philippines would be conquered within 53 days, Malaya within 100 days and the Netherlands East Indies within 150 days This plan called for occupation of the entire southern area within approximately five months, but should the United States send its fleet to the Orient or should Soviet Russia enter the war, while the southern area operations were still under way, more time would be necessary.
In reply to the Privy Council President's question as to whether the Japanese Navy was capable of destroying the enemy in the southern area within the required period of time, the Chief of the Naval General Staff replied that although the United States' naval strength was 10 (40% in the Atlantic and 60% in the Pacific) against the Japanese 7.5, it would be possible to destroy surface craft in Asiatic waters and underwater craft could be neutralized, even if they should slip through. The Privy Council President said that as the plan had undergone exhaustive study it did not seem possible that there should be any miscalculations; however, in the event of the southern area operations not progressing as scheduled, he desired to know what preparations had been made against Soviet Russia's entry into the war. The Chief of the Army General Staff replied that the strength remaining in Japan Proper and troops stationed in China would be diverted to cope with this situation.
Asked how Japan's raw materials resources would be affected if Soviet submarines operated from the initial phase of the war and if enemy forces in the southern area became active, The Chief of the Naval General Staff replied that although offensive action could not be taken against Soviet Russia at the outset of the war, the losses that would be sustained in the southern area had been taken into consideration, and a thorough study by the Army, Navy and Planning Board on merchant shipping losses had shown that the supply could be maintained.
The Privy Council President stated, "It is believed that Thailand will not readily authorize passage of our troops through
their country. If negotiations with Thailand are started, Great Britain will de notified immediately. Will this hinder our operations? To which he received the reply, "Prime Minister Phibun has already been notified of our desires. If he refuses to meet our demands immediately before our troops land, there will be no alternative but to resort to force."
The Privy Council President then stated his opinion of the situation as follows:
There appears to be little hope of a successful conclusion to the diplomatic negotiations now being carried out between Japan and the United States. Both the Japanese Government and the Japanese people desire an immediate settlement of the China Incident. Negotiations with the United States are made more difficult by the fact that they appear to be acting on behalf of Chiang Kai-shek. Under the circumstances, it would appear inevitable for the Government and Imperial General Headquarters to decide to wage war.
Because of political-alliances, war between great Britain and Germany must necessarily be a contributing factor to a war between Japan and Great Britain and the United States. At the same time, we are not sure that there will be war between Germany and the United States: The Germans and Italians living in the United States have considerable influence and, if Japan declares war against the United States, the United States may be prepared to offer peace to Germany. This must be watched as it is necessary to take special precautions against the isolation and encirclement of Japan.
Prime Minister Tojo added that while every possible effort was being exerted to reach a satisfactory solution by diplomatic negotiations and a protracted war would not be to Japan's advantage, submission to the United States was inevitable if the status quo was not improved. It was, therefore, necessary to make a decision in regard to whether or not Japan would go to war, but, at the same time,
every precaution should be taken if Japan decided to go to war to prevent the war from developing into a racial war.
Having decided that war was inevitable, the operations plan previously decided upon informally was then given formal sanction by the Emperor. This was followed by the issuance of operational orders, completion of operational preparations and deployment of forces.
Decision to go to War
As mentioned above, Japan felt that the last concessions she could make in negotiations with the United States were stated in Plans "A" and "B". The Hull note dated 26 November (Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to Outbreak of War, Part III.), however, demanded Japan's complete submission to United States' conditions, to include the withdrawal of Japanese forces from all China, including Manchuria, and the rejection of military, political and economic aid to any administration other than the Chungking Government. On 27 November, a Liaison Conference was held between the Government and Imperial General Headquarters, and the decision reached that, under existing circumstances, war was inevitable.
No official record is available, but War Minister Tojo described the meeting in testimony before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. (Appendix 3)
On 29 November, the Government, in compliance with the Emperor's
wish, summoned the Senior Statesmen to the Imperial Palace to a conference, known as the "Senior Statesmen's Conference." The meeting actually was an informal talk in the presence of the Emperor rather than a formal conference. Those present were Prince Konoye, Baron Hiranuma, General Hayashi, General Abe, Admiral Okada, Admiral Yonai, Baron Wakatsuki and Mr. Hirota, all former Prime Ministers, as well as Mr. Hara, President of the Privy Council. The Government made known their conviction that war with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands could not be avoided and asked the opinions of the Senior Statesmen. After discussion, the Senior Statesmen concurred in the Government's decision that "war was inevitable."
