September 8, 1951: The Treaty of San Francisco is signed.

On September 8, 1951, delegates representing forty-eight nations gathered in San Francisco, California, to sign a treaty that officially ended the state of war between Japan and the Allied Powers, six years after V-J Day, and six years after the American occupation of Japan began. China was not invited to the treaty deliberations or signing, because the Allies were unable to decide whether the Taiwanese government or the communist PRC should represent the nation.

The agreement also served to affirm Japan’s sovereignty - when the treaty came into force in April of 1952, Allied occupation ended; it also settled issues of territory: according to the terms of the treaty, Japan was to recognize the independence of Korea (which was formally annexed by the empire in 1910); it was also to relinquish its hold on Formosa (Taiwan) and the neighboring Pescadores, and the Kurile, Spratly, and Paracel Islands. In addition, Japan agreed to accept the judgements of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and to carry out its sentences. All in all the treaty is commonly regarded by historians as “relatively generous" toward Japan, but it also marked the beginning of what Akira Iriye dubbed the "San Francisco system”.

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    I had completely forgotten that this treaty wasn’t signed until a full 6 years after the war ended. And during the...
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