Japanese War Crimes Trials

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wenty
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Japanese War Crimes Trials

Post by wenty » 30 Mar 2003 02:21

Hi Everyone!! Could someone please tell me who was in these trials and what their sentences (if any) were? Thanks in advance. :D Cheers. :)

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Re: Japanese War Crimes Trials

Post by Andrew E. Mathis » 30 Mar 2003 03:18

wenty wrote:Hi Everyone!! Could someone please tell me who was in these trials and what their sentences (if any) were? Thanks in advance. :D Cheers. :)


Hideki Tojo was hanged, but I don't know what the circumstances of his trial were or who else was held responsible. I don't know if the charge of, say, the Rape of Nanjing was brought against Tojo spefically, as the Holocaust was against Hermann Göring at Nürnberg.

a.m.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Mar 2003 05:20

wenty -- Welcome back! There were a lot of Japanese war crimes trials, with even more defendants. The main trial was held by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East at Tokyo (indictment issued 29 Apr 1946; opening session 3 May 1946; presentations concluded 16 Apr 1948; judgment rendered 12 Nov 1948). The defendants at that trial were:

Araki, Sadao -- Japanese Minister of War; member of the Cabinet Advisory Council in China {sentenced to life imprisonment; released 1955}

Doihara, Kenji -- commander of Japanese 5th Army in Manchuria; Commander-in- Chief Eastern Army in Japan 1943 and 7th Army Area, Singapore 1944-45 {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Hashimoto, Kingoro -- Ex-Army officer; publicist; promoter of aggressive war {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Hata, Shunroku -- former Commander-in-Chief in Central China; member of the Board of Marshals {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Hiranuma, Kiichiro {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Hirota, Koki -- former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister; member of Cabinet Advisory Council {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Hoshino, Naoki -- Chief Secretary and Minister of State under Tojo; adviser to Finance Ministry {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Itagaki, Seishiro -- Chief of Staff of Japanese Army in China 1939; in Korea 1941-45; Commanding 7th Army Area, Singapore 1945 {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Kaya, Okinori -- Japanese Finance Minister 1941-44 {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Kido, Koichi Lord -- Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal 1940-45; Chief Confidential Adviser to the Emperor {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Kimura, Heitaro -- Vice War Minister under Prince Konoye and Tojo 1941-44; member of Supreme War Council 1943; Commander-in-Chief in Burma 1944 {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Koiso, Kuniaki -- commander Japanese Army, Korea 1935-36; Governor General, Korea 1942; Prime Minister 1944-45 {sentenced to life imprisonment; died in prison 1950}

Matsui, Iwane -- Japanese commander-in-chief in Central China 1937-38; member of Cabinet Advisory Council 1938-40; President of Greater East Asia Development Society {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Matsuoka, Yosuke -- Member of Cabinet Advisory Council 1940; Foreign Minister1940-41; advocate of aggressive war {died during the course of the trial prior to Jan 1948}

Minami, Jiro -- Japanese commander-in-chief, Kwantung 1934-36; Governor General of Korea 1936-42; Member of Privy Council 1932-45 {sentenced to life imprisonment; released; died 1957}

Muto, Akira -- Chief of Military Affairs Bureau 1939-42; commanded Second Guards Division in Sumatra 1943; Chief of Staff in Philippines under General Yamashita 1944 {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Nagano, Osami -- Commander-in-Chief of Combined Fleet 1937; member of Supreme War Council 1940; Supreme Naval Adviser to the Emperor 1944 {died 5 Jan 1947 of pneumonia during the trial}

Oka, Takasumi -- Vice Navy Minister 1944; Commander-in-Chief Korean Station 1944-45 {sentenced to life imprisonment; released 1954; died 1973}

Okawa, Shumei -- organiser of the Mukden incident 1931; advocate of aggressive war {became insane during the course of the trial, prior to Jan 1948}

Oshima, Hiroshi -- Japanese Ambassador to Germany 1938-39 and 1941-45 {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Sato, Kenryo -- Chief of Section in War Ministry 1941-42; and of Military Affairs Bureau 1942-44 {sentenced to life imprisonment; released 1956}