There is no accurate record of this meeting available, but War Minister Tojo in his testimony before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East described the proceedings. (Appendix 4)
Imperial Conference - 1 December 1941
On the afternoon of 1 December 1941, an Imperial Conference was held in the presence of the Emperor in Room East 1 (Higashi ichi-no ma) of the Imperial Palace to discuss the question of commencement of hostilities against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Those present were:
Prime Minister, concurrently Minister for Home Affairs and Minister of War Tojo Hideki (General) Minister of Foreign Affairs, concurrently Minister of Overseas Affairs Togo Shigenori Minister of Finance Kaya Okinori Minister of Navy Shimada Shigetaro (Admiral) Minister of Justice Iwamura Michiyo Minister of Education Hashida Kunihiko Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Ino Hiroya Minister of Commerce and Industry Kishi Nobusuke Minister of Communications and concurrently Minister of Railways Terashima Ken (Vice Admiral) Minister of Public Welfare Koizumi Chikahiko (Lieutenant General) State Minister without Portfolio, concurrently President of the Planning Board Suzuki Teiichi (Lieutenant General) Chief of Army General Staff Sugiyama Gen (General) Deputy Chief of Army General Staff Tanabe Moritake (Lieutenant General) Chief of Naval General Staff Nagano Osamu (Admiral) Vice Chief of Naval General Staff Ito Seiichi (Vice-Admiral)
President of the Privy Council Hara Yoshimichi Observers: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hoshino Naoki Chief of Military Affairs Bureau of War Ministry Muto Akira (Lieutenant General) Chief of Naval Affairs Bureau of Navy Ministry Oka Takazumi (Vice Admiral)
The agenda sheet read:
Commencement of hostilities against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Negotiations with the United States, based on the "Principles for the Execution of the National Policy" decided on 5 November, finally fell through. Japan will open war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Tojo explained the situation as follows:
With the permission of the Emperor, I will take charge of the proceedings today. In accordance with the decision of the Imperial Conference of 5 November, the Army and the Navy have been endeavoring to complete operational preparations, while the Government has done everything within its power and concentrated its entire effort on the adjustment of diplomatic relations with the United States. However, the United States has not only refused to reconsider her previous stand, but, in coordination with Great Britain, the Netherlands and China, has a deaf new conditions to her previous demands, requiring unilateral concessions from Japan which include unconditional over-all withdrawal of the Japanese troops from China, non-recognition of the Nanking Government and the nullification of the Tripartite Pact. Japan's submission to these demands would not only deprive her of her authority and forestall her efforts for the successful settlement of the China Incident, but would also jeopardise her very existence. Under these circumstances, it is obvious that the Japanese Empire cannot possibly realize her desires by diplomatic means. On the other hand the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and
China have been steadily increasing, their military and economic pressure upon Japan so that, from the standpoint of national strength and operations, it is now necessary for Japan to take a firm stand. Moreover, operational requirements do not permit further procrastination. Matters have now reached the point where Japan, in order to preserve her Empire, must open hostilities against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. It is to be deeply regretted that we should be compelled to undertake another war after more than four years of the China Incident and thereby cause further anxiety to the Emperor. However, considering the fact that the national strength is now several timer greater than it was at the opening of the China Incident, that the national unity is stronger than ever before and that the morale of officers and men of both the Army and Navy is high, I am firmly convinced that the nation will stand united through this national crisis.
Now, I should like you to study today's agenda. The diplomatic negotiations, matters concerning operations and other matters will be explained by the Ministers concerned and by the officers representing Imperial General Headquarters.
Foreign Minister Togo then explained the progress of diplomatic negotiations conducted on and after 5 November.
Admiral Nagano, Chief of the Naval General Staff, representing the Chiefs of both General Staffs of Imperial General Headquarters, explained the situation from the military point of view. The main points he made were:
1. The United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands are further increasing their armed strength. At the same time, the Chungking forces are redoubling their fighting power with the aid of the United States and Great Britain. From the actions of their leaders it is obvious that the United States and Great Britain have at already decided to fight.
2. Our Army and Navy have been preparing for war pursuant to the decision arrived at at the Imperial Conference of 5 November and are now ready for operational action as soon as the Imperial command is issued.
3. Every precaution is being taken through diplomatic channels to prevent war with the Soviet Union and it is believed that, for the moment, the danger has been averted.
4. The officers and men of the Army and Navy are in high spirits and are burning with a desire to serve their Emperor and their country, even at the cost of their lives. They are prepared for war immediately the Imperial order is issued.
In the capacity of Home Minister, Tojo then further explained the current public sentiment, supervision of domestic affairs, the means being adopted for the protection of aliens and diplomatic officials, and emergency precautions. Minister of Finance Kaya spoke on the nation's economic and financial strength, and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Ino on the question of food supplies in case of a protracted war.
Privy Council President Hara stated:
I realize that today's subject for discussion, which is of the greatest importance, should be decided in toto since a thorough study has already been made at Imperial Conferences but I would like to ask the following questions which do not appear to have been covered by the Government's explanations:
Does the United States when referring to China include Manchuria?
The Foreign Minister replied: "In April, the United States fully recognized Manchuria, but the subject has not since been discussed. Therefore, I am not sure, but I believe that Manchuria is included."
"Radio broadcast reports state that a meeting was held between Mr. Hull and our ambassadors. What was the purpose of this meeting?"
The Foreign Minister replied that it was presumably held in compliance with instructions from the Japanese Government.
"While it is reassuring to hear that Imperial General Headquarters has completed preparations for the commencement of hostilities, there are reports that Great Britain has dispatched the Prince of Wales and other warships to the Far East. Will this information in any way influence the preparations of Imperial General Headquarters?"
The Chief of Naval General Staff replied that while the reassignment of some naval strength would have to be considered, it would not in any way hinder the execution of the anticipated operations.
"Will the reinforcement of enemy ground troops obstruct our plan?"
The Chief of the Army General Staff replied that although there might be some reinforcement necessary later, it would not in any way jeopardize the present operational plan."
"What is Thailand's attitude? Does the operations plan pre-suppose Thailand's joining the enemy camp?"
To which the reply was made that notification to Thailand would be made at the last possible moment in order to prevent her as far as possible from becoming an enemy nation.
"'I am deeply impressed by the various studies for domestic measures to be taken after the commencement of hostilities. The policy for prevention of damage from bombings stresses supervision of all effort in fire-fighting, but what measures will be taken to house and feed the refugees in case of a wide-spread fire?"
He was told that while some of the victims would be evacuated,
those remaining would be provided with housing of simple construction.
