Japanese surrender

The Japanese surrendered to General MacArthur on board an American battleship, Missouri, in Tokyo Bay at 9 am on 2 September 1945, officially ending the WWII. Two weeks later, on 12 September 1945 at 11:10 am, another Japanese surrender ceremony was held at the Municipal Building of Singapore (now known as City Hall), which was accepted by Lord Louis Mountbatten. It officially ended the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.

Surrender ceremony on board the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay
The Japanese representatives were made up of Foreign Minister Mr Shigemitsu, General Umezu of the Imperial General Headquarters, and nine others; three each from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Navy and the Army. The Instrument of Surrender were signed by Mr Shigemitsu as "by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Government of Japan" and General Umezu who signed as "'by command of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters". They had initially made a request that they be allowed to sign as "by command of and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan" with accordance to the Japanese constitution but this request was denied.

The Allies were represented by General MacArthur who signed on behalf of the Allied Powers, Admiral Nimitz for the United States, Admiral Fraser for Great Britain, General Blamey for Australia, Colonel L. M. Cosgrove for Canada, Air Vice-Marshall L. M. Isitt for New Zealand, General Hsu Yung-chang for China, General P. Leclerc for France, Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich for the Netherlands and Lieut-General K. N. Derevyanko for Russia.

General MacArthur was assigned the duty of administering the occupation of Japan, which lasted till 1952. During this occupation, many high-ranking Japanese officials were tried and were either executed or given long-serving sentences.

Surrender ceremony at Municipal Building of Singapore (now known as City Hall)
On 12 September 1945, Lord Louis Mountbatten, accompanied by the Deputy Supreme Commander Wheeler, was driven to the ceremony by a released prisoner of war. As the car drove by the streets, sailors and marines from the East Indies Fleet who had lined up the streets greeted them. At the Municipal Building, Mountbatten was received by his Commanders-in Chief and all high-ranking Allied Officers in Singapore. Also gathered in front of the Municipal Building were four guards of honour, from the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Australian paratroopers, and the Indian army. Lord Mountbatten led an inspection of the officers before proceeding to the chamber where the ceremony was to be held. During the inspection, a fleet of band was playing the song 'Rule Britannia!'concurrently with the firing of seventeen-gun salute by the Royal Artillery.

The Instrument of Surrender was signed by General S. Itagaki, who signed on behalf of Aisarchi Terauchi, Field Marshall Count, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Japanese Forces, Southern Region. Terauchi was not able to attend the surrender ceremony as he had fallen ill due to a stroke. He surrendered personally to Mountbatten on 30 September 1945 in Saigon. He also surrendered his two swords; a short sword forged in the 16th century and a long sword forged in the 13th century. Mountbatten later presented the short sword to King George VI.

The Japanese signed a total of 11copies of the Instrument of Surrender; one each for the British, American, Chinese, French, Dutch, Australian, Indian and the Japanese governments; and one each for King George VI, the Supreme Commander and the South East Asia Command's records.

The ceremony was also witnessed by 400 spectators made up commanders and officers from the navy, army and air force, as well as senior officers from the Supreme Headquarters, leaders of the Malayan communities, Sultan of Johore, Sir Ibrahim, and released prisoners of war, whom were all seated behind the Allied representatives. In the chamber, flags of Allied forces were hung and at the bases of it's pillars stood one officer representing the different fighting forces; the Gurkhas, Sikhs, Australians, British airmen, Dutch, Americans, French (from the "Richelieu") and the 5th Indian Division.

The surrender ceremony finally ended with the hoisting of the Union Jack flag and the playing of the national anthems of all the Allied nations. This was the same flag used by General Percival when he surrendered to the Japanese and had been kept concealed in the Changi prison during the occupation.

