The Japanese were now waiting for the invasion of their most southern island, Kyushu, the next logical target of the U.S. forces. There they would win the "Big Victory" that Okinawa was supposed to have been, in which even a loss would bleed the Americans enough to force them to offer better terms. The leaders of Japan, meeting amongst the wreakage of Tokyo, were certain that a great enough slaughter, mostly of their own people, would drive the Americans to negotiate. And they were certain they could out-negotiate the Americans. Why such clever people were losing the war was a question never asked in public.
The Japanese plan was to use the Russians as a conduit to negotiate with the Americans, rather than talking to their chief foe directly. July was spent trying to open that conduit, but the Russians seemed exceedingly dim and obstructionist, and the niceties of diplomacy slowed everything down even more. But there was no worry. In Japan's view, Russia and America were destined to be enemies, and it seems never to have occured to the Japanese leadership that Russia would see a weakened Japan, the nation which had humiliated them in 1905, as an oportunity too good to pass up. But, by the beginning of August, it seemed to Japan that some progress was being made with the Russians.
Surrounding villages were being swamped with huge armies of wounded, burned and simply stunned victims stumbling their way out of Hiroshima.
The Americans had crippled their nation. Hundreds of thousands had been killed. No train was safe in daylight, no city or factory safe at night. The Japanese army in Korea and Manchuria were starving. Troops in Japan were spending as much time tending to rice fields as training. And the harvest that year had been very bad. Come winter, invasion or no, there would be starvation in Japan.