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Japanese Instrument of Surrender

The Instrument of Surrender of Japan a document signed by representatives of the Empire of Japan, the United States, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dominion of New Zealand on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 (known as V-J day to Allied forces) and which thereby closed the Pacific Theatre of World War II and marked the end of the entire war.

It was first signed by Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu "By Command and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government" and then Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu "By Command and in behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters" at 9:04 AM. Afterwards, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, also signed. He was followed by Adm. Chester Nimitz of the U.S., Hsu Yung-Ch'ang of the ROC, Bruce Fraser of the UK, Kuzma Derevyanko of the Soviet Union, Thomas Blamey of Australia, L. Moore Cosgrave of Canada, Jacques le Clerc of France, C.E.L. Helfrich of the Netherlands, and Leonard M. Isitt of New Zealand.

On September 6, Colonel Bernard Theilen brought the document and an imperial rescript to Washington, DC and on the following day presented them to President Harry Truman in a formal White House ceremony. The documents were then exhibited at the National Archives.

The document prepared by the United States War Department. It set out in eight short paragraphs the complete capitulation of Japan. The opening words, "We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan," signified the importance attached to the Emperor's role by the Americans who drafted the document. The short second paragraph went straight to the heart of the matter: "We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated."

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