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The Supreme War Council (軍事参議院, Gunji sangiin) was established during the development of representative government in Meiji period Japan to further strengthen the authority of the state. Its first leader was Yamagata Aritomo (1838–1922), a Chōshū native who has been credited with the founding of the modern Imperial Japanese Army and was the first constitutional Prime Minister of Japan. The Supreme War Council developed a German-style general staff system with a chief of staff who had direct access to the Emperor and who could operate independently of the army minister and civilian officials. The Supreme War Council was the de facto inner cabinet of Japan prior to the Second Sino-Japanese War.
From November 1937 and following Emperor Shōwa's order, the Gunji sangikan kaigi was in effect replaced by the Imperial General Headquarters-Government Liaison Conference (大本営政府連絡会議 Daihon'ei seifu renraku kaigi). The Liaison Conferences were intended by the Emperor to bring the chiefs of the Army and Navy General Staff into closer consultation with his government, and to assist in integrating the decisions and needs of the two military sections of Imperial General Headquarters with the resources and policies of the rest of the government. The final decisions of Liaison Conferences were formally disclosed and approved at Imperial Conferences over which the Emperor presided in person at the Kyūden of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
Its members were the following officials:
In 1944, Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso established the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War (最高戦争指導会議 Saikō sensō shidō kaigi), which replaced the Imperial General Headquarters-Government Liaison Conference. At the end of the war on August 14, 1945, it consisted of:
The Imperial General Headquarters was part of the Supreme War Council and was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime. In terms of function, it was approximately equivalent to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Kiichirō Hiranuma was a prominent pre–World War II right-wing Japanese politician and Prime Minister of Japan in 1939. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mitsumasa Yonai was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, Minister of the Navy, and served as the Prime Minister of Japan in 1940.
Kuniaki Koiso was a Japanese general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Governor-General of Korea and Prime Minister of Japan from 1944 to 1945.
Soemu Toyoda was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II.
Shigetarō Shimada was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. He also served as Minister of the Navy. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Prince Kan'in Kotohito was the sixth head of a cadet branch of the Japanese imperial family, and a career army officer who served as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1931 to 1940.
The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were privately making entreaties to the publicly neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. While maintaining a sufficient level of diplomatic engagement with the Japanese to give them the impression they might be willing to mediate, the Soviets were covertly preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.
Imperial Conference was an extraconstitutional conference on foreign matters of grave national importance that was convened by the government of the Empire of Japan in the presence of the Emperor.
The Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office, also called the Army General Staff, was one of the two principal agencies charged with overseeing the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Axis leaders of World War II were important political and military figures during World War II. The Axis was established with the signing of the Tripartite Pact in 1940 and pursued a strongly militarist and nationalist ideology; with a policy of anti-communism. During the early phase of the war, puppet governments were established in their occupied nations. When the war ended, many of them faced trial for war crimes. The chief leaders were Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Unlike what happened with the Allies, there was never a joint meeting of the main Axis heads of government, although Mussolini and Adolf Hitler did meet on a regular basis.
Zengo Yoshida was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The Imperial Household Council is a ten-member body to approve the statutory matters on the Imperial House of Japan. The Council was established in 1947, when the current Imperial Household Law took effect.
The Kyūjō incident was an attempted military coup d'état in the Empire of Japan at the end of the Second World War. It happened on the night of 14–15 August 1945, just before the announcement of Japan's surrender to the Allies. The coup was attempted by the Staff Office of the Ministry of War of Japan and many from the Imperial Guard to stop the move to surrender.
The Trautmann Mediation was an attempt by the German Ambassador to China, Oskar Trautmann, to broker a peace between Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe and Chiang Kai-shek of the Chinese Kuomintang Government shortly after the Second Sino-Japanese War began. The mediation began in November 1937 and ended on January 16, 1938, with Konoe announcing its termination.
Hisanori Fujita was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. After retiring from active service, he served as the Chief Chamberlain of Japan and adviser to the Emperor of Japan during World War II.
Hideki Tojo was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association for most of World War II. Tojo began his career in the Army in 1905 and steadily rose through the ranks to become a general by 1934. In March 1937, he was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army whereby he led military operations against the Chinese in Inner Mongolia and the Chahar-Suiyan provinces. On 22 July 1940, he was appointed Minister of War in the cabinet of Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe. During the eve of the Asia-Pacific conflict, he was an outspoken advocate for preemptively attacking the United States and its European allies. Upon being named Prime Minister in October 1941, he oversaw the Japanese Empire's decision to go to war and its ensuing conquest of much of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Throughout the course of the war, he expanded his control over the nation's ministries and military to become the most powerful authority in the empire after Emperor Hirohito himself. He also presided over numerous war crimes including the systematic massacre and starvation of civilians and prisoners of war. After the war's tide decisively turned against Japan, Tojo was forced to resign as Prime Minister in July 1944. Following Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers in August 1945, Tojo was arrested, convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in the Tokyo Trials, sentenced to death, and hanged on December 23, 1948.
The Nippon Kaigi is Japan’s largest ultra-conservative, right-wing to far-right organization. It was established in 1997 and has approximately 38,000 members. The group is influential in the legislative and executive branches of the Japanese government through its affiliates. Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, LDP politician, serves as a special advisor to the group's parliamentary league.