Shigemitsu, Mamoru -- Japanese Ambassador in Moscow 1936-38; Ambassador in London 1938-41;Foreign Minister under Tojo and Koiso 1943-45 {sentenced to 7 years imprisonment}

Shimada, Shigetara -- commander of Second Fleet 1937; of China Fleet 1940; Supreme War Council 1944 {sentenced to life imprisonment; released 1953}

Shiratori, Toshio -- Japanese Ambassador to Italy 1939; adviser to Japanese Foreign Office 1940; Director of T.R.A.P.S. 1943 {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Suzuki, Teiichi -- President of Cabinet Planning Board under Konoye and Tojo 1941-43; Cabinet adviser 1943-44; Director of I.R.A.A. {sentenced to life imprisonment}

Togo, Shigenori -- Japanese Ambassador to Germany 1937; to Moscow 1938; Foreign Minister 1942-45 {sentenced to 20 years imprisonment}

Tojo, Heideki -- War Minister under Konoye 1940-41; Prime Minister 1941-44 {sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Sugamo prison 23 Dec 1948}

Umezu, Yoshijiro -- commander of Japanese Forces in China 1934; Vice War Minister 1936-38; Chief of General Staff 1934-35 {sentenced to life imprisonment; died 8 Jan 1949 in prison of cancer}

Dr. Stuart D. Stein's "Web Genocide Documentation Center at:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide.htm

has a number of reports of Japanese war crimes trials.

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Post by wenty » 30 Mar 2003 06:43

Thanks for that info Aemathsisphd (spelling?) and David, i appreciate that. Sounds like there was lots of Life Sentences and Hangings, and lots of defendants too. Thanks for your welcome back too, David. :D Cheers. :D

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Post by michael mills » 30 Mar 2003 07:10

The trial of the Major Japanese War Criminals showed a number of noteworthy differences from the corresponding trials in Germany.

In the first place, they were very much a pale imitation of the German trials; it was a case of "if we try the Germans, we have to try the Japanese too". Thus, unlike the German situation, where the German leaders were well known, the Allies had great difficulty in deciding who exactly the "Major Japanese War Criminals" actually were. Some 600 individuals were arrested and investigated; these included civila nad military officials, military officers, industrialists, journalists, university professors, judges, and prominent members of so-called "ultra-nationalistic" societies. Of these, 29 persons were selected to be "Major War Criminals".

Another noteworthy difference is that the main accusation was "crimes against peace" rather than war-crimes or "crimes against humanity". Thus, fifteen of the 25 tried were convicted on that charge alone, ie they were found to have had not even a remote connection with any charge involving atrocities.

A third, most sensational difference from the German trials is that some of the judges denounced the majority judgement. There were judges from the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, China, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Canada, India and the Philippines.

Three judges dissented on all material points, those from the Netherlands, France and India.

Justice Pal of India concluded that on the basis of existing international law and the evidence presented at the trials, "each and every one of the accused must be found not guilty on each and every one of the charges in the indictment and should be acquitted of all these charges".

Justice Bernard of France declared that "the charter of the tribunal itself was not based on any law in existence when the offences took place". He added that "so many principles of justice were violated during the tiral that the Court's judgement certainly would be nullified on legal grounds in most civilized countries".

Justice Roling of the Netherlands declared that no existing international law would justify the charge of "crimes against peace". He insisted that even in respect to the charges dealing with conventional war crimes the charges should be restricted to the Second World War and not cover wars or incidents in the past which had been settled by treaties.

Thus, it appears that in the opinion of three major judicial authorities, the Tokyo Trial was essentially a kangaroo court. However, it appears that the representatives of the United States, Britain, China and Australia (my countrymen had a paranoid fear of Japanese at that time) were determined to hang some Japs, and got their way thanks to the acquiescence of the Soviet Union, Canada and the Philippines.

More to follow.

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Post by David Thompson » 30 Mar 2003 07:18

Michael -- Thanks for an excellent and informative post on a seldom-discussed topic. I'm looking forward to your next post on the subject.

