Imperial Rescript Declaration of war on America and Britain



I, the emperor of Dainippon Teikoku, protected by gods, unbroken line of sovereigns, inform you, the loyal and brave nationals of Japan.

I hereby declare war on the United States of America and the British Empire.

The men and officers of our Army and Navy shall do their utmost in fighting the war. The government officials shall dedicate themselves to their work, people carry out their own duties, strengthen the nation by uniting the minds of 100 billion people of Japan, be mindful so as not to make mistakes in accomplishing the purpose of this war.

I have always been putting effort to ensure the stability in East Asia and to contribute to world peace, as I regard it a grand policy that had been planned by Meiji Emperor, that was then succeeded by Taishō Emperor. It has been at the center of our foreign policy to strengthen the friendship with Asian nations and enjoy mutual prosperity.

Now, against our wish, with our regret, we have come to fight against America and Britain. We have been put into an impossible situation. It is not my true desire to declare war.

To my dismay, the government of the Republic China has been causing conflicts without any good reasons, disturbing the peace in East Asia, ignoring our true intentions. That led us to pick up our arms, and already 4 years have passed since then.

Fortunately, the National Government has newly been displaced by Nanking Government. Japan has established good working neighborly relationship with Nanking Government. However, Chiang Kai-shek, remaining in Chungking, still has not given up to fight against Nanking Government, receiving backups from Britain and America.

Britain and America have immoral ambition of conquering the Orient, hiding behind in the name of Peace, promote disorder in East Asia by supporting Chiang Kai-shek. Furthermore, Britain and America invited other nations of similar interest to join them in challenging Japan. They increased their military presence all around Japan, obstructed our peaceful trades in various ways, and finally exercised strategic economy sanction, posing enormous threat to the very survival of our nation.

I have long been patiently encouraged our government to solve the matter peacefully, but I have concluded that Britain and America have no intention of any compromise, unreasonably delaying the matter to settle. During the meantime, they are planning to force Japan surrender, by intensifying the economic and militaristic threats.

If this situation persists, our past effort of maintaining East Asian stability will completely be wasted, and Japan will also be faced with the danger of destruction. I have reached the conclusion that we must be decisive in standing up for our self-defense and self-preservation, and try to remove all the obstacles that are hindering our existence.

Under the spirit of our ancestors, rusting your loyalty and courage, I hope to protect the glory of our nation by furthering the great efforts that our ancestors achieved, promptly removing calamities, and establishing the eternal peace in the East Asia.




December 8, 1941