30 August. Two days after an advance party of U.S. Army airborne forces secures Atsugi aerodrome near Tokyo, General MacArthur arrives by plane. Meanwhile U.S. marines come ashore in Tokyo Bay in full combat gear and clearly prepared for Japanese treachery. The next day MacArthur assumes command of the Japanese government in Tokyo. This is the first time in its history that Japan is occupied by a foreign power.
3 September. General Yamashita Tomoyuki and Admiral Denshichi Okochi formally surrender their forces at Camp John Hay, Baguio. Ranking officers of the U.S. Army attend, including General Jonathan Wainwright (who surrendered Corregidor in 1942). No Filipino representatives are present nor did any attend the previous day’s signing of the surrender documents at Tokyo Bay. Surrenders of Japanese forces in other parts of the Philippines will take place over the following weeks (though it will be decades before the last Japanese holdouts emerge from hiding). Japanese soldiers are interned in prison camps, while civilians are gradually repatriated to Japan. Many officers and others accused of war crimes are held for investigation and trial while others are expected to be sent back to Japan.
5 September. The LondonDaily Expresspublishes Wilfred Burchett’s ‘scoop of the century’, an account of his visit to Hiroshima three days earlier, the first by a western journalist after the atomic bomb was dropped. ‘The Atomic Plague’ is the first public description in western media of the effects of radiation and nuclear fallout. Burchett’s account begins, ‘I write this as a warning to the world.’
4 September. A day after SEAC forces land on the island, the formal surrender ceremony for Japanese forces in Malaya takes place on HMSNelsonoff Penang. With its troops now pushing their way south to Singapore, SEAC tells the Japanese to treat MPAJA guerrillas as Allied forces.
4 September. Tasked to investigate war crimes, protect U.S. property, locate and assist Allied POWs and gather intelligence on southern Indochina, an Office of Strategic Services team led by Lt.-Col. Peter Dewey enters Saigon more than a week earlier than General Gracey and his British-led force. The Americans are greeted cordially by Japanese authorities in the city and are immediately approached by DRV adherents with a letter making the case for Vietnamese independence. Within a fortnight, the team accomplishes the release and repatriation of several hundred U.S. POWs. Its continued presence in Saigon thereafter will annoy Gracey, who opposes any American presence in Indochina. He is also angered by Dewey’s willingness to engage with the Viet Minh.
7 September. A British planning unit formed in 1943 to prepare for the re-occupation of Hong Kong arrives in the colony, establishing a British Military Administration (BMA). This body begins to provide relief, rebuild the government, restore infrastructure and resettle the currency of the colony. The first British food convoy arrives later in the month, saving the colony from possible starvation. The swift rehabilitation of Hong Kong allows the resumption of international trade by December. The BMA will continue until May 1946, when the civilian government is re-established.
9 September. In a formal ceremony at the Government Building in Seoul, General Hodge accepts the surrender of the Governor-General of Korea and Japanese military commanders. Ignorant of the earlier transfer of administrative power in the country, Hodge causes a popular outcry by instructing Japanese officials to remain in their posts for the meantime. The order is swiftly amended but does not recognize the status of the People’s Republic, CPKI or people’s councils; instead, an American military administration is initiated earlier than planned.
10 September. President Sukarno formally declares an end to Japanese authority in Indonesia but high Japanese officials state they will surrender to the Allies, not to the new Republic. On the ground, the situation varies from place to place. In the Javanese hinterland, the Japanese choose to withdraw from certain urban areas. Some Japanese units are also actively arming local Indonesians, whereas others are neutral or even hostile to the Republicans and continue to follow instructions to maintain order until British forces arrive.
2 September. In front of a large group of Allied dignitaries and other officials, the Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed on the deck of the USSMissouriin Tokyo Bay. On display at the ceremony is the U.S. flag flown by Commodore Perry in 1853, when his fleet entered Tokyo Bay to force Japan to open its ports to the outside world. The ceremony is broadcast around the world. Later that day, the first major contingents of U.S. occupation troops begin disembarking.
3 September. A ragged Nationalist Chinese army finally marches into Shanghai to be met by cheering crowds. Although the first U.S. troops entered the city on 19 August, the formal surrender of Japanese troops in Shanghai has been delayed until Chinese government troops could be airlifted in by the Americans from deep inside government-held territory.
7 September. Faced with hyperinflation in Malaya as a result of massive printing by the Japanese of their wartime currency, the British Military Administration (BMA) demonetizes the currency; only pre-war and a new post-war currency are legal tender. The widespread economic pain this causes is alleviated by government handouts. However, due to the financial and economic upheaval caused by the demonetization policy, the BMA would come to be derogatorily known as the ‘Black Market Administration’ owing to the widespread corruption of its staff.