Privy Council President Hara then expressed the hope that thorough and concrete plans would be made in regard to taking care of the refugees and added:
We have always hoped to conclude negotiations with the United States through the concessions we have been prepared to make. It is to be regretted that, contrary to our expectations, the reply received on the 26th indicates no change in the attitude the United States has maintained since the outbreak of the Manchurian Incident. The Japanese Empire can concede nothing further. If she does, the gains obtained from the Sino-Japanese war in 1894 will be completely nullified. It is to be regretted that we are compelled to fight another war after having been engaged in the China Incident for more than four years, but the conclusion of diplomatic negotiations with the United States is hopeless, in spite of everything we have done. Commencement of hostilities against Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands is inevitable. Victory in the initial phase of the war is beyond doubt but carrying out a protracted war under favorable conditions will be extremely difficult, because Japan is not able to stockpile vast quantities of war materials. Even in the days of the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, had these wars been protracted, great hardships would have been encountered. The earliest possible settlement of hostilities must always be a primary consideration. To achieve victory in war the coordinated effort of the entire nation must be sought and preparations made to counter enemy strikes. As some people may be not able to endure the hardships imposed upon them, special efforts should be made by the Minister for Home Affairs to enforce thorough control of the people. As there is no alternative, I am compelled to give my consent to this plan. We must have confidence in our soldiers, be convinced of victory in war and, at the same time, leave no stone unturned to maintain the nation's unity over a long period.
To this, Prime Minister Tojo replied: 
We will take every care in regard to the general war measures you have mentioned. Also, we will exert our utmost efforts to bring the war to the earliest possible conclusion. The Government and Imperial General Headquarters are proceeding with their war plans with the very definite understanding that, even after we have made our decision to fight, we will suspend operational moves at any time, provided the United States accedes to our requests before the war breaks out, and grants us an opportunity to find a peaceful solution to the situation. In case of a long war, every precaution will be taken to prevent restlessness among the people and to insure that law and order will be maintained.
I understand that all questions and opinions have already been advanced and that there are no dissenting voices in regard to today's agenda. In closing, I wish to say that the Japanese Empire is now on the threshold of progress or collapse. We realize that our responsibility to our country is great at this critical time. If His Majesty decides on war, we will further strengthen our resolution to serve his cause and ease his august mind by insuring complete cooperation between the Government and Imperial General Headquarters in carrying out, with careful thought and foresight, our plans and measures, thus maintaining national unity of purpose and a firm confidence in ultimate victory.
The meeting is adjourned.
Throughout the meeting the Emperor did not utter one word.
All present then affixed their signatures to the documents, which were later formally sanctioned by the Emperor.
Political Measures, Internal and External, Taken Following the Decision to Open Hostilities
Having arrived at the decision to open hostilities, liaison conferences were held between the Government and Imperial General
 Taken from Prime Minister Tojo's testimony before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
Headquarters to decide on the following matters;
1. The note to be sent to the United States and the time at which it was to be delivered.
2. Principles for future guidance of war.
3. General principles for the administration of occupied territories.
4. External measures to be taken following commencement of hostilities.
5. Imperial rescript on declaration of war.
Note to be sent to the United States and Time at which it was to be Delivered.
At the Liaison Conference of 4 December, Foreign Minister Togo submitted for approval the draft of the note to the United States and the following items were agreed upon:
1. Diplomatic relations would be severed and the diplomatic procedure, such as delivery of the note containing the decision to open war would be left entirely to the Foreign Minister.
2. After the note was delivered to the Government of the, United States, as a declaration of war in accordance with international law, Japan would be able to take action freely.
3. The note would be delivered to the Government of the United States without fail before the attack was launched.
Ambassador Nomura would deliver the note to a responsible official of the United States Government. The United States Ambassador to Japan would be notified only after commencement of hostilities.
4. The time of delivery of the note to the Government of the United States would be decided after the Foreign Minister had consulted with the Chiefs of the Naval General Staff and Army General Staff.
The operations plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor and other strategic points, and other operational actions, especially the time for launching the attacks, which had been drafted in Imperial General Headquarters were not revealed officially to any cabinet members other than the Ministers for War and Navy, but it is not known whether the Chiefs of Naval General Staff and Army General Staff unofficially divulged any of these plans in any form at liaison conferences or on other occasions at court.
The wording of the note to the Government of the United States was decided on at the Cabinet meeting of 5 December and cabled to Ambassador Nomura on 6 December. At the same time, the Foreign Minister cabled Ambassador Nomura to the effect that the time of delivery of this note would be given to him later and advised him to prepare documents and all other necessary steps so that the note could be delivered at any time on receipt of instructions to take action. The contents of the note are given in Appendix 5.
In deliberating the draft of this note, the Navy authorities insisted upon inserting the clause "Japan will hereafter take action freely" at the at the end of the note. However, the Foreign Ministry authorities contended that it was unnecessary to insert this phrase, which could only mean Japan was free to commence hostilities, as the note in substance was a notice informing the Government of the United States of the suspension of negotiations. Consequently, the phrase "Japan will hereafter take action freely" was not included in the note.
