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Treaty of San Francisco(San Francisco Peace Treaty)
Treaty of Peace with Japan
English Treaty of Peace with Japan
French Traité de paix avec le Japon
Spanish Tratado de Paz con Japón

The Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco or San Francisco Peace Treaty), between the Allied Powers and Japanmarker, was officially signed by 49 nations on September 8, 1951 in San Francisco, Californiamarker. It came into force on April 28, 1952.

This treaty served to officially end World War II, to formally end Japan's position as an imperial power, and to allocate compensation to Allied civilians and former prisoners of war who had suffered Japanese war crimes. This treaty made extensive use of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to enunciate the Allies' goals.

This treaty, along with the Security Treaty signed that same year, is said to mark the beginning of the "San Francisco System;" this term, coined by historian John W. Dower, signifies the effects of Japan's relationship with the United States and its role in the international arena as determined by these two treaties and is used to discuss the ways in which these effects have governed Japan's post-war history.

Attending countries

Argentinamarker, Australia, Belgiummarker, Boliviamarker, Brazilmarker, Cambodiamarker, Canadamarker, Chilemarker, Colombiamarker, Costa Ricamarker, Cubamarker, Czechoslovakiamarker, Dominican Republicmarker, Ecuadormarker, Egyptmarker, El Salvadormarker, Ethiopiamarker, Francemarker, Greecemarker, Guatemalamarker, Haitimarker, Hondurasmarker, Indonesiamarker, Iranmarker, Iraqmarker, Japanmarker, Laosmarker, Lebanonmarker, Liberiamarker, Luxembourgmarker, Mexicomarker, The Netherlandsmarker, New Zealandmarker, Nicaraguamarker, Norwaymarker, Pakistanmarker, Panamamarker, Paraguaymarker, Perumarker, The Philippinesmarker, Polandmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, the Soviet Unionmarker, Sri Lankamarker, South Africa,Syriamarker, Turkeymarker, the United Kingdommarker, the United Statesmarker, Uruguaymarker, Venezuelamarker, Vietnammarker attended the Conference and signed the Treaty.

Burmamarker, Indiamarker, and Yugoslavia were also invited, but did not participate; India considered certain provisions of the Treaty to constitute limitations on Japanese sovereignty and national independence. India signed a separate peace treaty, for the purpose of giving Japan a proper position of honor and equality among the community of free nations, on June 9, 1952. Neither the Republic of Chinamarker in Taiwanmarker nor the People's Republic of Chinamarker in mainland China were invited because of the Chinese Civil War and the controversy over which government was legitimate, and as a consequence of U.S.-U.K. disagreement over the Chinese participation, neither Koreamarker was invited. Italymarker was not invited either, notwithstanding the fact that the anti-fascist Badoglio cabinet had issued a formal declaration of war to Japan on July 14, 1945, just a few weeks before the end of the war.Pakistan as a state had not existed at the time of the war but was invited anyway since it was a successor state to British India, a major combatant against Japan.

Soviet Union's opposition to the Treaty

The Soviet Union took part in the San Francisco conference, and the Soviet delegation was led by the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. From the start of the conference the Soviet Union expressed vigorous and vocal opposition to the draft treaty text prepared by the United States and the United Kingdom. The Soviet delegation made several unsuccessful procedural attempts to stall the proceedings. The Soviet Union's objections were detailed in a lengthy September 8, 1951 statement by Gromyko. The statement contained a number of Soviet Union's claims and assertions: that the treaty did not provide any guarantees against the rise of Japanese militarism; that Communist China was not invited to participate despite being one of the main victims of the Japanese aggression; that the Soviet Union was not properly consulted when the treaty was being prepared; that the treaty sets up Japan as an American military base and draws Japan into a military coalition directed against the Soviet Union; that the treaty was in effect a separate peace treaty; that the draft treaty violated the rights of China to Taiwan and several other islands; that several Japanese islands were ceded by the treaty to the United States despite the U.S. not having any legitimate claim to them; that the draft treaty, in violation of the Yalta agreementmarker, did not recognize the Soviet Union's sovereignty over South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands; and other objections.

Signatories and ratification

Of the 52 participating countries, 49 signed the treaty; Czechoslovakiamarker, Polandmarker and the Soviet Unionmarker refused.

