The following is a retyped version of the unsent declaration of war. 

The unsent declaration was found, unsigned,  in microfilm form in the Japanese Foreign Ministryís Historical Archive by Professor Butow at the University of Washington.  Professor Takeo Iguchi then discovered the Japanese version complete with the signature of Mr. Kase who, when confronted with this version, admitted authorship. For a scanned copy of the original document, click here, then proceed from "Japan1" to "Japan7."
 
 
 
 
 

                                                                             December th, 1941

 

 

Your Excellency:

    I have the honour, under instructions from my Government, to inform your Excellency that as the
hostile measures taken by the United States have seriously jeopardized the security, and
therefore existence, of Japan, they have been constrained to resort to measures of self-defense
and consequently there now exists a state of war between the two countries.

    I am also directed to leave with Your Excellency a copy of the Statement of my Government which
sets forth their views concerning the rupture of our relations.

    I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of my highest
consideration.

                                        Statement of the Japanese Government

 

    Being earnestly desirous of the peace of the Pacific, the Japanese Government have consistently
pursued a policy of promoting friendly relations with Great Britain and the United States. These
relations, however, have suffered a progressive deterioration in recent years largely through the
unresponsive attitude of these Powers who have failed to understand the realities of the situation
prevailing in our part of the world.

    Our cardinal policy aims at inaug[u]rating a new order in Greater East Asia throughout which we are
striving to ensure and enhance a common prosperity. It is essentially a policy of peace designed
to cultivate the friendship among, and increase the welfare of, the peoples of this vast region.
It is thus a policy calculated to serve the interests of these peoples, rebounding ultimately to
the benefit of the whole mankind.

    Great Britain and the United States, however, have willfully misunderstood our aims and
aspirations and, in collusion with other hostile countries, have endeavoured, openly and covertly,
to oppose and obstruct the peaceful execution of our constructive policy. The Anglo-saxon Powers
have not scrupled to render active assistances to the Chungking regime, a mere pawn in their game
of Imperialist politics, prolonging the latterís futile struggle to the untold misery of Chinaís
teeming millions who are becoming increasingly anxious for peace with Japan. By aiding the
Chungking regime these Powers have greatly impeded the restoration of tranquility in China and by
thus opposing our efforts for a speedy settlement of the China Affair, they have more than
forfeited the good will of our people. Anxious, however, to maintain amicable relations with them,
Japan has, displaying utmost patience, persevered in the face of provocations hoping that they
will reconsider and repair their attitude. It is highly regrettable that those Powers should have
failed to respond to our policy and should have, on the contrary, resorted to unfriendly measures,
of them very severe and stringent, vis-à-vis this country.

    In these circumstances, Japan concluded the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy, two leading
Powers of Europe who, fully sharing our views, have pledged their willing cooperation in
establishing a new order in Greater East Asia. But our association with the Axis Powers has added
yet another cause of alienation in our relations with the so-called Democratic Powers who have
begun to entertain unwarranted misapprehensions regarding our policy and purposes, despite our
repeated assurances that we seek no quarrel with them. Far from harbouring any aggressive designs,
Japan was, as stated above, bent upon the peaceful initiation of an era of common prosperity
throughout the Greater East Asia.

    It will be recalled that in August last year Japanese forces were dispatched to Northern French
Indo-China in connection with the prosecution of the China Affair. Later on, in summer this year,
our forces made a peaceful entry into the Southern region in virtue of the Protocole for the Joint
Defense of French Indo-China in order to cope with the grave situation developing in the
South-western Pacific, due to the rapid augmentation of military measures by the United States,
Great Britain and her allies and associates. These Powers chose to regard our peaceful advance
into Southern French Indo-China as a menace to their territories and froze our assets in their
respective countries, a measure tantamount to a wholesale rupture of economic relations. They have
since even gone the length of establishing encircling positions against Japan which, creating an
unprecedented tension in the Pacific, has greatly exacerbated their relations with us. The
increasing pressure they have brought to bear upon Japan has as its aim no other than our economic
strangulation. Sometimes, economic warfare is admittedly more cruel and disastrous than an open
resort to arms. Thus the ruthless measures of economic attrition now directed against us
constitute[s] a really serious threat, affecting as they deeply do, the very existence of our
Empire. In other words, we, as a nation, are faced with the question of life and death. We could
not acquiesce in those hostile measures, as it would spell the decline and downfall of our nation.

    Finding ourselves in such a predicament, we still patiently endeavored to seek a peaceful way out
of it. The negotiations at Washington is a case in point.

    Our Government have, since April last, conducted protracted negotiations with the American
Government with a view to bringing about a friendly and fundamental adjustment of the
Japanese-American relations. We were afraid that the steady deterioration of our relations would,
if left without a timely check, drift toward an inevitable catastrophe, an awful eventuality
entailing immense suffering not only on the countries in the Pacific basin but on the entire
mankind as well. We were convinced that, good will animating both sides, there should be no
question that is not amenable to amicable settlement. We, therefore, exercised utmost patience
and, in the spirit of compromise, proposed many a formula, often involving great sacrifices on our
part, to meet the desires of the American Government which were, we much regret to say, not always
reasonable nor practicable. In fact, we went to the last possible limit of concessions, short of
compromising the honour and prestige as a great Power, in order to satisfy the United States. But
the latter has persistently maintained a very rigid attitude, making not the slightliest[sic] gesture
to respond to our sincere efforts to reach a friendly settlement. In short, the American
Government were singularly lacking in the spirit of mutual accomodation which is indispensable to
a successful conclusion of any international negotiations. They maintained, throughout the course
of negotiations lasting more than seven months, their original position from which they stubbornly
refused to withdraw even  an inch. Thus, it has finally come to the present pass where it can no longer
serve any useful purpose by continuing further negotiations. Our untiring and unsparing efforts
have been frustrated through the uncompromising attitude of the American Government and we have
now been forced, although with great reluctance, to abandon the negotiations and, with that,
renounce our cherished desire to come to a friendly understanding with the United States.

    With the breakdown of the negotiations, we have thus been led to give up, at last and finally, the
hope to find an escape, through peaceful means, from our predicament. At the same time, the
hostile ring encircling our Empire is being steadily strengthened day after day, gravely
threatening our safety and security. The economic warfare, in its most relentless form, is also
being prosecuted with renewed energy against this country. In short, the concerted pressure of the
hostile Powers is such that our national existence is now in serious jeopardy. Standing at the
cross-roads of her destiny, Japan decided to defend her prime right of existence, a course that
offered the only possible way of survival. Our patience finally exhausted and our destiny at
stake, the nation has risen, as one man, to meet the challenge. Steeped in the conviction that
right always will triumph, our hundred million peoples have girt on the sword of justice, anxious
to defend the fatherland and eager to vindicate our glorious cause.
 
 
 

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