List of territories occupied by Imperial Japan

This is a list of regions occupied or annexed by the Empire of Japan until 1945, the year of the end of World War II in Asia, after the surrender of Japan. Control over all territories except the Japanese mainland (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and some 6,000 small surrounding islands) was renounced by Japan in the Unconditional Surrender after World War II and the Treaty of San Francisco. A number of territories occupied by the United States after 1945 were returned to Japan, but there are still a number of disputed territories, with Russia (the Kuril Islands dispute), South Korea and North Korea (the Liancourt Rocks dispute), the People's Republic of China and Taiwan (the Senkaku Islands dispute).

Pre-World War II


Occupied locations

World War II

Occupied or controlled region Japanese name Date Population est.(1943) Notes
South SakhalinKarafuto Prefecture (樺太庁) of Imperial Japanprewar-1945406,000
Mainland Chinavarious1931–1945200,000,000 (est)Manchukuo 50 million (1940), Jehol, Kwantung Leased Territory, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shandong, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, plus parts of : Guangdong, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Fujian, Guizhou, Inner Mongolia
JapanNaichi (内地)prewar-194572,000,000Present day Japan, Kuril and Ryukyu Islands
KoreaChosen (朝鮮)prewar-194525,500,000Both North and South
TaiwanTaiwan (臺灣)prewar-19456,586,000
Hong KongHong kong (香港)December 12, 1941 – August 15, 19451,400,000Hong Kong (UK)
:: East Asia (subtotal)Higashi azia (東アジア)306,792,000
VietnamAnnan (安南)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 194522,122,000As French Indochina
CambodiaKambojia (カンボジア)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 19453,100,000As French Indochina, Japanese occupation of Cambodia
LaosRaosu (ラオス)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 19451,400,000As French Indochina, Japanese occupation of Laos
ThailandTai (タイ)December 8, 1941 – August 15, 194516,216,000Independent State but Allied with Japan
MalaysiaMaraya (マラヤ), Kita Boruneo (北ボルネオ)March 27, 1942 – September 6, 1945 (Malaya), March 29, 1942 – September 9, 1945 (Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo)4,938,000 plus 39,000 (Brunei)As Malaya (UK), British Borneo (UK), Brunei (UK)
PhilippinesFiripin (フィリピン)May 8, 1942 – July 5, 194517,419,000Philippines (USA)
Dutch East IndiesHigashi Indo (東印度)January 18, 1942 – October 21, 194572,146,000Dutch East Indies (NL)
SingaporeSyonan-to(昭南島) February 15, 1942 – September 9, 1945795,000Singapore (UK)
MyanmarBiruma (ビルマ)1942–194516,800,000Burma (UK)
East TimorHigashi Chimoru (東チモール)February 19, 1942 – September 2, 1945450,000Portuguese Timor
:: Southeast Asia (subtotal)Tonan azia (東南アジア)155,452,000
New GuineaNiuguinea (ニューギニア)December 27, 1941 – September 15, 19451,400,000As Papua and New Guinea (Australia)
GuamŌmiya Island (大宮島)January 6, 1942 – October 24, 1945from Guam (USA)
South Pacific MandateNan'yō Guntō (南洋群島)1919–1945129,000from German Empire
NauruNauru (ナウル)August 26, 1942 – September 13, 19453,000from United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand
Wake Island, USŌtori Island (大鳥島)December 27, 1941 – September 4, 1945nilUSA
Attu and Kiska Islands (US)Atsuta Island (熱田島) Narukami Island (鳴神島)June 6, 1942 – September 27, 1943nilUSA
KiribatiKiribasu (キリバス)December 1941 – January 22, 194428,000from Gilbert Islands (UK)
:: Pacific Islands (subtotal)1,433,000
:: Total Population463,677,000

Disclaimer: Not all areas were considered part of Imperial Japan but rather part of puppet states, included separately for demographic purposes. Sources: POPULSTAT Asia[3] Oceania[4]

Other occupied World War 2 islands:

Areas attacked but not conquered

Raided without immediate intent of occupation

See also


  1. Gregory Smits (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 143–149·
  2. Leonard A. Humphreys (1995). 'The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Japanese Army in the 1920s. Stanford University Press. p. 26.
  3. Populstat ASIA
  4. Populstat OCEANIA
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