Hideki Tojo's Prison Diary
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PART 2 – Hideki Tojo's Log
0900 – 1000 [hours] Extraordinary cabinet meeting (decision to go to war with U.S., Britain, Holland)
1130 – Imperial appointment ceremony [a ceremony in which the Emperor directly appoints someone to a position – not mentioned who was appointed to what] (discussion with Lord Kido [Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal] about the Imperial Conference)
1400 – Imperial Conference (with various officials as well as the participants of the Liaison Conference) Subject: Opening of war with U.S., Britain, Holland (EX 588) Minister explanation (EX2955, DD1892, Record 252-2P) In attendance: Summarized and abbreviated
1630 – Discussion with Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal aboutthe Imperial Rescript on War [the official war proclamation].
Evening – Official Conference with Foreign Minister
Official signature as Prime Minister
1. From 1000 throughout the morning – cabinet meeting
2. 1330 – private meeting with His Majesty (Hatta to be named Minister of Railroads, Ino to be named Minister of Agriculture)
3. 1500 – Imperial installation ceremony for Hatta andIno.
1. From 1000 Liaison Conference, throughout the morning,at the palace. Afternoon – funeral of Princess Kaya.
1. Morning – Privy Council – Foreign Minister Togo, private
2. From 1400 Liaison Conference
3. 1600 – Foreign Minister Togo, private meeting with his majesty
Deliberations at the Liaison Conference of Dec. 4:
1. How to handle Manchukuo with respect to the opening of hostilities
2. How to handle Holland
3. The final notice to the United States
The text was to be the responsibility of the Foreign Minister. It was agreed that notice was to be given before the start of operations, and details were to be worked out between the Foreign Minister, the Army Chief of Staff,and the Chief of Naval Operations.
Dec. 5 (Fri.) Sunny.
Official visit to Imperial War College. Luncheon with Emperor at the Imperial Army Headquarters
1630 – Report to Emperor on what was to be brought upin Cabinet meeting. Discussion with the Lord Keeper Privy Seal about the Imperial Rescript on War (Article 6).
Dec. 6 (Sat.) Cloudy, later sunny
1000 – Liaison Conference at the Palace
1130 – Discussion with Lord Kido, Keeper of the Privy Seal, about Imperial Rescript on War
1500 – 1750 Liaison Conference 1) On negotiations with Germany 2) On instructions on when to begin negotiations with Thailand 3) On when to deliver the notice to the United States. Deliver by hand on the 7th at 3 a.m. (Japan time) 4) How to deal with the Nationalist government with respect to the opening of hostilities 5) Decision about the Imperial Rescript on War 6) Planning for the events of Dec. 8.
Dec. 7 (Sun.) Sunny
1100 – Consultation with Emperor. Discussion with Secretary of the Cabinet Hoshino, and Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, about commencement of hostilities against US, Britain, and Holland.
Dec. 8 (Mon.) Sunny
0100 – Visit from Foreign Minister Togo
0430 – Report came of the success of the Pearl Harbor attack
0600 – Broadcast about entry into war
0715 – Cabinet meeting
0730 – Meeting of the Privy Council, Consultation with Emperor
1000 – End of Privy Council Meeting. Cabinet meeting (East wing of palace, Room 1)
1140 – Presentation of the Imperial Rescript on War
1200 – Broadcast of the Imperial Rescript on War
1300 – Central cooperation meeting of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association
1400 – Army and Navy are given written orders addressed to them directly by the Emperor. Addresses [by Tojo] to the Army Ministry and the Interior Ministry. Paid reverence at Meiji Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine [to Japanese war dead].
1730 – Taped broadcast
1800 – Liaison Conference
The Imperial Conference of December First
Outline of explanations made by Prime Minister Tojo
1. Acting in accordance with the decisions arrived at during the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, the army and navy worked to complete their preparations while, at the same time, the government made every effort to adjust diplomatic relations with the United States. However, the latter effort resulted in failure and it is clear that Japan's claims cannot be met by diplomatic means.
2. We have entered a state that can no longer be tolerated, neither from the point of view of our nation's power nor from an operational point of view. At the same time operational demands can no longer brook delays.
