On September 2, 1945, Imperial Japan formally surrendered to the Allies, bringing to a close the four-year conflict between Japan and the United States and effectively ending World War II.

Following the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 and the Russian invasion of Japanese-occupied Manchuria, Emperor Hirohito announced on August 15 that Japan would stop its war effort and accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, outlining the conditions of Japanese surrender to Allied Forces. However, the Potsdam Declaration was only a temporary cease fire, setting the stage for the more formal surrender to be signed the next month.

QuotesThe surrender ceremony, held in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship USS Missouri, marked the last of three orders of surrender signed by the Axis powers:

- September 8, 1943 – Italy

- May 7, 1945 – German

- September 2, 1945 – Japan

On board the Missouri, Supreme Commander for the Allies General Douglas MacArthur and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the unconditional surrender, ending US and Japanese involvement in the war that had started in December 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Other countries listed on the Instrument of Surrender were Republic of China, United Kingdom, USSR, Australia, Canada, France, Netherlands, and New Zealand, all of whom had representatives on board to sign. Terms of the surrender included restrictions on Japan’s military replenishment and economic sanctions.

QuotesDuring WWII, a total of 1,740,000 Japanese and 111,606 Americans were killed in the Pacific Theater.

While the war was a terrible time for both countries, Japan and the US soon became allies, helping Japan rebuild its devastated industrial complex. Today, the two countries work closely together on trade and commerce issues, and nearly 40,000 US military personnel are stationed in Japan across six Army, Navy, and Air Force bases.

Surrender Signing