The delay in the delivery of this note to the Government of the United States was contrary to the intention to the Japanese Government. It led to the Japanese forces attacking without a declaration of war - a serious breach of international law. The circumstances leading up to this situation are clearly described in Ambassador Nomura's statement pertaining to the handling of the note in Washington. (Appendix 6)
Principles for Future Guidance of War
Prior to the decision to commence hostilities, the "Basic Policy for Wartime Economy" had already been approved. It was drawn up by the planning board in early November 1941 and ratified at the Liaison Conference between the Government and Imperial General Headquarters on 12 November. This policy stated:
Japan will secure resources and materials necessary for national defense from the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, rapidly expand and develop her strength to prosecute war, intercept the
enemy supply route of strategic materials and check the expansion of hostile strength to carry out war. This will be achieved in the following manner:
a. Resources and materials necessary for national defense, especially oil, will be sought and obtained immediately and the bottleneck in the national defense production will be eliminated. At the same time, the exploitation and utilization of such resources as coal and iron in the "sphere of self-sufficiency," secured as a result of the Manchurian and China Incidents, will be greatly expanded and Japan's strength to prosecute the war will be reinforced and secured in order to check the United States' offensive following execution of her national defense policy, as well as any offensive from the north integrally connected therewith. Simultaneously, the route of supply of strategic materials to the enemy from the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere will be completely blocked, so as to retard the enemy's national defense plan.
b. In order to accomplish the objective mentioned in paragraph a, the time for the realization of planned production to insure self-sufficiency in necessary materials will be set as the end of 1943, and production and maintenance of self-sufficiency, mainly in oil (including synthetic oil) iron ore and shipbuilding will be accelerated and increased. As the present annual production capacity does not meet the requirements of the rapidly expanding strength of our country to wage war, it is imperative, therefore, to mobilize all material resources accumulated in the past and to bring Japan's real and total economic capacity into full play. 
c. The policy of reorganization of each industry in accordance with the above plan will be formulated immediately and reorganization of each industry will be effected. Moreover, the materials of each industry will be utilized to give added power to insure self-sufficiency. The policy for expenditure of national funds necessary for the above and the policy for acquisition of revenue sources will be decided immediately.
d. The minimum standard for the people's livelihood during the course of realizing the above production to insure self-sufficiency
 The nation's stockpile of steel at the end of 1939 was estimated to be approximately 59,255,000 tons, while the copper stockpiled amounted to 2,375,000 tons.
will be established and secured.
On 13 November 1941, the Liaison Conference approved the "Plan to Speedily Conclude Hostilities against the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Chiang regime." Contrary to its name, this plan was, in reality, Japan's plan for war. It stated:
1. Every effort will be exerted to destroy immediately the bases of the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands in the Far East, establish self-subsistence and self-defense structures and also to accelerate the downfall of the Chiang Kai-shek regime by adopting increasingly aggressive measures. With the assistance of Germany and Italy, efforts will be made to vanquish Great Britain in order to deprive the United States of her will to continue the war.
2. An increase in the number of hostile nations will be prevent insofar as possible and third nations will be guided into our camp. 
1. The Japanese Empire will carry out swift armed warfare in order to destroy the bases of the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands in the Far East as well as the southwest Pacific area; establish strategically important positions; and, at the same time, secure areas containing necessary resources and principal communication lines in order to make Japan self sufficient. Every possible measure will be taken to draw the main strength of the United States toward Japan Proper and to destroy it at an opportune moment.
 Russia, South America, Portugal, Norway, and Sweden were considered the most important neutral countries: Russia because of its geographical location; South America because Japan hoped to send submarines to this country to carry back much needed strategical materials; Portugal because of its possessions in the Pacific (Timor and Macao), Norway and Sweden because they had ships in the Pacific.
2. Japan, Germany and Italy will cooperate in an attempt to subjugate Great Britain.
a. To do this, the Japanese Empire will adopt the following measures:
(1) Australia and India will be alienated from Great Britain by political maneuvers and disruption of commerce.
(2) The independence of Burma will be accelerated and used as propaganda to give impetus to the independence of India.
b. Every effort will be made to persuade Germany and Italy to adopt the following measures:
(1) Carry out operations in the Near East, North Africa and Suez, and, at the same tine, take adequate measures to control India.
(2) Strengthen the blockade of the coast of Great Britain.
(3) Carry out landing operations against the mainland of Great Britain, if the situation permits.
c. The three countries will adopt the following measures in cooperation with each other:
(1) Endeavor to establish communication between the three countries by way of the Indian Ocean.
(2) Intensify sea operations.
(3) Prohibit the outflow of resources from occupied areas to Great Britain.
3. Japan, Germany and Italy will, in correlation with the measures taken toward Great Britain, take steps to deprive the United States of its will to fight. This will be achieved by the following methods:
a. Japan will take the following measures:
(1) The present regime in the Philippines will be allowed to continue in order to demonstrate that Japan is not politically interested in the Philippines.
(2) Vigorous warfare will be waged against United States commercial shipping in order to cripple its commerce.
(3) The outflow of resources to the United States from China and the South Seas area will be prohibited.
(4) Propaganda against the United States will be intensified. Principal efforts will be directed toward drawing the main body of the United States Navy to the Far East; toward the examination of United States Far Eastern policy and the realization of the meaningless of a war against Japan, thereby arousing United States public opinion against war.
(5) Alienation of Australia from the United States.
b. Germany and Italy will be asked to adopt the following measures:
(1) Execute a powerful offensive against the United States sea power in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
(2) Increase military, economic and political pressure upon Central and South America.
4. In prosecuting the war against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, every effort will be made to cut the aid to the Chiang regime. Such political and strategic measures as the discrediting of the regime by propaganda and the seizure of concessions and settlements will also be taken to accelerate the downfall of the Chiang regime. Also, Chinese residents in the Southern area will be won over to our side by allowing them to make advantageous business arrangements in the area.
5. During the operations in the Southern area, Japan will endeavor to avert hostilities with the Soviet Union insofar as possible. Should Germany and the Soviet Union desire peace, Japan will mediate between the two countries in an endeavor to win the Soviet Union over to our side. At the same time, Japan will consider, if necessary, supporting the Soviet invasion of Iran and India.
6. The present policy toward French Indo-China will be continued. Japan will urge Thailand to cooperate with the Japanese policy using "restitution from Great Britain of lost territory" as her argument.
