Shigemitsu was the Japanese Foreign Minister from 1943 to 1945. He was Minister to China from 1930-36 where he lost a leg to a Korean terrorist’s bomb in 1932, an injury which was painful for the rest of his life. He served as Ambassador to the USSR from 1936-38 and to Britain from 1938-41. In London he tried to appear anti-militarist and to put forward the case that the Japanese alliance with Germany need have no effect on Japanese relations with Britain. Two days after Pearl Harbor Shigemitsu was appointed to the Nanking puppet government and in 1942 became Ambassador to France. Supported by TOJO from 1941, he became Foreign Minister in 1943. He was replaced by TOGO in April 1945 but was called on to attend the Japanese surrender on board the USS Missouri with UMEZU. After several years imprisonment for war crimes he returned to active politics as Deputy Prime Minister and as Foreign Minister from 1954-56.
Shigemitsu was a strong opponent of the occupation of China on the grounds that it contradicted Japan’s anti-colonialist propaganda. He pursued this line of argument and advocated the abolition of the unequal treaties with Nanking and the provision of unrestricted economic aid to China. As Foreign Minister he called for political freedom for Japanese satellite nations and the withdrawal of military occupation forces in line with a ‘good neighbor policy.’