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Journal of Japan`s WWII Prime Minister Discovered

Posted August. 13, 2008 07:05,   


A journal written by Hideki Tojo, Japan’s war-time prime minister in 1941, has been discovered.

His writings express delusion and regret over Japan’s defeat and efforts to legitimize and gloss over Japan’s war of aggression.

The Japanese dailies Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun yesterday said the National Archives of Japan confirmed the authenticity of a 30-page journal written in pencil by Tojo dated Aug. 10-14, 1945.

The journal starts with a meeting of high-ranking officials the day after Japan’s decision to accept the Allies` demand for unconditional surrender. Then Prime Minister Suzuki Kantaro presided over the meeting to get advice from senior Japanese officials, including former prime ministers.

He explicitly expressed his grievance over the unconditional surrender, saying it was a “humiliating” peace and capitulation. “Our leaders were disheartened by atomic bombs and frightened by the Soviet Union’s participation in the war,” he said.

The writing ignored who started the war, instead blaming “a weak-willed public and government” for the surrender.

On the situation of the war, he said, “Japan hasn’t exercised its full capacity," which shows he was optimistic over winning the war.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, however, said Japan’s surrender was inevitable after the defeat at the Battle of Okinawa, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union`s participation in the war.

Documentary writer Masayasu Hosaka, who wrote the book “Tojo Hideki and the Era of the Emperor,” said, “The journal clearly reveals how narrowsighted the leaders were at the time of the war.”

“If Japan had continued the war following Tojo’s judgment, the world would’ve suffered the worst calamity in history.”

Tojo also implied his intent to commit suicide, saying, “Standing trial in the enemy’s court is an unimaginable thing for a Japanese.” He attempted suicide in Sept. 1945.

He was found guilty of war crimes by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and executed in December 1948.