7. While studying and keeping under strict surveillance the changing aspects of the war situation, international situation and the trend of public sentiment of the hostile countries, we will endeavor to terminate the war at the time specified below:
a. The conclusion of the principal stage of the operations in the Southern area.
b. The conclusion of the principal stage of the operations in China, particularly the capitulation of the Chiang regime.
c. The favorable turn of the European war situation, particularly at the time of the collapse of Great Britain, the end of the German-Soviet war or the success of our policy toward India.
In this regard, strong diplomatic and propaganda measures will be carried out toward the South American countries, as will as Sweden, Portugal and the Vatican.
Japan, Germany and Italy will agree not to effect a separate peace with Great Britain without directing her to induce the United States to follow suit. As a measure to accelerate the restoration of peace with the United States, consideration will be given to the supply of tin and rubber from the Southern areas and also to the handling of the Philippines.
Principles for Administration of Southern Occupied Areas
It was decided that in the beginning a military administration would be established in the occupied areas in order to effect the restoration of public peace, assist in the rapid acquisition of important national defenses resources and to help maintain the forces engaged in the operations. The final jurisdiction and future disposal of the occupied
areas was to be decided later.
In establishing a military administration, existing administrative structures were to be utilized as much as possible and racial customs to be respected.
The occupation forces were to take such measures as were considered necessary to accelerate the acquisition and exploitation of important national defense resources. Resources so secured were to be integrated into the Materials Mobilization Plan of the Central Authorities,  and such materials as were necessary for the support of the forces engaged 1n the operations would then be allotted to the respective areas according to the distribution plan.
As far as possible, the transportation of materials to Japan Proper was to be expedited by the Army and Navy, using requisitioned ships to the utmost degree.
The railroads, ships, harbors, aviation, communication and postal services were to be controlled by the occupation forces. They were to
establish foreign trade and exchange controls and to prevent the flow into hostile countries of such important materials as oil, tin, tungsten and quinine. Local currency was to be used, if possible, but, should it prove necessary, military scrip, in terms of the foreign currency, was to be issued.
The people of the occupied countries were to be warned that they
 Central Authorities comprised Imperial General Headquarters, and Army and Navy Departments and the Planning Board of the Japanese Government.
would have to face some deprivation as it would be necessary for the occupation forces to acquire certain defense materials. The occupied countries would also be required to support these forces.
Americans, Englishmen and Dutchmen were to be instructed to cooperate in the execution of the military administration and those who refused to obey were to be expelled from the country or subjected to such measures as were deemed necessary. The existing rights and interests of nationals of the Axis powers were to be respected but the expansion of their interests as to be restricted. Every effort was to be made to alienate the Chinese residents from the Chiang regime and to persuade them to cooperate with the Japanese forces. Peace was to be made with the natives, but premature independent movements were to be prevented.
Japanese civilians who entered the occupied areas after the commencement of the operations were to be thoroughly investigated and priority given to those who had once lived in the areas.
In regard to measures to be taken in connection with the execution of military administration, important matters concerning military administration in the occupied areas were to be decided at Liaison Conferences between Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government. Matters decided by the Central Authorities were to be notified by the Army and Navy authorities to their respective forces in the occupied areas. The planning and control of the acquisition and exploitation of the resources was to be
carried out by the Central authorities, with the Planning Board as the competent authority.
It was planned to continue the existing policy against French Indo-China and to persuade Thailand, by force, if necessary, to cooperate with Japan.
With the progress of measures to be taken in the occupied areas, various organs of military administration were to be unified, reorganized or transferred gradually to a new structure to be established later by the government.
Measures to be Taken Against Foreign Countries in the Event of War
At the Liaison Conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Government on 13 November agreement was reached as to the measures to be taken against foreign countries just prior to and during the initial stages of war. The measures decided upon were to supplement the "Outline for the Execution of the National Policy" decided at the Imperial Conference of 5 November.
In this regard, it was decided that when the Japanese-American negotiations failed, and war was considered unavoidable (the date was presumed to be after 25 November) Japan would immediately inform Germany and Italy of her intention to commence hostilities against the United States and Great Britain, and complete preparations for war. These preparations would include the necessary negotiations with Germany and Italy to obtain their assurances that they would
participate in the war against the United States and that they would not negotiate a separate peace. At the same time, should Germany request Japan to participate in the war against the Soviet Union, Japan was to reply that this would not be possible. While it was realized that this might delay Germany's participation in the war against the United States, it was considered the only course that Japan could take.
Direct steps were to be taken, or measures through the United States, to obtain Great Britain's consent to the same terms as Japan was offering to the United States in the Japanese-American negotiations.  (Plans "A" and "B", (Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to Outbreak of War, Part III.)
In order to conceal Japan's intention to go to war, diplomatic negotiations were to be continued with the Netherlands East Indies. These negotiations, which were to be aimed at acquiring materials essential to Japan, were to be resumed as soon as possible in the form of reviewing past negotiations.
Negotiations were to be continued with Soviet Russia in accordance with Clause 1 of the "Principles to be discussed during diplomatic negotiations with Soviet Russia" decided at the Liaison
 Actually, no official representations were made to Great Britain. The matter was discussed informally with Ambassador Craigie in Tokyo and he was asked to keep Great Britain informed of the progress of the negotiations and of any decisions arrived at.
Conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Government on 4 August 1941. Clause 1 read as follows:
The Japanese Government will conduct diplomatic negotiations with Soviet Russia in regard to the following:
1. Neutralization of those sea areas in the Far East which Soviet Russia has declared were mined and the right by the Japanese to enter these waters. (Note: Soviet Russia regarded waters within 12 miles of its coastline as territorial waters.)