3. At this point, in order to resolve the current crisis, andin order to effect the self-preservation and self-defense of the nation, Japan has no choice but to make war upon the US, Britain, and Holland.
4. The China Incident has already continued for more than four years, and henceforth we are about to enter another great war. I deeply regret that His Highness' heart be inflicted with such a concern.
5. The morale of the officers and men of the army and navy is very high, the spirit of the nation is firm, and the people are prepared to act as one. With a spirit willing to face death, I have no doubt that they will triumph over every difficulty.
6. I seek your [the Emperor's] consideration of these matters.
Explanation by the Foreign Minister "Shigenori Togo"
1. Explanation of the progress of US-Japan negotiations. Although over a period of seven months our nation has offered many compromises, they have held to their original position and will concede nothing.
2. The Japan policy of the United States hinders the establishment of a new order in East Asia – which has been our unwavering policy from the beginning.
3. If we were to accede to American demands, our international stature would sink even lower than it was before the Manchurian Incident, and our existence might be imperiled.
4. Even if we continue negotiations further, there is virtually no possibility of our claims being met.
Explanation by the Chief of Naval Operations, representing the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Navy.
1. We have continued to prepare for operations.As soon as the order to commence operations should be given, we are prepared swiftly to commence operations according to plan.
2. The US, Britain, and Holland have strengthened their preparations for war, but I am convinced that operations can be carried out according to plans that are already established.
3. With respect to the Soviet Union, our diplomacy is coupled with a state of high alert, but at present this does not appear to be a matter of great concern.
4. The martial spirit is high in both officers and men, and the spirit burns within them to serve the nation even unto death. Should orders come, they are eager to do their duty bravely.
Explanation by Interior Minister Tojo
Concerning such things as changes in public opinion,the state of domestic control, the protection of foreigners and foreign diplomats, and special security forces. Efforts will be made so that the various policies for handling emergencies can be carried out without mishap.
Explanation by the Finance Minister
1. So long as the necessary materials, facilities,and skilled labor are available, our nation can be financially self sufficient.
2. Even if Japan issues military or other currency with which to secure labor and materials overseas, it will be difficult to maintain the value of such currency. We will attempt to establish a policy of local self sufficiency [for Japanese troops stationed abroad] and we will limit the despatch of materials overseas to the least amount necessary to maintain local security and to meet the needs of local labor. We must not be overly concerned about such things as a deterioration in the value of local currency, and the turmoil in the local economy that would result.
Explanation by the Agriculture Minister
We must establish measures to bolster self-sufficiency in food stuffs, and develop a coordinated food policy for Japan, Manchuria, and China. We must make plans for an increase in livestock production and fish catches. If thoroughly carried out, these policies can probably ensure the minimum necessary food supply for the people for an extended period.
Main points of questions by Chairman of the PrivyCouncil Hara.
1. Will the current strengthening of the enemy'smilitary preparations be an obstacle to our operations?
(Answer) Chief of Naval Operations: The United States has its forces in a proportion of four in the Atlantic and six in the Pacific. However, it is the British who are currently maneuvering [in a way to threaten us], though they will have no effect on our operations.
2. What tendency is seen in Thailand? What will we do if Thailand opposes us?
(Answer) Prime Minister: That will be dealt with just before occupation. At present, things could go either way; Thailand is wavering. Japan would wish that they do as we ask while there is still peace. Just before we start operations we intend to approach them and have our demands met. If we must resort to force, we will attempt to keep it to a minimum.
3. What measures will be taken in the case of aerial bombardment of the home islands?
[no reply written]
Chairman Hara's final views
1. The American attitude is one that Japan cannot longer tolerate and further negotiation is pointless. War cannot be avoided.
2. There are no doubts about early victory, but in the case of a long war, the support of the people's will is necessary.
3. A long war cannot be avoided, but it is necessary that resolution be reached as quickly as possible. Therefore we must now begin thinking about how things are to be concluded.
4. Decisions About the Formalities of Opening Hostilities. Notice of the Breaking Off of Negotiations.
(1) Neither the date and time of the opening of hostilities nor the related formalities were discussed at the Imperial Conference on Dec. 1.