The signatories to the treaty were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Republic of the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Japan.

The Philippines ratified the San Francisco Treaty on July 16, 1956, after the signing of a reparations agreement between both countries in May of that year.

Indonesia did not ratify the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Instead, it signed with Japan a bilateral reparations agreement and peace treaty on January 20, 1958.

A separate treaty, the Treaty of Taipei, formally known as the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty, was signed in Taipei on April 28, 1952 between Japan and the Republic of China, just hours before the Treaty of San Francisco went into effect.

The fate of Japanese overseas territories

Yoshida and members of the Japanese delegation sign the Treaty.
The document officially renounces Japanmarker's treaty rights derived from the Boxer Protocol of 1901 and its rights to Koreamarker, Formosa (Taiwanmarker), Hong Kongmarker (a British colony), the Kuril Islandsmarker, the Pescadoresmarker, the Spratly Islandsmarker, Antarcticamarker and Sakhalinmarker Island.

Article 3 of the treaty formally put the Bonin Islandsmarker and the Ryukyu Islandsmarker, which included Okinawamarker and the Amamimarker, Miyakomarker and Yaeyama Islandsmarker groups, under U.S.marker trusteeship. The Amami Islands were eventually restored to Japan on December 25, 1953, as well as the Bonin Islandsmarker on April 5, 1968. In 1969 U.S.-Japan negotiations authorized the transfer of authority over the Ryūkyūs to Japan to be implemented in 1972. In 1972, the United States "reversion" of the Ryūkyūs occurred along with the ceding of control over the nearby (uninhabited) Senkaku Islandsmarker. Both the People's Republic of Chinamarker and the Republic of Chinamarker, now commonly known as "Taiwan", argue that this agreement did not determine the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islandsmarker.

By Article 11 Japan accepted the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied War Crimes Courts both within and outside Japan and agreed to carry out the sentences imposed thereby upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan.

The document further set guidelines for repatriation of prisoners of war and renounces future military aggression under the guidelines set by the UN Charter. The document nullifies prior treaties and lays down the framework for Japan's current status of retaining a military that is purely defensive in nature.

There is also some ambiguity as to over which islands Japan has renounced sovereignty. This has led to both the Kuril Island conflictmarker and the Diaoyutai/Senkaku dispute.

The Treaty of Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China acknowledged the terms of the San Francisco Treaty but added that all residents of Taiwan and the Pescadores were nationals of the Republic of China.

Some supporters of Taiwan independence argue that the language in San Francisco Peace Treaty proves the notion that Taiwan is not a part of China, for it does not explicitly state the sovereignty status of Taiwan after Japanese renunciation. This legal justification is rejected by both the PRC and ROC governments, both of which base their legal claims on Taiwan on the Instrument of Surrender of Japan which they argue incorporates the Potsdam Declaration and the Cairo Declaration. In addition, in more recent years supporters of Taiwan independence have more often relied on arguments based on self-determination as implied in the San Francisco Peace Treaty and popular sovereignty.

In October 1956 the Soviet Union and Japan signed a Joint Declaration, which ended the state of war between the two countries and provided for the restoration of normal diplomatic relations. However, no separate peace treaty has been signed with Japan even after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. This has prevented the Russo-Japanese territorial disputes from being resolved.

Compensation to Allied civilians and POWs

Transfer of Japanese overseas assets

Japanese overseas assets refers to all assets owned by the Japanese government, firms, organization and private citizens, in colonized or occupied countries. In accordance with Clause 14 of the Treaty, Allied forces confiscated all Japanese overseas assets, except those in China, which were dealt with under Clause 21. China repossessed all Japanese assets in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, which included mineworks and railway infrastructure. Moreover, Clause 4 of the treaty stated that "the disposition of property of Japan and of its nationals...and their claims...against the authorities presently administering such areas and the residents...shall be the subject of special arrangements between Japan and such authorities." Consequently, it is considered that Korea was also entitled to the rights provided by Clause 21.