2. Soviet Russia would refrain from granting concessions, or the selling or leasing of strategic key areas in the Far East to any third power. (Note: It was feared that the United States might demand bases in return for Lend Lease assistance.)
3. Military alliances between Soviet Russia and any other powers would not be extended to include the Far East and no new alliances would be concluded with any other others which named Japan as the potential enemy.
4. Termination of aid to the Chiang regime and to the Communist Party in China and cancellation of the anti-Japanese orders issued to the Communist Party.
5. Protection of Japanese interests in North Sakhalein. (Note: Japan had oil, fishing and coal mining interests North Sakhalein.)
6. Exchange of captured personnel and materials in Manchuku and Mongolia.
7. Clearly define the borderline between Manchukuo and Mongolia near Nomonhan. 
The Japanese Government had no desire to reach any definite understanding on the above matters but rather would conduct the negotiations in order to camouflage its intention of beginning the
 Original document hold by 1st Demobilization Bureau. Notes in parentheses were not original notations but were added as explanations for clarity.
southward move. Japan's actual demands on Russia would be governed by the war situation.
In regard to Thailand, the following demands were to be made immediately prior to the entry of Japanese troops into that country and acceptance thereof required promptly. If Thailand refused to concede these demands, troops were to enter according to schedule, when every effort was to be made to localize armed conflict between the Japanese and Thailand troops. Japan required Thailand to consent to the passage of Japanese troops through that country and the granting of facilities for them during the time they were in Thailand. Prompt institution of precautionary measures to avoid possible clashes between the Japanese and Thailand forces, and the conclusion of a joint defense agreement were also required by Japan.
Japan wished to conceal from Thailand her intention to wage war prior to the commencement of hostilities, but after the completion of the occupation, detailed arrangements were to be made on the spot in regard to the following items:
1. Matters relating to the passage and stationing of Japanese troops.
2. Use, construction and consolidation of military facilities.
3. Use of transportation as well as communication and manufacturing facilities.
4. Loan of necessary military funds.
Negotiations were to be carried out in accordance with the "Outline of Measures to be taken in regard to French Indo-China and Thailand" as decided at the Liaison Conference of 1 February 1941 wherein it was decided that Japan would respect Thailand's sovereign rights and territorial integrity. Furthermore, efforts were to be made to placate Thailand by suggesting that it was Japan's intention to cede part of Burma and Malaya to Thailand.
The following stems were planned with a view to securing the Japanese war potential to cope with a prolonged world war by minimizing the future consumption of strategic materials and conserving military strength in China:
1. Elimination of United States and British military power in China.
2. Seizure and control of hostile settlements and concessions, including the legation area in Peking, as well as important rights and interests (maritime, customs and mines) of hostile countries in China.
3. Steps cited in 1 and 2 were only to be taken after Japan opened hostilities against the United States and Great Britain in order to insure strict secrecy of the plan.
4. The right of belligerency against the Chungking regime was to be considered to have been enforced with the opening of war against the United States and Great Britain, without
need of a formal proclamation of existing war against the regime.
5. among the rights and interests of hostile countries in China, those connected with the Chinese Government were to be placed provisionally under Japanese control and steps necessary for adjustment taken separately.
6. The activities of prominent Chinese in the occupied areas were to be guided and fostered as much as possible and efforts made to win the confidence of the people under a Japanese-Chinese cooperation plan, thereby establishing peace locally.
7. As far as economic relations with China were concerned, emphasis was to be placed on the acquisition of materials and restrictions adjusted on a fair basis.
Based on the above measures, further liaison conferences were held from 23 November to 6 December 1941 when details and further adjustments were worked out. Summarized these were as follows:
Outline of Measures to be taken toward Thailand decided at the Liaison Conference of 23 November 1941:
In regard to negotiations to be carried out immediately prior to the Japanese entry into Thailand, Central Authorities were to notify the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand as to the exact date and hour of the commencement of diplomatic negotiations. This was ex-
pected to be after 1800 of X-1 day. The Army commander in the area was to notify the Ambassador of the deadline time for a decision to be reached. This was expected to be somewhere between 1800 hours on X-1 day and 0000 on X day.
The Japanese ambassador, accompanied by the military and naval attaches, was to call on Premier Phibun. He was to request approval of the passage of Japanese troops through Thailand, the granting of various facilities necessary for this movement and the prompt initiation of measures to prevent clashes between the Japanese and Thailand forces. If Premier Phibun accepted the demands, the Japanese Ambassador was to instruct him to take concrete measures immediately, without waiting to prepare documents or conclude agreements. It was considered that the agreements could be made public after the actual occupation by Japanese forces.
If the Premier did not accede to these demands, he was to be informed that Japanese troops would start occupation according to plans and he was to be instructed to take measures to prevent the Thailand forces from resisting the Japanese troops.
Should Premier Phibun fall from power or resign, or should the British forces enter Thailand, negotiations were to be conducted with his successor or prospective successor on the same basis as above. Should there not be any party to negotiate with, appropriate measures were to be put into effect immediately. The progress of the negotiations was to be reported promptly to the local Japanese military
authorities by the Ambassador.
The time the occupation was to begin, by unit advancing overland from French Indo-China and troops landing at Bangkok, was to be agreed upon the Army and Navy commanders in accordance with the Army-Navy Central Agreement, so as to avoid clashes between the Japanese and Thailand forces as far as the situation permitted. The movement of the landing forces was to be worked out by the local Army and Navy commanders.
Following the occupation, in concert with the diplomatic negotiations relative to the occupation, the local commanders of the Army and Navy were to direct the Army and Navy attaches stationed in Thailand to open negotiations regarding military affairs. The matters to be subsequently negotiated were to include such items as the footing of the necessary war expenses.