(2) After the Imperial Conference on Dec. 1, at the At the Liaison Conference on Dec. 4, the following agreements were reached:
1. Foreign Minister Togo's proposal for the final notice was approved.
2. It would be notice to the effect that on Dec. 8th (Japan time) Japan was breaking off diplomatic negotiations and considered itself free to take unhampered action.
3. The above notification would take place in Washington.
4. The above notification would take place before attacking.
5. The time of delivery of the notice would be decided by consultation between the Foreign Minister and the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff.
The diplomatic handling of the final notice would be the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry.
Note: According to Yamamoto's testimony [Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander of the Combined Fleet]:
1. The final notice would be drafted by the Foreign Ministry based on what had been discussed at the Liaison Conference. Corrections to be made, based on discussions with army and navy personnel, and text to be proposed at the Dec. 4 Liaison Conference. Copies to be distributed to all in attendance. Final approval was secured.
2. The participants in the Liaison Conference firmly believed that the last part clearly indicated the breaking of diplomatic relations and the opening of hostilities.
The outline of the final notice was reported by the Foreign Ministry to the cabinet meeting on Dec. 5, and was approved by all present.
Note: According to Yamamoto's testimony, the decision about the formalities of commencing hostilities, that is to say, the decision to give notice in Washington that negotiations were being broken off, was made at a Liaison Conference on Dec. 2nd. The facts are correct, but there was no Liaison Conference on Dec. 2nd. It is my recollection that it was on Dec. 4. [According to General Miki, Tojo is referring here to Kumaichi Yamamoto, who was head of the US desk at the Foreign Ministry during the third Konoe cabinet.]
On the Ultimatum to the United States
1. The final notice [the fourteen-part final Japanese reply to Secretary of State Hull's proposals of November 26] that was ordered to be delivered by hand to the United States government at 1:00 p.m. on Dec. 7, 1941 [Washington, DC, time] is as described in testimony (No. 1245) of this trial.
2. It was believed that in this notice the Japanese government was breaking off diplomatic negotiations and had determined to make war.
3. The research as to whether this notice was in accordance with international law was undertaken with sufficient care by the Foreign Ministry, especially in the Treaty Section, and the Liaison Conference put its faith in that study.
4. I do not accept the prosecution's claim that the text of the notice does not correspond to what the Hague treaty, in article three, calls a declaration of war with reasons included [a reference to the 1907 Hague Convention on the commencement of hostilities]
5. If one reads the 2400 characters of the entire document, particularly in light of circumstances at the time, it criticizes the American attitude, and makes it clear that Japan had no choice but to take military action. Therefore:
(1) World peace must be built upon reality and an understanding of the other's position, and can be achieved only by finding means that are acceptable. It is not conducive to negotiations for one country to ignore reality and force its own selfrighteousness upon another country.
(2) It can only be said that the United States, seduced by its own doctrines and selfishness, was planning to expand the war.
(3) Although it avoided handling its international relations by means of force, the United States government advanced its harsh claims by applying economic pressure, together with the British government and others. This kind of pressure can, at times, be even more inhumane than military pressure and should be avoided as a means of handling international relations.
(4) In every instance, what the US government demanded of Japan ignored reality in China and attempted to subvert the position of Japan, which was the stabilizing force in East Asia. These demands by the American government prove that it had abandoned its position of ceasing to aid Chiang Kai-shek, and that its intention was to hinder the reestablishment not only of peace between Japan and China but in all of East Asia.
The above makes it clear that Japan had lost all hope in further negotiation, and was forced to extreme measures as a matter of pure self defense.
(5) Furthermore, at the end [of the final note] it states: "The Japanese government has finally lost its hope of adjusting international relations and, together with the government of the United States, establishing and supporting peace in the Pacific. It is therefore with much regret that we notify the United States government that having taken into consideration the attitude of the United State government, we see no prospect for a solution by means of continued negotiation."
The above is a notice of a break in diplomatic relations and, moreover, given the strained circumstances of the time, we understood it to be notice of Japan's intent to make war.[On the evening of December 6, 1941, President Roosevelt himself read this and commented: "This means war".]
