when they surrendered in 1945 did the high ups in the Japanese government know which of them selves the Americans would and would not charge with war crimes?

Civilian officials

Kōki Hirota, prime minister (1936–1937), foreign minister (1933–1936, 1937–1938)

Baron Kiichirō Hiranuma, prime minister (1939), president of the privy council

Naoki Hoshino, chief cabinet secretary

Marquis Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal

Toshio Shiratori, Ambassador to Italy

Shigenori Tōgō, foreign minister (1941–1942, 1945)

Mamoru Shigemitsu, foreign minister (1943–1945)

Okinori Kaya, finance minister (1941–1944)

Yōsuke Matsuoka, foreign minister (1940–1941)

Military officers

General Hideki Tōjō, prime minister (1941–1944), war minister (1940–1944),chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office (1944)

General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister (1938-1939)

General Sadao Araki, war minister (1931–1934)

Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, war minister (1939–1940)

Admiral Shigetarō Shimada, navy minister (1941–1944), chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff (1944)

Lieutenant General Kenryō Satō, chief of the Military Affairs Bureau

General Kuniaki Koiso, prime minister (1944–1945), governor-general of Korea (1942–1944)

Vice Admiral Takazumi Oka, chief of the Bureau of Naval Affairs

Lieutenant General Hiroshi Ōshima, ambassador to Germany

Fleet Admiral Nagano Osami, navy minister (1936–1937), chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff (1941–1944)

General Jirō Minami, governor-general of Korea (1936–1942)

General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence service in Manchukuo

General Heitarō Kimura, commander of the Burma Area Army

General Iwane Matsui, commander of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force and Central China Area Army

Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff of the 14th Area Army

Colonel Kingorō Hashimoto, founder of Sakurakai

General Yoshijirō Umezu, commander of the Kwantung Army, chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office (1944–1945)

Lieutenant General Teiichi Suzuki, chief of the Cabinet Planning Board

Other defendants

Shūmei Ōkawa, a political philosopher

Most of them should have known that they would be arrested and tried, due to the fact that the Allies had sent Japan the Potsdam Declaration before the Japanese government surrendered. The following lines can be found in the Potsdam Declaration, which indicate a clear desire from the Allied forces to arrest, try, and deal with what they viewed as war criminals.

  • "for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest"

as well as

  • "we do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners
/r/AskHistorians Thread