10 August. In accordance with the Emperor’s decision, Japan’s Foreign Ministry sends telegrams to the Allies agreeing to a surrender provided the position of the Emperor is not prejudiced. The Allies reject this proposal two days later.
11 August. In line with the Yalta Agreement but also as part of Soviet plans to invade Hokkaido, Soviet forces attack the Japanese colony of Karafuto (southern Sakhalin). Although outnumbered three to one, Japanese troops resist fiercely, disrupting Moscow’s overall strategy. The Soviet conquest of Karafuto is finally completed on the 25th.
14 August. Upon receiving long-awaited formal Japanese agreement, Emperor Bao Dai proclaims abrogation of the treaties signed with France in 1862 and 1874, thus formally making Cochinchina a part of Imperial Vietnam. Nguyen Van Sam receives credentials as Southern Region Imperial Delegate, locates sufficient fuel for his automobile and begins the potentially perilous drive south. The same day in Saigon, Japanese officers are present at both the formation of a National United Front of groups opposed to the French return and an impressive ceremony of 50,000 Vanguard Youth dedicating their lives to the nation. On the 16th, the Japanese authorities begin handing over offices to the United Front. However, when Vanguard Youth then hijack a huge arms convoy, on his arrival in Saigon Nguyen Van Sam urges the Japanese to arm other groups less influenced by communists.
14 August. Lacking a response from Japan and suspecting it is about to launch a last suicidal attack, American forces launch a massive bombing operation throughout Japan, killing thousands and destroying the country’s last operational oil refinery.
14 August. Late in the evening, a group of junior military officers led by Major Hatanaka Kenji succeed in entering the Imperial Palace in an attempt to prevent the Emperor’s surrender speech from being broadcast. The hidden gramophone record is not found. Despite their links to highly placed opponents of the surrender, by early morning next day their attempts to rally support against the Emperor’s decision have failed.
15 August. In a pre-recorded speech broadcast at midday, Emperor Hirohito reads the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War. This is the first time that ordinary Japanese have heard him speak. The audio quality is poor and most are baffled by the high court language used and absence of the word ‘surrender’ in his speech. However, this is clarified by a radio announcer afterwards. The Emperor’s speech causes shock and despair among many, but also relief.
15 August. Just four hours after Emperor Hirohito’s broadcast ending the war, Japanese Ambassador Yamamoto Kuma’ichi explains and reassures Thai Prime Minister Khuang Aphaiwong about the surrender. He also raises no objections to news that Thailand’s Regent is planning to renounce the Thai–Japanese alliance.
15 August. Japanese Admiral Ugaki Matome, commander of kamikaze forces defending the Japanese home islands, blames himself for the failure of his aviators to stop the enemy. Noting that he has not yet received ‘official’ cease-fire instructions, Ugaki orders and joins a last kamikaze mission against the enemy. None of the planes reach their target.
10 August. Uncertainty about who will do what, and when, characterizes the entire region in mid-August. While the Philippines, for example, is beginning to rebuild after years of war and Japanese occupation, the country seethes with preparations for the invasion of Japan. U.S. military supplies pour in. Hospitals and other facilities are established in anticipation of the invasion efforts. Elements of the Philippine Army are also involved. Early but unconfirmed news of Japan’s surrender on the 10th results in premature celebrations in Manila, including the firing of weapons. Similar early celebrations erupt four days later when the U.S. Office of War Information newspaper Free Philippines prematurely announces the end of the war.
13 August. With Japan’s conditional surrender offer rejected, the Japanese leadership now faces the prospect of utter submission to the Allies and is strongly divided on the issue. There are even rumours of a military coup by army leaders seeking to fight to the end or hold out for better terms of surrender. Meetings continue into the night. The U.S. seeks to influence this debate by dropping leaflets over Japan, describing the Japanese offer of surrender and the Allied response.
14 August. With the Japanese cabinet and Supreme Council both still split on surrendering to the Allies, Emperor Hirohito breaks the deadlock with his personal decision to accept the Allies’ terms. This acceptance is signalled to Allies. Anticipating military resistance to this decision, the Emperor dispatches members of the imperial family as emissaries to key commanders in the field. They will carry copies of the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War, which is drafted during the day and recorded by the Emperor for broadcasting to the nation next day.