Note: 1. Yamamoto, in his testimony, says, "The members of the Liaison Conference firmly believed that the last words make clear the intention to break off diplomatic relations and make war."
Various Problems to which the Pearl Harbor Attack is Central
[Tojo's notes of likely trial questions, and draft replies]
1. Why did Japan start the useless Great East Asian War?
Answer: Leaving aside the more distant causes, the direct reasons were as follows: Japan's military and economic survival was threatened by a group of nations led by Britain and the United States. Attempts were made to reach a solution by negotiation between Japan and the United States, but that route was eventually foreclosed, so for reasons of selfpreservation and self-defense, war was decided on.
2. On what day did Japan decide to make war?
Answer: It was decided on the basis of conclusions reached at the Imperial Conference of Dec. 1.
3. As for the Imperial Conference of Dec. 1, was it not the case that war was to be made against the United States, Britain and Holland because the negotiations with America based on the Imperial Policy Execution Outline adopted on Nov. 5 had come to nothing [a reference to the final Japanese proposal for a peaceful settlement].
Answer: That is correct.
4. In that case, Japan decided on war, not for reasons of self preservation, but because the US-Japan negotiations had failed. Is that not so?
Answer: No. Naturally, there were various kinds of problems included in the US-Japan negotiations. However, the main thing was to relieve the threat to Japan's existence. War was decided on because relief could not be obtained.
5. Nevertheless, according to the decisionof the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941, "In order to break out of the present crisis and to achieve self-preservation and self-defense, and in order to establish a new order in Greater East Asia, war against the United States, Britain, and Holland is decided upon and the following measures are to be taken." Does this not show that the establishment of a greater East Asian order was the main objective of the US-Japan negotiations?
Answer: That is correct. At the time, the establishment of the new order in greater East Asia was one objective.
6. If that is the case, then was not the main reason for the decision to go to war the rejection of Japan's claims about the establishment of a new order in greater East Asia?
Answer: No. The establishment of a new order in greater East Asia was one of the objectives of the US-Japan negotiations, but if this had been the only objective there would still have been prospects for a peaceful solution. In fact, during the course of the US-Japan negotiations, in this area Japan considered the American claims and made many concessions in the hope of reaching a solution. However, during this period, economic and military pressure from the British-American side grew ever stronger, and it became clear that Japan's existence was endangered. The decision to go to war was made for that reason. Thus, the main reason for the decision to make war was self-preservation and self-defense.
7. According to the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941, "At this time, it is decided to make war on Britain, the United States, and Holland, and the following measures are to be taken." Does this not mean that the decision to make war on Britain, the United States, and Holland was made, not on Dec. 1st, but by decision of the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5?
Answer: No. At the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, it was decided that war against Britain, the United States and Holland would be unavoidable if no solution could be reached by diplomatic negotiation. On Dec. 1st, war was decided upon as a consequence of the failure of diplomatic negotiations.
8. [sic] Had not Japan already decided at the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941 to make war? Did it not send Ambassador Kurusu to America in order to camouflage the decision to make war and to carry out operations, rather than in any hope of achieving a diplomatic solution?
Answer: No. Japan's position at the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5 1941 was that the decision to make war would be unavoidable if the diplomatic negotiations did not reach a solution. We sincerely hoped that the US-Japan negotiations would achieve a breakthrough.
At that Imperial Conference we did the following:
1) Decided to propose further concessions at the US-Japan negotiations. 2) As can be clearly seen from the decision that the deployment of force would be canceled if negotiations succeeded by 0000 hours of Dec. 1, this was by no means a policy of camouflage. Japan does not engage in camouflage foreign relations as part of a policy to gain power. Moreover, at an important meeting held in the presence of the Emperor, something like this would never have been permitted against his wishes.
9. That can be understood to some degree, but did you not make proposals in the US-Japan negotiations that you knew the United States could not accept, and thus anticipating the failure of the diplomatic negotiations, did you not deceive Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu? Has not Ambassador Nomura himself said, "I had not even imagined an attack on Hawaii"?
Answer: No. What had been decided at the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941, was the limits of the concessions that Japan was then able to make. On the American side, from the very beginning there had not been the slightest softening of demands. It is a fact that only the Japanese side had made concessions. Moreover, in my policy speech, as Prime Minister, to the 77th Diet session on Nov. 17, 1941, I spoke clearly of what we expected from diplomatic negotiations. At the same time, Foreign Minister Togo stated plainly, "Naturally, should it come to a matter in which a great nation were to lose its authority, a strong position must be taken to reject this, and we look forward to negotiations with sufficient determination on this point." The full text was broadcast overseas at the time, intentions were made clear to the world, and the full text was printed in American newspapers. Consequently, at that stage American officials should have understood Japan's resolve.
If, at that point, the American side had accepted Japanese concessions and the US-Japan negotiations had reached a solution, deployment of force and preparations for same would have promptly been canceled, in accordance with the decision of the Nov. 5th Imperial Conference. To know this is to know that there was no camouflage policy. That Ambassador Nomura did not expect an attack on Hawaii is a fact. That sort of attack is top secret from an operational point of view, and in order for it not to be disclosed, it was not even revealed to the general cabinet members who participated in the Imperial Conference.
10. When were operational preparations started for war against the United States, Britain, and Holland?
Answer: That would be a matter for the Imperial General Headquarters and I do not know the details, but both the army and navy started operational preparations on the basis of decisions taken at the Nov.5, 1941, Imperial Conference. However, this was undertaken on condition that if there were a compromise in the diplomatic negotiations by 0000 hours, Dec. 1, 1941, everything could be halted immediately.
11. Is it correct to assume that the orders with regard to the opening of hostilities in the war against the United States, Britain, and Holland were issued immediately after the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941?
Answer: No. Immediately after the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941, orders were given for joint operational preparations by the army and navy, and they would not have been orders to start operations. At this Imperial Conference it was decided only to start preparing for operations.
12. In that case, what were the specifics of those preparations?
Answer: That would be a matter for the Imperial General Headquarters and not within the area about which I can responsibly speak. About the navy, in particular, I am poorly informed.
13. Tell us what you knew as Army Minister.
Answer: As I recall, the principal matters were as follows. However, they were undertaken principally under the authority of the Army Chief of Staff.
Nov. 6, 1941 – General Headquarters of the Southern Army. Appointment of Marshall Terauchi as Supreme Commander of the Southern Army. Marshall Terauchi ordered to prepare to occupy vital areas to the south.
Nov. 15, 1941 – Decision on an outline for an operations plan against Britain and U.S.
14. Did you know about the "Imperial Policy Execution Outline" that was adopted at the Imperial Conference of Sept. 6, 1941?
Answer: I don't recall the details but I have a general knowledge of it.
15. About its general outline:
Based on Japan's resolve to wage war against the United States, Britain, and Holland for reasons of self-preservation and self-defense, war preparations were to be largely complete by the latter part of October. Also, as mentioned before, if, by the first part of October, Japan's requirements were still not met by diplomatic negotiation, Japan was resolved to wage war on the United States, Britain, and Holland. This is to say that preparations for war against the US, Britain, and Holland, that is to say, for the Great East Asian War, were not decided on at the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, 1941, but had already been decided on at the Imperial Conference of Sept. 6, had they not?
Answer: Yes. As pointed out in the main text, under the strained circumstances of the time, for its own selfpreservation and self-defense, Japan was to make every attempt at diplomacy. However, if Japan's requirements could not be met, we had resolved to prepare for war, and were resolved to wage war against the US, Britain, and Holland. Thus, our war preparations had two postures: both war and peace.
16. The war preparations based on the decisions of the Imperial conference of Sept. 6,1941, were reconfirmed at the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5, were they not?
Answer: No. They were not reconfirmed. The war preparations of the Sept. 6 Imperial Conference were based on the possibility of war with the US, Britain, and Holland, and were preparations in a broad sense. Specific preparations had not yet begun. In the meantime, the third Konoe cabinet had fallen and the Tojo cabinet had taken its place. Under instruction of the Emperor, all decisions up to the point were returned to a state of blank paper, and the current conditions were reappraised by the Liaison Conference. It was on a new foundation that operations planning was decided on at the Nov. 5th Imperial Conference.