Japanese overseas assets in 1945 (1945, ¥15=1US$)
Country/region Value (Yen) Value (US Dollars)
Korea 7,025,600,000 468,370,000
Taiwan 42,542,000,000 2,846,100,000
North East China 146,532,000,000 9,768,800,000
North China 55,437,000,000 3,695,800,000
Central South China 36,718,000,000 2,447,900,000
Others 28,014,000,000 1,867,600,000
Total ¥379,499,000,000 $25,300,000,000

Compensation to Allied POWs

Clause 16 of the San Francisco Treaty states:

As an expression of its desire to indemnify those members of the armed forces of the Allied Powers who suffered undue hardships while prisoners of war of Japan, Japan will transfer its assets and those of its nationals in countries which were neutral during the war, or which were at war with any of the Allied Powers, or, at its option, the equivalent of such assets, to the International Committee of the Red Cross which shall liquidate such assets and distribute the resultant fund to appropriate national agencies, for the benefit of former prisoners of war and their families on such basis as it may determine to be equitable. The categories of assets described in Article 14(a)2(II)(ii) through (v) of the present Treaty shall be excepted from transfer, as well as assets of Japanese natural persons not residents of Japan on the first coming into force of the Treaty. It is equally understood that the transfer provision of this Article has no application to the 19,770 shares in the Bank for International Settlements presently owned by Japanese financial institutions.

Accordingly, Japan paid £4,500,000 to the Red Crossmarker.

Clause 16 has served as a bar against subsequent lawsuits filed by former Allied prisoners of war against Japan. In 1998, a Tokyo court ruled against a suit brought by former Allied POW's, citing the San Francisco Treaty.

According to historian Linda Goetz Holmes, many funds used by the government of Japan were not Japanese funds but relief funds contributed by the governments of USA, UK and Netherlands and sequestred in the Yokohama Specie Bank during the final year of the war.

Allied territories occupied by Japan

Clause 14 of the treaty stated that "Japan will promptly enter into negotiations with Allied Powers so desiring, whose present territories were occupied by Japanese forces and damaged by Japan, with a view to assisting to compensate those countries for the cost of repairing the damage done, by making available the services of the Japanese people in production, salvaging and other work for the Allied Powers in question."

Accordingly, the Philippines and South Vietnam received compensation in 1956 and 1959 respectively. Burma and Indonesia were not original signatories, but they later signed bilateral treaties in accordance with Clause 14 of the San Francisco Treaty.

Japanese compensation to countries occupied during 1941–45
Country Amount in Yen Amount in US$ Date of treaty
Burma 72,000,000,000 200,000,000 November 5, 1955
Philippines 198,000,000,000 550,000,000 May 9, 1956
Indonesia 80,388,000,000 223,080,000 January 20, 1958
Vietnam 14,400,000,000 38,000,000 May 13, 1959
Total ¥364,348,800,000 US$1,012,080,000 N/A

The last payment was made to the Philippines on July 22, 1976.

See also


  1. Social Studies: History for Middle School. 7–2. Japan's Path and World Events p.2, Teikoku Shoin [1]
  2. Dr. Manmohan Singh's banquet speech in honor of Japanese Prime Minister, April 29, 2005 New Delhi Prime Minister's Office
  3. "50 Years from San Francisco: Re-examining the peace treaty and Japan's territorial problems." [2]
  4. "The World at War – Chronology of World War II Diplomacy 1939–1945"
  6. Text of Gromyko's Statement on the Peace Treaty.New York Times, page 26, September 9, 1951
  7. Peace Treaties after World War II: Peace treaty signed in San Francisco, September 8, 1951 The History Channel [3]
  8. Foreign Office Files for Japan and the Far East 1951: September, Adam Matthew Publications [4]
  9. Indai Lourdes Sajor, "Military Sexual Slavery: Crimes against humanity", in Gurcharan Singh Bhatia (ed), Peace, justice and freedom: human rights challenges for the new millennium Alberta University Press, 2000, p.177
  10. Ken'ichi Goto, Paul H. Kratoska, Tensions of empire: Japan and Southeast Asia in the colonial and postcolonial world, NUS Press, 2003, p.260
  11. Agreement between Japan and the United States of America Concerning Nanpo Shoto and Other Islands, April 5, 1968[5]
  12. Agreement between Japan and the United States of America Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands, June 17, 1971[6]
  13. CNN – Anger as court rejects Allied POWs compensation suit – November 26, 1998
  14. Linda Goetz Holmes, Unjust Enrichment: How Japan's Companies Built Postwar Fortunes Using American POWs

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