For those interested in an overview, Philip R. Piccigallo turned out a nice volume called "The Japanese on Trial: Allied War Crimes Operations in the East 1945-1951," University of Texas Press, Austin/London: 1979.

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Post by DarExc » 30 Mar 2003 08:26

I had always wondered about this topic but always put off researching it, thank you.

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Post by Marcus » 30 Mar 2003 10:10

Nice to see this topic covered.

/Marcus

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Post by michael mills » 31 Mar 2003 00:45

Further to my previous message:

The material in this message and my previous one is drawn from the article "War Crimes Trials" in my Colliers Encyclopedia, by one Helen Mears.

A fourth major difference from the trial of the Major German War Criminals is that the accused Japanese were defended by United States attorneys as well as Japanese. At the end of the trial US defence attorneys for 11 of the Japanese defendants appealed to the United States Supreme Court to review the evidence. The Court heard the pleadings of the defence on 16 and 17 December 1948; by a split decision it refused to review on the grounds that the Tokyo Tribunal was an international tribunal and therefore beyond its jurisdiction (reminds one of more recent abdications of responsibility by United States courts in relation to foreign nationals held without trial by the United States Government).

On 28 June 1949, Justice Douglas published his long-deferred opinion which questioned the concept of international military tribunals and declared that a tribunal such as the International Military Tribunal Far East was "solely an instrument of political power".

One wonders what would have happened if the German defendants before the International Military Tribunal had been defended by lawyers from the Allied nations, rather than or in addition to the German lawyers who were in a very vulnerable position and unwilling to tackle the Prosecution.

A comparison may be made with the Belsen Trial, at which Kramer and the other defendants were represented by British officers. Those officers defended their clients very vigorously, and had no qualms about accusing Belsen survivors appearing as witnesses for the Prosecution of colluding with each other to falsify and manufacture evidence.

Nevertheless, the result of the Belsen Trial was not in doubt. British public opinion demanded the hanging of Kramer the "beast" and Irma Grese the "bitch". It is noteworthy that the Court did not give any reasons for its verdicts, not even whether those verdicts related to the first charge (warcrimes at Belsen) or the second charge (warcrimes at Auschwitz) or both.

Likewise, the result of the Trial of the Major German War Criminals would not have been in doubt, regardless of who represented the defendants. There was a political imperative to load the entire guilt for the war which had devastated Europe onto the German Government alone, and that task was made the easier by the undeniable fact that the members of the German Government on trial had been guilty of presiding over or authorising the most appalling atrocities.

The article "War Crimes Trials" in my Colliers ends with the following conclusion relating to both the German and Japanese trials:

The importance of the war crimes trials has yet to be assessed. Those who wrote the charters, and those who judged the defendants as guilty, asserted the existence of a body of international criminal law, which superseded national law and by which people and governments are bound. Others have questioned the existence of such international law and have charged that the trials represented only a victor's vengeance or a demonstration of power politics.

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Post by Dan W. » 31 Mar 2003 04:01

In Japan itself, the name at the top of the war criminal list was Hideki Tojo. Tojo had been prime minister, war minister,and home minister. He was the one who said POW men who did not work did not eat. He knew this led to barbarous treatment: sick men being driven out to slave labor that would kill them. He knew about the Bataan death march and the Burma-Siam railroad., the terrible rates of sickness and starvation and death, and he did nothing.

Less than two weeks after the formal surrender on September 2nd, an arrest order was issued for Tojo. He had made preparations. He was going to shoot himself. He got a doctor to mark the exact position of his heart on his skin in black, with the soot used for Japanese brush painting.
The American military came for him, with a crowd of reporters. His house was surrounded. A voice shouted Tell this yellow bastard we've waited long enough. Bring him out. Tojo had an American service-issue handgun, probably taken from a downed airman. His own son-in-law had used it to commit suicide. Tojo aimed at the mark on his chest and pulled the trigger. The MP's broke in; he was alive. He had missed his heart. The press photographers took pictures of him lying bleeding from a sucking, frothing chest wound, and everyone dipped pieces of paper in the blood for souvenirs. He was taken to an American military hospital and kept alive with transfusions of American blood. He recovered, and on December 8, 1945, four years to the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was transferred to the A Class war criminal Sugamo Prison in Tokyo.

