Japan as a Pacific Power
Japanese Strategy
American Strategy
Invasion of Saipan
The Last Surrender of World War II
Tinian - The Final Offensive
Seize, Occupy and Defend Tinian
The Effort at Tinian
Secret Cargo to Tinian
A Steel Shark
Death of a Warship
The Final Offensive
The last surrender of World War II - Anatahan - June 30 , 1951
The final surrender on Saipan , December 1 , 1945
U.S. Military feeding program for Japanese orphans at Camp Sususpe (Saipan)
Being repatriated to Japan from Saipan aboard the Tsukushi Maru , June 1946
The last surrender of World War II, June 30, 1951
The Pacific War ended on September 2, 1945, however,  occasionally 
Japanese holdouts in the Northern Marianas were found who had managed
to hide and survive for many years following the conclusion of hostilities. 
One such group of stranded survivors of a Japanese vessel sunk by the 
American military found their way to the island of Anatahan,75 nautical 
miles north of Saipan. At 16 degrees -22 ‘ north x 145 degrees - 40’ 
east, the island’s coast line is precipitous with landing beaches on the 
northern and western shore and a small sandy beach on the southwest 
shore. It’s steep slopes are furrowed by deep gorges covered by high 
grass. This brooding cone jutting from the sea floor is a large, extinct 
volcano with two peaks and a grass covered flat field, the final resting 
place for a B-29 Superfortress that crashed upon returning from a 
bombing mission over Nagoya, Japan on January 3, 1945 killing the 
aircraft’s crew. 
By 1951 the Japanese holdouts on the island refused to believe
that the war was over and resisted every attempt by the United States 
Navy to remove them. This group was first discovered in February 1945, 
when several Chamorros from Saipan were sent to the island to recover 
the bodies of the Saipan based B-29, T square 42, from the 498th Bomb 
Group, 875th Squadron, 73rd Wing under the command of Richard
Carlson Stickney, Jr. The Chamorros reported that there were about thirty 
Japanese survivors from three Japanese ships sunk in June 1944, one of 
which was an Okinawan woman. 
Pamphlets had been dropped informing the holdouts that the war was 
over and that they should surrender, but these requests were ignored. 
They lived a sparse life, eating coconuts, taro, wild sugar cane, 
fish and lizards. They smoked crushed, dried papaya leaves wrapped in 
the leaves of bananas and made an intoxicating beverage  known as 
"tuba", (coconut wine). They lived in palm frond huts with woven floor 
matting of pandanus. Their life improved after the crash of the aircraft . 
They used metal from the B-29 to fashion crude implements such as 
pots, knives and roofing for their hut. The oxygen tanks were used to 
store water, clothing was made from nylon parachutes, the cords used
for fishing line. The springs from machine guns were fashioned into fish 
hooks. Several in the group also had machine guns and pistols recovered 
from the aircraft. 
Personal aggravations developed as a result of being too long in 
close association within a small group on a small island and also 
because of tuba drinking.  The presence of only one woman, Kazuko
Higa, caused great difficulty as well. Six of eleven deaths that occurred 
among the holdouts were the result of violence. One man displayed 
thirteen knife wounds. Ms. Higa would, from time to time, transfer her 
affections between at least four of the men after each mysteriously 
disappeared as a result of "being swallowed by the waves while fishing." 
In July 1950, Ms. Higa went to the beach when an American vessel 
appeared off shore and asked to be removed from the island. She was 
taken to Saipan aboard the Miss Susie  and, upon arrival, informed 
authorities that the men on the island did not believe the war was over. 
Meanwhile, officials of the Japanese government became interested 
in the situation on Anatahan and asked the Navy  for information 
"concerning the doomed and living Robinson Crusoes who were living a 
primitive life on an uninhabited island", and offered to send a ship to 
rescue them. 
The families of the Japanese holdouts on the island of Anatahan , 
were contacted in Japan and requested by  the U. S. Navy to write 
letters advising them that the war was over and that they should 
surrender. In January 1951, a message from the Governor of Kanagawa 
Prefecture was delivered to them which read: 
I am very proud to learn that all of you are in good health and still 
residing on a small island in the Pacific six years after the war is over . 
I will not blame you for saying that our country lost this war. 
That was six years ago in 1945. It was the 15th of August 1945 when
the peace treaty was signed (sic!). 
Our country lost this  war, but we are not unfortunate, as the 
United States is giving us the best of opportunities to recover and I am 
sure that we are the best of friends in the present world. 
During the war it was said that the American soldiers were killing 
all prisoners of war, but that was not true. The United States treated 
our prisoners the best until 1947 when all of them were released and 
sent home. Now there are no other Japanese military men in the Pacific 
except you gentlemen. 
Previously, in our country, a prisoner of war lost face so that 
even after the war if he came home he had to live in a dark world. That 
is not so now. The Emperor ordered all our people, wherever they were, 
to surrender peacefully. All of those returned will never be separated 
from their home people again. Those who have returned to Japan give the 
Americans thanks that the long period of their suffering is over . . 
I believe you have read letters from your family which said not to 
worry which will give you confidence to give yourself up to the 
Americans. In the box of new letters sent to you we are enclosing a 
piece of white cloth with which you can signal the Navy boat. You do not 
have to worry. The Americans will give you their best attention and 
kindness until you are returned to our country . 
The letters were dropped by air on June 26 and finally convinced 
the holdouts that they should give themselves up. Thus, six years after 
the end of World War II, "Operation Removal" got underway from Saipan 
under the Command of James B. Johnson, USNR, aboard the Navy Tug
USS Cocopa. Lt. Commander James B. Johnson and Mr. Ken Akatani,
an interpreter, went ashore by rubber boat and formally accepted the last 
surrender of World War II on the morning of June 30, 1951 which also 
coincided with the last day of the Naval Administration of the Trust 
Territory of the Pacific Islands. 
The men, with their few possessions neatly placed in woven pandanus 
bags along with several implements from the metal of the B-29, boarded 
the Cocopa  and sailed for Guam. One week later they arrived in Tokyo 
aboard a U. S. Navy aircraft.

Sources:
Richard,Dorothy E., United States Naval Administration of the
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations, 1957 and James B. Johnson, U.S. N. Retired, the American
officer who accepted the last surrender of World War II.

Photos courtesy of:
U.S. National Archive, Trust Territory Of The Pacific Islands

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