Japanese Representatives
General S. Itagaki (7th Area Army)
Lieutenant-General H. Kimura (Burma Area Army)
Lieutenant-General A. Nakamura (18th Area Army)
Vice-Admiral S. Fukudome (1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet)
Vice-Admiral Shibata (2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet)
Lieutenant-General T. Numata (Chief of Staff to Field-Marshall Count H. Terauchi, Commander-in-Chief, Southern Army)

Allied Representatives
Major-General W.R.C Penney (Director of Intelligence, South East Asia Command)
Brigadier K.S. Thimayya (representing the Indian Army)
General P. Leclerc (representing France)
Admiral Sir Arthur Power (Commander-in Chief, East Indies Fleet)
Lieutenant-General R.A Wheeler (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia, representing U.S.A.)
Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten (Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia)
General Sir William Slim (Commander-in-Chief, Allied Air Forces, South East Asia Command)
Major-General Feng Yee (Head of the Chinese military mission to South East Asia Command)
Air Vice-Marshall A.T. Cole (representing Australia)
Colonel D.C. Boorman van Vreedon (representing the Netherlands)

27 Jul 1945 : The Foreign Ministry of Japan received the Potsdam Proclamation from the Allies, which arrived in Tokyo at 6:00 am. It instructed the Japanese to surrender unconditionally or face the consequences. The document also contained specific details that guaranteed the continuing existence of Japan as a nation and the Allied forces' withdrawal from Japan once order has been restored and all Japan war-making capabilities destroyed.
6 Aug 1945 : At 8:16 am, the first atomic bomb, code-named "Little Boy", struck Hiroshima, Japan's eighth largest city. It was dropped from an American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets. The bomb destroyed almost all building structures and killed more than 100,000 people.
8 Aug 1945 : Russia delivered a declaration of war on Japan to Japanese Ambassador Sato in Moscow at about midnight.
9 Aug 1945 : At 11:15 am, the second atomic bomb, code-named "Fat Boy", was dropped on Nagasaki, the third largest city of Kyushu from another American B-29 bomber named Bock's Car, piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney. It had the same effect as the first bomb, only this time the number of people killed was about 35,000 people.
15 Aug 1945 : Emperor Hirohito made a radio announcement to his people announcing the decision to accept the Potsdam Proclamation and surrender to the Allies.
25 Aug 1945 : Emperor Hirohito issued a decree ordering all Japanese forces to demobilise and cease operation.
27 Aug 1945: The American 3rd fleet accompanied by the Duke of York of the British Pacific Fleet anchored at the Sagami Bay, before proceeding to occupying the Yokosuka naval base.
30 Aug 1945 : General MacArthur arrived at Atsugi airport.
2 Sep 1945: At 9:00 am, The Instrument of Surrender was signed on board the American battleship, Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, officially ending the WWII.
12 Sep 1945 : Another surrender ceremony was held at the Municipal Building of Singapore (now known as City Hall), marking the end of Japanese Occupation in Southeast Asia.

Heirwin Md Nasir

Frank, R. B. (1999). Downfall: The end of the Imperial Japanese Empire (pp. 214-330). New York: Random House.
(Call no.: R 940.5425 FRA)

Kirby. S. W. (1957). The war against Japan: The surrender of Japan (Vol 5, pp. 205-220, 271-273). London: H.M.S.O.
(Call no.: RCLOS 940.542 KIR)

Wiest, A. A. (2001). The Pacific War (pp. 243-250). Staplehurst: Spellmount.
(Call no.: R 940.5426 WIE)

Yap, Siang-Yong. (1992). Fortress Singapore: The battlefield guide (pp. 76-79). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57023 YAP)

Historical research on the surrender ceremony at City Hall on 12th September 1945
. (1975). Singapore: Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.
Call no.: RCLOS 940.5425 HIS)

Japanese in Malaysia surrender at Singapore. (1945, September 13). The Straits Times, pp. 1, 4.

Seven Japanese Commanders. (1945, September 12). The Straits Times, p. 1.

Surrender day: Details of event. (1945, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 2.

The Instrument of Surrender. (1945, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 3.

The Story behind the flag. (1945, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 1.

Further Readings

This is no negotiated surrender. (1945, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 3.

National Archives of Singapore. (n.d.). Japanese Occupation: Japanese surrender. Retrieved Dec 24, 2003, from www.s1942.org.sg/dir_defence12.htm

The information in this article is valid as at 1998 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Surrender of Japan, 1945
World War, 1939-1945--Singapore
1942-1945 Japanese occupation
Capitulations, Military--Singapore
Events>>Historical Periods>>World War II and Japanese Occupation (1939-1945)
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore

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