Open city

Manila was declared an open city in December 1941 to avoid its destruction as Imperial Japan invaded the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the state that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that it has abandoned all defensive efforts. The attacking armies of the opposing military will then be expected not to bomb or otherwise attack the city but simply march in. The concept aims at protecting the city's resident civilians and historic landmarks from an unnecessary battle.

Attacking forces do not always respect the declaration of an "open city". Defensive forces will use it as a political tactic as well.[1] In some cases, the declaration of a city to be "open" is made by a side on the verge of defeat and surrender; in other cases, those making such a declaration are willing and able to fight on but prefer that the specific city be spared.

According to the Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, it is forbidden for the attacking party to "attack, by any means whatsoever, non-defended localities".[2]


Several cities were declared open during World War II:

Postwar Japan

In 1977, a far-left group in Japan—called the "National Open City Declaration Movement Network"—began organizing activists to make cities preemptively declare themselves "defenseless" under the Geneva Convention, so that in the event of war, they would be legally forced to welcome any invasion.[15] This was rejected by nearly all of Japan's political parties and the ruling government as inherently absurd, since Japan was not in a war, and in the event of war such a decision would have to be approved by the national government.[16] However, the Social Democratic Party—which was the junior party of the ruling coalition from 1994 to 1996—supported it.[17]

Nevertheless, four wards of Tokyo and Kagoshima City, Japan's southernmost port, among many other cities, are[when?] considering legislation to be declared "open cities".[18]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Açıq şəhər
català: Ciutat oberta
dansk: Åben by
Deutsch: Offene Stadt
français: Ville ouverte
한국어: 무방비 도시
հայերեն: Բաց քաղաք
Bahasa Indonesia: Kota terbuka
italiano: Città aperta
Nederlands: Open stad
norsk: Åpen by
norsk nynorsk: Open by
Plattdüütsch: Apen Stadt
português: Cidade aberta
română: Oraș deschis
Simple English: Open city
svenska: Öppen stad
Türkçe: Açık şehir