17 August. General Order No. 1, prescribing when, where and to whom Japanese forces may surrender, is approved by President Truman after having been hastily negotiated between the Allies. The formal surrender of Japan to the Americans takes priority, even though elsewhere this will leave a power vacuum until local surrenders can be accepted.
17 August. Chen Kungpo, who had taken over as president of the Reorganized National Government of China in Nanjing after the death of Wang Ching-wei, flees to Japan, thus ending the Japanese puppet government in China. However, Japanese troops continue to maintain order in the city. Over time, officials serving the wartime puppet administration will be arrested and charged for collaboration or treason. Chen himself will be repatriated to China on October 3 and later sentenced to death.
17 August. President José P. Laurel, head of the Second Philippine Republic since its establishment in 1943 during the Japanese occupation, had been evacuated to Japan with his family when U.S. forces closed in on Baguio in April 1945. With the surrender of Japan, Laurel issues an executive proclamation from his new home in Nara, near Kyoto, declaring the dissolution of his government.
17 August. With Japanese permission, the Vietnam General Association of Government Employees convenes a meeting in front of the Hanoi Opera House, attracting at least 20,000 people. Different groups take part and there is some tension when Viet Minh supporters take over the meeting. Afterwards, the crowd marches peacefully through the city centre. The atmosphere is festive, not confrontational, with no attempt to enter government buildings and no threats being directed at Japanese and French nationals encountered along the way.
18 August. Military and civilian administrators in Syonan (the Japanese name for occupied Singapore) are summoned to the headquarters of the Japanese 7th Area Army, where General Itagaki Seishirō informs them that Japan has surrendered. The news is then relayed to Japanese civilian organizations.
16 August. Upon hearing of the Japanese surrender, forced labourers in North Borneo begin slowly working their way back home to Java. Elsewhere across the vast extent of Japanese-occupied Asia, tens of thousands of people drafted into supporting Japan’s war effort take their futures into their own hands and slip away from their masters. Many more must await repatriation after Allied troops arrive; they are stranded too far away from home. The fate of the many ‘comfort women’ forced into military brothels is also uncertain.
17 August. In a disturbing reminder of events leading up to the mass famine earlier in the year, flood waters breach dikes on the Red River upstream from Hanoi. Within days, 150 breaches are reported around the delta, about one third of Tonkin’s summer rice crop being inundated as a result. Its inability to deal with the situation dispels any remaining credibility that the royal government may have had. The floods also inhibit vehicle movement by both Japanese and Chinese troops, offering a temporary benefit to local insurgents.
18 August. Although their conquest of Karafuto (southern Sakhalin) is incomplete, thus complicating plans for a landing on Hokkaido, Soviet forces attack the Kurile Islands. Within five days they will hold the entire archipelago.