Should the Japanese Army learn that the British Army had invaded Thailand prior to the Japanese occupation, the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand was to be instructed to open negotiations immediately and the Army was then to enter the country. However, should the Japanese Ambassador first have knowledge of the entry of the British Army into Thailand, he was to report it to the local military commanders immediately and at once open negotiations with Thailand. The reporting of the time of starting negotiations under these circumstances would be the responsibility of the senior Army and Navy commanders in the area.
Measures to be taken by Manchukuo to cope with the sudden change in the international situation, decided at the Liaison Conference of 4 December, 1941.
Even though Japan entered the war, Manchukuo was, at the beginning, to retain her neutrality. However, because of her close relations with Japan and the non-recognition of the sovereignty of Manchukuo, it was to tighten restrictions against Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands.
The immunity of the consuls and consulates of Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands was not to be recognized and they were to be ordered to cease functioning. The use of coded telegrams and short wave radios was to be prohibited. After they ceased functioning, an impartial attitude was to be assumed in accordance with the treatment given to consuls and consulates of countries hostile to Japan.
The handling of the public property of Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands, and private property of the British, Americans and Dutch and the treatment of those nationals in Manchukuo, was to be in accordance with the handling and treatment of such people and property in Japan.
Since Manchukuo would not be at war officially with Great Britain, the United States and the Netherlands, the requests of these countries to entrust their consulate buildings and the interests of their residents to neutral powers would not be approved. Treatment was to be in accordance with treatment accorded by Japan.
Caution was to be exercised in regard to treatment of Soviet nationals in Manchukuo so as not to provoke the Soviet Union, in line with the Japanese policy and the spirit of the Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact.
Treatment of the Netherlands, decided at the Liaison Conference of 4 December, 1941
The Netherlands was to be treated as a quasi-enemy until a state of war existed with that country. Accordingly, their minister and legation staff was to be kept under strict surveillance and the use of code prohibited. At the same time, communication with enemy countries was to be strictly prohibited.
If the Netherlands declared war on Japan, Japan was to announce a state of war between Japan and the Netherlands, or if, before the Netherlands's declaration of war, a state of war was created between Japan and the Netherlands, Japan would, as in the previous case, announce a state of war between Japan and the Netherlands. Thenceforth, the Netherlands would be treated as an enemy country according to international law.
Non-recognition of the exiled Dutch Government in London would have allowed the Japanese Government to treat the Dutch ministers as private individuals, but since Japan intended to treat the Netherlands as a quasi-enemy country this step was not considered necessary. Also, if Japan repudiated the Dutch Government, the
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necessary for Japan to prevent the Soviet from entering the war against Japan from an operational point of view, Japan would not be in a position to carry out this request. If Germany was not prepared to accept this, Japan must be prepared to run the risk of Germany repudiating her pledge not to make a separate peace.
Imperial Restrict on Declaration of War
After receiving the United States' proposal of 26 November 1941, the Japanese Government decided that war was inevitable. The "Hull note," as the proposal was called, was regarded virtually as an ultimatum to which Japan could not agree. Therefore, at the Liaison Conference on 29 November, a draft was mace of the essential reasons why Japan was compelled to go to war. At the Cabinet meeting, of 5 December and the Liaison Conference of 6 December, a draft of the Imperial Rescript was decided upon and this was presented to the Emperor for sanction on 7 December. (Appendix 7) The draft of the essential reasons read as follows:
1. It is the immutable national policy of the Japanese Empire to maintain the security of East Asia, establish world peace and to enable all countries to live in contentment and peace. Moreover, it is the essential diplomatic policy of Japan to promote close friendship with the nations of the world and to strive for the realization thereof.
2. Without understanding the real intentions of the Japanese Empire, the Republic of China, assisted by the United States and Great Britain, in the past attempted to undermine the security of East Asia and to impair the national interest of the Japanese Empire. Finally, China provoked war against Japan and forced Japan to take up arms. Unless the Chungking regime, supported by the United States and Great Britain, ceases to wage war on
Japan, it is only natural that Japan should strive to protect her interests. Immediately after the China Incident, the United States and Great Britain not only directly hindered Japan's efforts to settle the incident but openly assisted the Chungking regime. Actually, they secretly controlled the Chungking regime and, through it, attempted to realize their ambition of dominating the Far East. Further, they severed economic relations with Japan and, at the same time, persuaded other countries to strengthen their military preparations against Japan thus endangering the very existence of the Japanese Empire.
3. The Japanese Empire endured the unendurable in the hope of attaining an amicable settlement of the situation and entered into diplomatic negotiations with the United States. Although these negotiations lasted eight months, the United States failed to display any spirit of conciliation. They interfered needlessly in Far Eastern affairs and restrained our vital national interests. If the Japanese Empire accepts the United States' terms, Japan cannot hope to maintain self-existence and self-defense or the security of Greater East Asia. Moreover, all the efforts which have been exerted during the peat four years to obtain a settlement of the China Incident will come to naught. This is unbearable for Japan, and her prestige and very existence are at stake.
4. No trace of sincerity to maintain world peace is evident in the attitude of the United States and Great Britain. At present, the existence of the Japanese Empire is being endangered and the future of Greater East Asia hangs in the balance. Under the circumstances, Japan has no alternative but to take up arms.
At the same time, it was decided that the following items would be included in the Prime Minister's speech:
1. Since the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere would be established by the commencement of hostilities, the future looked very bright.
2. Germany and Italy would cooperate with Japan with the commencement of hostilities.
3. The Japanese Empire would fight against the policies of
Roosevelt and Churchill rather than the people of the United States and Great Britain.
