[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 20:05 GMT
Diary reveals Hirohito war doubts
By Steve Jackson
BBC East Asia analyst

Emperor Hirohito
Did Hirohito play an active part in planning and conducting the war?
Japanese emperor Hirohito expressed doubts about going to war with China in the 1930s and 40s, extracts from a diary of one of his advisers reveal.

They show Hirohito was afraid the Soviet Union would intervene.

The diary by Kuraji Ogura, who worked as a chamberlain to Hirohito in World War II, was found recently and parts have been published in Japan's media.

The full text may help solve the debate about how much responsibility the emperor had for Japan's wartime action.

South Pacific visit

The document is 600 pages long and includes an account of Ogura's experiences between 1939 and 1945.

According to a diary entry in October 1940, Hirohito expressed concern that the Japanese army had underestimated China when it launched a full-scale invasion in 1937.

A later extract quotes Hirohito as saying he had not wanted the war with China to begin, because he was afraid the Soviet Union would intervene.

However, in another section of the diary - more of which is due to be published on Saturday - Hirohito appeared to be more optimistic.

He said he hoped to visit the South Pacific after the war, a region he believed would by then be part of Japanese territory.

Hirohito never spoke to the public until the Japanese surrender in 1945, so his assistant's diary does shed some interesting light on his views.

The full text may reveal whether he was carried along by his advisers and the military or played an active part in the planning and conduct of the war.

Hirohito film makes Tokyo debut
05 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Japan names day after Hirohito
14 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Hirohito 'active' in war
27 Aug 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan's Dowager Empress dies
16 Jun 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Asia marks end of war in Pacific
15 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific