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16th May 1945

In a formal decision of the cabinet Japan recognized yesterday that the tri-partite treaty, the subsequent Axis military alliance, the anti-Comintern pact, and other related treaties have been “rendered null and void”. As if by pre-arrangement the vernacular are full of portents and warnings.

“The ground fighting on the main Okinawa island has become more difficult and has come to assume aspects admitting of no optimism for the future,” broods the Mainichi in a lengthy summary of the battle there. “It is considered inevitable,” adds the Tokyo Shimbun, “that the number of enemy planes raiding the mainland shall rapidly increase in number.” Both articles are tomely and typical of Japanese expectations. They may be worth reproduction for future comparison with the facts and with the corresponding American versions.

The Mainichi on Okinawa: At first the Japanese forces resorted to the tactics of enticing the enemy forces to complete their landing instead of attacking them on the beach, because the latter method would have entailed serious sacrifices on our part as was the case in the Peleliu campaign. Afterward it was planned to subject the enemy forces  to serious losses by taking advantage of the well-constructed positions in the interior of the island.

“Thus our forces aimed to smash the enemy warships and other vessels on the sea, cutting off the supply-line, while on land they aimed to inflict losses on the enemy and shatter his fighting-power and fighting-will. Accordingly the enemy landed on the main Okinawa island on the 1st April without meeting the customary resistance and easily occupied the north and central airfields. But when the enemy advanced to the line connecting Oyama and Tsuha via Shinoushi bay, he met our full-fledged counter-attack. Since then a sanguinary battle has raged between the two opposing forces….

“Our counter-attack which started in the evening of the 12th April broke the first deadlock. This counter-attack, short in time and limited in area, caused the enemy serious losses and delayed his second offensive one week. Our side however suffered considerable exhaustion in its fighting power.

“Thereafter the enemy reorganized his positions and resorted to another offensive, mobilizing four full divisions in the southern section of the island alone. The enemy however met strong resistance and on the 23rd April or thereabouts he was compelled to withdraw the 96th and 27th divisions to the rear.

“The enemy advance, notwithstanding, continued steadily though slowly. On the 12th May the enemy reached high ground menacing the line connecting [illegible] and Shuri. Of course the fate of the Okinawa battle does not depend on this line alone and we have still bases back of it but so long as the enemy finds it possible to obtain reinforcements and so long as the enemy can use tanks and other fire-power arms effectively against us, future ground fighting is expected to become more intensified.

“Our air units, including the special attack corps, have been causing the enemy sea forces serious losses to such an extent that already more than 500 enemy vessels, large and small, have been sunk or damaged. This has had the effect of paralyzing the enemy’s Pacific fleet….

“(But) whatever losses the Japanese may force or the enemy in his sea strength, if they allow the enemy to advance on important lines on land, the war situation will have to be declared disadvantageous to our side…. Due to our valiant fighting on land one-third of the enemy ground force has been disabled but our losses have not been small. The resent margin of strength between the two opposing forces is so large that if the present state of affairs is allowed to continue, it is calculated that the enemy will outlast our forces on the island. No further delay is therefore permissible. At this moment we can only attack and do nothing but attack.”

The Tokyo Shimbun on the air blitz: “The number of enemy planes that came over on the 13th and 14th May totalled some 630 b-25’s and over 2000 carrier-borne planes and seaplanes of varying size. Their aerial invasion covered almost the entire area of the mainland.

“Since the construction of the air base in the Marianas has evidently been completed, it is but natural that the enemy air-raids should increase in number…. Accordingly we are not taken aback by the frequency of the latest air-raids. We have also fully anticipated correspondingly heavier losses.

“The question facing us now is how the losses can be minimized. Frankly speaking the work of air defense in the large cities has not been successfully conducted and is still far from complete…. In some localities indications are seen that the authorities, in giving advice to the farmers, only succeed in frightening them. It is to be hoped that the government and local authorities, both military and civilian, will make further efforts in this direction.”