4. Friendly consideration would be given to the oppressed races in the southern area.
It was planned that the details of the negotiations between Japan and the United States would be made clear by the Foreign Minister during his speech.
Circumstances leading up the decision to open hostilities and the promulgation of the Imperial Rescript on the Declaration of war were described by Prime Minister Tojo in testimony before the Military Tribunal for the Far East. (Appendix 8)
Commencement of Hostilities and Measures Taken Immediately Thereafter
As explained in Monograph 147, Political Strategy Prior to Outbreak of War, Part III, Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu were unable to conclude successfully diplomatic negotiations with President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull. At the meeting of 1 December, Secretary of State Hill emphasized that statements by high ranking Japanese Government officials and the tone of the Japanese press were considered provocative, and pointed out that Japanese troops were actively moving in French Indo-China and Thailand, rendering it impossible to make any headway in the negotiations. On 3 December, Foreign Minister Togo replied to Ambassador Nomura's suggestion that Japan propose a conference of reliable representatives of each country be held in Honolulu,
that it was unnecessary for Japan to make such a proposal. He stated that the concentration of Japanese troops in French Indo-China was within the scope of the Japanese-French Joint Defense agreement and that they were there to guard against secret movements of Chinese troops along the border area of French Indo-China and China. He added that United States planes had invaded the air over Formosa and were strengthening their forces in preparation for an attack on Japan, while still supplying-aid to the Chiang Kai-shek regime.
Further discussion on 5 December between the two ambassadors and Secretary of State Hull proved fruitless and there appeared to be no possibility of successfully concluding the negotiations.
On 6 December, the United States' State Department announced that President Roosevelt had dispatched a telegram to the Emperor, stating that Japanese troops, numbering 125,000, were stationed in French Indo-China and that two Japanese Army Corps were being escorted by warships to the Gulf Of Siam. As the telegram was not received by the Japanese Government, the Foreign Ministry requested Ambassador Nomura to obtain the facts. It was later disclosed that the telegram had been forwarded through Ambassador Grew, American Ambassador to Japan, and, about 0030 on 8 December (Japanese time) Ambassador Grew visited Foreign Minister Togo and handed him the telegram.
The gist of the actual telegram was:
1. The concentration of Japanese troops in French Indo-China was viewed with deep suspicion by other countries of the
2. Immediate withdrawal of Japanese troops from French Indo-China was desirable.
3. Maintenance of peace in the Pacific, as well as throughout the entire world, by mutual effort was desirable.
After consulting with the Prime Minister at about 0100, the Foreign Minister went to the Palace to report to the Emperor. The Emperor then asked him to reply to the telegram as follows:
1. At the request of the Emperor, the Japanese Government answered the recent inquiry of the United States President on the concentration of Japanese troops in French Indo-China.
2. Withdrawal of the Japanese troops from French Indo-China was one of the items to be negotiated between Japan and the United States. The Japanese Government, at the request of the Emperor, expressed Japan's intentions in regard to this matter. United States' understanding of the situation was requested.
3. It was the long cherished desire of the Emperor to bring peace and happiness to the Pacific and the world. The Emperor believed that the President of the United States was well aware of the fact that, at the request of the Emperor, the Japanese Government had exerted strenuous efforts to realize the Emperor's desires.
Realizing that nothing could be achieved by further diplomatic negotiations, Japan launched air attacks on Pearl Harbor at 0320
on 8 December. In the Hawaiian area, two hours before Japan launched her attack, United States patrol boats attacked and sank a Japanese midget submarine. In the Malaya area, fighting broke out at Kota Bharu between the Japanese and British troops at 0215. This was earlier than planned by Japanese authorities. Some time later on the same day, notification to Great Britain was delivered through British Ambassador Craigie in Tokyo.
At 0700 on the 8th, the Japanese Government held a Cabinet meeting to decide on the statement to be issued by the Japanese Government. This statement was made public both in Japan and overseas simultaneously with the promulgation of the Imperial Rescript on the Declaration of War.
At 1350 on the same day, the nation-wide anti-aircraft defense system went into action. Also on the 8th, the Japanese-French Indo-China Military Pact and negotiations between Japan and Thailand in regard to the passage and stationing of Japanese troops were concluded.
In the United States on 8 December, the President appeared before Congress and read a message concerning war against Japan. The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the Joint resolution to declare war against Japan, with one abstention. The President then affixed his signature to the resolution which read:
In view of the fact that a state of war exists between the Governments of Japan and the United States, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States formally declare herewith that a state of war exists between Japan and the United States as a result of provocation of war against the United States
and instruct and empower the President to use the entire United States Army and Navy strength and all the resources possessed by the Government of the United States in order to prosecute war against Japan. Moreover, the United States Congress pledges that all the resources located throughout the country will be offered to bring the present conflict to a successful end.
The gist of the President's message was:
Peace existed between Japan and the United States and negotiations were under way between them to settle differences. Japan's reply to the United States' proposal indicated the uselessness of continuing diplomatic negotiations but it contained neither threatening words nor terms suggesting the likelihood of war or attack. Japan attempted to launch surprise attacks and take the offensive in the entire Pacific area. We are determined to bear in mind, at all times, the nature of these attacks on us and to fight until a convincing victory has been won by the use of our just strength, however long it may take to frustrate this planned invasion. I believe that it is the intention of Congress and the people of the United States not only to completely safeguard themselves but to insure that there will never again be such surprise attacks.
On 7 December, Germany's armed forces announced that their operations on the eastern front had been halted. On the 11th, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States and concluded a new agreement to strengthen the Japanese-German-Italian Alliance.
On 12 December, the Japanese Government announced that the war against the United States, Great Britain and the Chiang regime would be called the Greater East Asia War.