Over the next six months, the XXI Bomber Command under LeMay firebombed 67 Japanese cities. The firebombing of Tokyo , codenamed Operation Meetinghouse , on March 9–10 killed an estimated 100,000 people and destroyed 16 square miles (41 km 2 ) of the city and 267,000 buildings in a single night. It was the deadliest bombing raid of the war, at a cost of 20 B-29s shot down by flak and fighters.  By May, 75% of bombs dropped were incendiaries designed to burn down Japan's "paper cities". By mid-June, Japan's six largest cities had been devastated.  The end of the fighting on Okinawa that month provided airfields even closer to the Japanese mainland, allowing the bombing campaign to be further escalated. Aircraft flying from Allied aircraft carriers and the Ryukyu Islands also regularly struck targets in Japan during 1945 in preparation for Operation Downfall.  Firebombing switched to smaller cities, with populations ranging from 60,000 to 350,000. According to Yuki Tanaka , the . fire-bombed over a hundred Japanese towns and cities.  These raids were also devastating. 
If Japan’s leaders were going to surrender because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you would expect to find that they cared about the bombing of cities in general, that the city attacks put pressure on them to surrender. But this doesn’t appear to be so. Two days after the bombing of Tokyo, retired Foreign Minister Shidehara Kijuro expressed a sentiment that was apparently widely held among Japanese high-ranking officials at the time. Shidehara opined that “the people would gradually get used to being bombed daily. In time their unity and resolve would grow stronger.” In a letter to a friend he said it was important for citizens to endure the suffering because “even if hundreds of thousands of noncombatants are killed, injured, or starved, even if millions of buildings are destroyed or burned,” additional time was needed for diplomacy. It is worth remembering that Shidehara was a moderate.