17. Even if that were the case, it was canceled only in the mind, and in reality war preparations had been continued since Sept. 6, and consequently they were only reconfirmed on Nov. 5 were they not?
Answer: No. It was not only in the mind. It was based on the results of a reappraisal, and in reality, the preparations that began Sept. 6 were canceled. To be specific, this is clear from the fact that such specific operational preparations as the appointment of the Supreme Commander of the Southern Army and the conclusion of the outline for operational plans against the US and Britain took place after the Imperial Conference of Nov. 5th.
18. Do you know about the "Imperial Policy Execution Outline to Follow Changing Circumstances" that was established at the Imperial Conference of July 2, 1941?
Answer: I don't remember the details but I know the general outline.
19. [sic] In order to execute the decision items it clearly says, "completion of preparations for war against Britain and America," and "do not shirk from war with Britain and America." Judging from this, had not plans for the Great East Asian War already been considered by July 2, 1941?
Answer: This Imperial Conference was held to set national policy after the beginning of hostilities between Germany and the Soviet Union. [Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.] Its main thrusts were to maintain the policy of establishing the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, and to determine a southern policy as well as a posture to adopt towards northern problems so as to solve the China Incident and establish a foundation for self-preservation and selfdefense. With respect to executing a southern policy with regard to French Indochina and Thailand, these were contingency defensive preparations against the possibility that we might face military resistance from Britain or America. These were not preparations for the Great East Asian War, which came later.
20. Earlier you said that the resolve to make war on Britain and America was a result of military and economic threats from the British-American side that endangered the existence of Japan, and was for self-preservation and self-defense, but when did those threats begin to be felt?
Answer: In answer to that question, let me first say three things.
First, Japan, China and Manchuria are at the center of a northern threat from Soviet power in the Siberian area, British power directed eastward from India, Burma, and Malaya, and American power directed northward from the Pacific. Thus, they were at the center of these three great forces and were in circumstances in which, as independent nations, they had to engage in self-preservation and self-defense.
Second, in that environment, from July of 1937, Japan had been at war with China – a China complicated by the various powers' rights and privileges. Japan's opponent, the Chungking government, was receiving support from powerful Britain and America, and was continuing the war.
Third, after the first great European war, the United States raised its tariffs and strengthened the Pan American Union. Britain tightened its grip on the British economic bloc, the Soviet Union went into isolation, and Japan's trade was excluded all around the world. Then, when war broke out in Europe in 1939, one of its effects was that Japan's peaceful trade was restricted to the United States and the southern countries, and this trade was vital to the support of Japan's existence.
21. When did Japan begin to feel menaced by the British-American side?
Answer: In early 1940 there was a threat to Japan in the [US] naval policy proposal. On July 25, 1940, oil and scrap metal were put on a permit-only basis. In Aug. 1940, there was the establishment of a regular Joint Committee with Canada. In Sept. 1940, there was a representative meeting in Britain of Africa, Hong Kong, Malaya, Palestine and Britain about maintenance of the situation in French Indochina. Jan. 15, 1941, a Conference on Joint Pacific Defense was held in Washington for US, Britain, and Holland. In Feb. 1941, there were measures to reinforce military bases in East Asia, Alaska, and the Pacific, followed by a concentration of forces in Malaya, Burma, and on the Thai border in order to disturb conversations between Japan and Thailand. On March 11, 1941, the Lend-Lease Act was passed.
22. Wasn't that because war preparations had been completed and the decision had been made to go to war? History shows that among the reasons for war there are always misunderstandings and miscalculations. Wasn't it because there were important misunderstandings between Japan and the United States?
Answer: The US-Japan negotiations were a series of misunderstandings right from the start. However, the Hull note could not possibly have been a simple misunderstanding. [This is a reference to Secretary of State Hull's stiff response to the Japanese proposals of November 25, 1941, which he issued on the following day.]
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Hideki Tojo's Prison Diary|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 12, no. 1 (spring 1992), pp. 31-85|
|First posted on CODOH:||Nov. 17, 2012, 6 p.m.|