Speech to the Cabinet (End of the war)

1945-08-14 - Emperor Hirohito


I have listened carefully to all of the arguments opposing Japan's acceptance of the Allied reply as it stands. My own opinion, however, has not changed. I shall now restate it. I have examined the conditions prevailing in Japan in the rest of the world, and I believe that a continuation of the war offers nothing but continued destruction. I have studied the terms of the Allied reply, and I have come to the conclusion that they represent a virtually complete acknowledgment of our position as we outlined it in the note dispatched a few days ago. In short, I consider the reply to be acceptable.

”Although some of you are apprehensive about the preservation of the national structure, I believe that the Allied reply is evidence of the good intentions of the enemy. The conviction and resolution of the Japanese people are, therefore, the most important consideration. That is why I favor acceptance of the reply.

”I fully understand how difficult it will be for the officers and men of the Army and the Navy to submit to being disarmed and to see their country occupied. I am aware also of the willingness of the people to sacrifice themselves for their nation and their Emperor. But I am not concerned with what may happen to me. I want to preserve the lives of my people. I do not want them subjected to further destruction. It is indeed hard for me to see my loyal soldiers disarmed and my faithful ministers punished as war criminals.

”If we continue the war, Japan will be altogether destroyed. Although some of you are of the opinion that we cannot completely trust the Allies, I believe that an immediate and peaceful end to the war is preferable to seeing Japan annihilated. As things stand now, the nation still has a chance to recover.

”I am reminded of the anguish Emperor Meiji felt at the time of the Triple Intervention. Like him, I must bear the unbearable now and hope for the rehabilitation of the country in the future. But this is indeed a complex and difficult problem that cannot be immediately solved. However, I believe it an be done if the people will join together in a common effort. I will do everything I can to help.

”I cannot express the sorrow I feel as I think of all who were killed on the battlefield or in the homeland and of their bereaved families. I am filled with anxiety about the future of those who have been injured or who have lost all their property or their means of livelihood. I repeat. I will do everything in my power to help.

”As the people of Japan are unaware of the present situation, I know they will be deeply shocked when they hear of our decision. If it is thought appropriate that I explain the matter to them personally, I am perfectly willing to go before the microphone. The troops, particularly, will be dismayed at out decision. The War Minister and the Navy Minister may not find it easy to persuade them to accept the decision. I am willing to go wherever necessary to explain our action.

”I desire the Cabinet to prepare as soon as possible an Imperial Rescript announcing the termination of the war.”