20 August. Representatives from the military and the newly formed civilian ‘Japanese Association’ select a site for an internment camp where Japanese civilians in Syonan can await repatriation. Japanese propaganda papers announce publically that Japan has surrendered, printing the imperial rescript on surrender in its entirety. Similar internment camps were constructed throughout Asia.
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.
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.
3 September. President Osmeña authorizes the Philippine Solicitor-General to order the provisional release on bail of persons interned or detained by U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines but now being transferred to the Commonwealth government for trial. The first internees are released on the 6th. On the 11th, however, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes cables President Osmeña on the need to try all suspected collaborators with Japan as per Roosevelt’s earlier instructions. Ickes threatens that if this is not done soon, relief and rehabilitation funds for the Philippines might be withheld. The telegram pushes Osmeña to speed up passage of a bill to create the People’s Court to conduct trials.
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.
11 September. Occupation authorities in Japan designate 39 former Japanese leaders as war criminals and order their arrests. Among their number is General Tōjō Hideki, who as prime minister presided over Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Tōjō has already attempted suicide before being taken to prison. He is later found guilty at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and hanged in December 1948. Eventually 5,700 Japanese military personnel will be tried in war crimes tribunals throughout Asia.
23 August. General MacArthur orders the release of all Filipinos interned by the U.S. Army, stating that his right to detain them has ended with the conclusion of the war. Most of these internees are collaborator suspects. Whether they are guilty or not should now be determined by Philippine courts, but some of those to be freed feel they are absolved.
1 September. With the war now ended, U.S. Army participation in Philippine civil administration ends, and press and mail censorship in the country is lifted. Under the leadership of President Sergio Osmeña, the Philippine Commonwealth government takes over all civil functions in the country. However, full independence from the United States has still to be finalized.
7 September. José P. Laurel, president of the Japanese-sponsored Philippine Republic, is arrested by the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps in Japan along with other members of his cabinet. They are initially held in a Japanese prison in Yokohama and later transferred to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. They will be returned to the Philippines in July 1946. Though charged with treason, Laurel will be freed as part of a general amnesty before the conclusion of his trial. He later returns to Philippine politics as a presidential candidate in 1949 and member of the senate from 1951.