This was not a prolonged captivity as the POW's had endured in Japanese camps. Sugamo was a modern jail, not a jungle dung heap. And it was not a place of atrocities, not an Outram Road. But it was still a prison; it was where the Japanese war criminals, from generals and cabinet minister to camp guards, learned what it was like to be a prisoner.

They were stripped and body searched coming in. There were surprise inspections. They would have to stand naked in their cells while the guards tossed everything, this was called The Sugamo Storm. The guards eyed them while they were bathing and shaving, and did body cavity searches in case any war criminal had hidden a razor blade to kill himself with later. When they were allowed to exercise, they had to walk in circles, and they wore a stereotyped prisoners path inside the fence. Their minds emptied out, they came down to meditating on the social life of cockroaches and peeing on ants nests.

The higher class of Japanese war criminal found the American guards uncouth. They were young, many of them under twenty. They were forever talking through the barbed wire perimeter fence to Japanese whores in the street, negotiating prices. Around the cell they were noisy, singing, clapping hands, playing the harmonica, practicing dance steps. They had a dance hall just beyond the barbed wire, and at night the music would penetrate into the cells.

Hangings at Sugamo were always in the middle of the night. They were never announced to the other prisoners. One day a batch of condemned men would be out on an exercise walk, barefoot and handcuffed, the next day they would be gone. On the gallows they shouted Banzai like true Japanese soldiers. It was one hangmans sport to spring the trap before they could get out their third Banzai

Tojo had been convicted and sentenced to death. Along with six other high ranking criminals they had a Buddhist priest prepare them for death, helping them with final statements and wills. Tojo had trouble with his false teeth during his trial. The American chief of dental surgery at Sugamo, a Navy officer, made him a new denture. What Tojo did not know was that inscribed on the denture was Remember Pearl Harbor in Morse code. Those words were in his mouth the whole time he was testifying, until the story leaked out in a bar and the dentist was made to remove the message. The dentist told him the denture needed cleaning, erased it, and Tojo never knew of the secret message contained in his denture.

He was executed with the others. Tojo was 65. He weighed 130 pounds. He took his teeth out before hanging. On a cold December 23rd night in 1948, seven old men shuffled to the hanging scaffold in old G.I. salvage clothes. Four, including Tojo, were hanged togther, then the other three. Their bodies were trucked in the dark to a crematorium outside Yokohama, burned to ashes and their ashes then scattered. No Japanese were to ever know where.


Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavan Daws, pgs. 364, 367 and 369.

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Mar 2003 05:49

Dan -- The American treatment of those people was not savory, nor does it reflect creditably on our culture. However, let's not forget the crimes for which these men and others were locked up in Sugamo Prison. Their crimes were far less savory, and far more discreditable, than anything presented in the conditions described by Gavan Daws. The treatment accorded by Americans to captured Japanese is mildly embarassing. The treatment accorded by the Japanese to their captured prisoners -- American, British, Australian, Sikh, Chinese and Filipino -- was a bestial disgrace.

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Post by Dan W. » 31 Mar 2003 06:00

Hi David,

There is nothing in my quote that should be taken as any indication of mistreatment or neglect by the Americans to the Japanese war criminals in custody, awaiting trial or sentencing.

I am all too aware of the bestial punishments meted out to American, Dutch, British, Australian and fellow Asian by the Japanese oppressors.

The book Prisoners of the Japanese bears witness to that. The testimony is shocking and the book is a testament to those who sufferred, died, or endured their agony and lived to tell about it. Daws research was exhausting, and I know of no other work of this kind that so fully details and conveys the horror of the vast network of POW camps in the Pacific. A must read.

Regards,
D.W.

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Post by David Thompson » 31 Mar 2003 06:36

Dan -- Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have a look.

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Post by Dan W. » 31 Mar 2003 06:49


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Post by wenty » 31 Mar 2003 07:04

WOW!! I wasn't expecting this topic to turn into a good discussion- even Marcus liked it. 8O 8) Thanks for the very interesting posts Michael, and everyone else who is contributing here. Cheers. :D :D

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