The US atomic bomb attacks and the Soviet Union's entry into World War II that led to Japan's surrender were "God's gifts," the Japanese navy minister was quoted as saying at that time in documents released on Friday by the US National Security Archive.
Navy minister Mitsumasa Yonai told an adviser to the Japanese ruling elite that the two events provided a good excuse to surrender at a time when local hostility to Emperor Hirohito and his government was increasing rapidly.
The conversation was among the first complete published translations from the Japanese of accounts of key high-level meetings and discussions in Tokyo leading to the end of the war, the archive said.
The translations were released on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima as part of a comprehensive online collection, including declassified US government documents, on the first use of the atomic bomb and the end of the war in the Pacific.
"It may be inappropriate to put it in this way, but the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war are, in a sense, God's gifts," Yonai said, nearly a week after a US B-29 dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The two bombs killed some 210,000 people.
"Now we can end the war without making it clear that we have to end the war because of the domestic situation," said Yonai, who was among the six-member inner Cabinet led by then prime minister Kantaro Suzuki.
"I have long been advocating the conclusion [of the war], not because I am afraid of the enemy's attacks or because of the atomic bombs or the Soviet participation in the war," he said.
"The most important reason is my concern over the domestic situation," he said.
The bombings came as Hirohito, once considered a demigod, was losing public support for continuing the war amid growing hostility toward him and his government.
Faced with such domestic pressure, Hirohito and his advisers welcomed the dropping of the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war against Japan because they provided the emperor with credit for ending the turmoil.
The effect of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the Japanese decision to surrender compared with the impact of the Soviet entry into the war has been a subject of controversy among historians.
The curtain fell on Japan's quest for Asian hegemony less than a week after the Nagasaki nuclear bombing on Aug. 9, 1945, as Japan surrendered unconditionally by accepting the Potsdam Declaration.
Hirohito turned into a figurehead and died in 1989, leaving the ancient Chrysanthemum Throne to his son Akihito.
But Hirohito's death never resolved questions over his own responsibility for Japan's actions in the war.
also see stories:
Japan remembers Hiroshima
Editorial: Japan knows who its friends are
Three cases of Candida auris, a fungus that can cause a yeast infection known as candidiasis in humans, have been reported in Taiwan over the past few years, but they did not display drug resistance, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said yesterday. Lo made the statement at a news conference in Taipei, one day after the Washington Post reported that the potentially deadly fungus is spreading in US hospitals. The fungus was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and poses a danger to immunocompromised people, with an estimated mortality rate of 30 to 60 percent, Lo
‘COINCIDENCE’: The former president should keep in mind local and global response to his actions and abide by the law to safeguard national interests, the MAC said The Presidential Office yesterday confirmed that it has received an application from former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to visit China next week and would be discussing his security detail. “As the travel restrictions on former president Ma have expired, we respect his plan to pay respect to his ancestors in China,” Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said. “We will review his travel plan and consult concerned agencies to assist him in arranging his security detail.” “We also hope that Ma, as a former commander in chief of Taiwan, acts in a manner that aligns with national interests and does not hurt
‘DIRE’: Taiwan would not engage in ‘dollar diplomacy,’ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, after China reportedly offered Honduras up to US$3 billion to establish relations The government yesterday recalled its ambassador to Honduras after the Central American nation sent its foreign minister to China, signaling that it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Suspicions concerning ties with Honduras are rife after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday last week wrote on Twitter that her country would pursue diplomatic ties with China. Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina traveled to China on Wednesday “to promote efforts for the establishment of diplomatic relations” on instructions from Castro, Reuters yesterday quoted Honduran presidential spokesman Ivis Alvarado as saying. The government “has decided to immediately recall the ambassador to Honduras
‘NOTHING NEW’: China should not use Tsai Ing-wen’s transits through the US as a pretext to step up aggressive activity in the Taiwan Strait, a Washington official said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is to stop over in the US on her way to and from Central America next week, but her administration would not confirm a meeting with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Tsai’s delegation is to leave Taipei on Wednesday next week and stop over in New York City, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) told a news conference yesterday. Tsai is then to head to Guatemala on Saturday next week for talks with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and to meet with Taiwanese expatriates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. On April 3, Tsai is scheduled to travel