The Allies and Soviets along with the Chinese Communists also conducted war crimes trials. These were mostly conducted against Japanese military personnel. This is because, most German war criminals managed to escape to the Reich and were apprehended there. At the time the Japanese surrendered, Japan still controlled large areas outside the Home Islands, including areas of China, Indo-China, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, central Luzon, Formosa, and many Pacific Islands. Thus Japanese military personnel surrendered in the various far-flung theaters of War. The Tokyo IMT Tribunal tried Government officials and senior military commanders arrested in the Home Islands. The Allies tried some 5,700 lower-ranking Japanese military personnel for Class-B war crimes. They were were charged with conventional war crimes. Australia, China, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States conducted these trials in various Asian and Pacific locations. Despite the brutalization of Indian POWs by the Japanese, India did not participate despite becoming independent (1947). The charges covered the many different war crimes and atrocities, including POW murder and abuse, rape, sexual slavery, torture, ill-treatment of workers and slave labor, summary execution, medical experimentation on civilians and POWs, and other inhuman actions. These trials took place in around 50 locations in Asia and the Pacific. The best know of these trials was the procecution of General Yamashita in Manila. Most of these trials were completed by 1949, but Australia held some trials as late as 1951. [Wilson et. al. ]
China had more reason than any other country because of the extent and barbarity of Japanese actions. It held 13 tribunals, resulting in 504 convictions and 149 executions. The result of these 5,700 procecutions, 984 were sentenced to death; 475 received life sentences; 2,944 were given prison terms; 1,018 were acquitted; and 279 were never brought to trial or not sentenced. The number of death sentences by country is as follows: the Netherlands 236, United Kingdom 223, Australia 153, China 149, United States 140, France 26, and Philippines 17 . [Dower, p. 447.]
The Soviet Union and Chinese Communist held their own trials of Japanese war criminals. The Soviets took karge numbers of Jaoanese soldiers prisioner at the end of the War (August 1945). Most disappeared in the Sobiet Gulag and never returned home. Being captured by the Soviets in the Far Easr was a virtual death sentence. Most of the Japanese POWs were worked to death in Siberian labor camps. It hardly made sence trying war criminals except to establish a historical record. One important Soviet trial was the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials which brought some members of Japan's notirious bacteriological and chemical warfare unit (Unit 731) to justice. Gen. MacArthur as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in a terible miscariahe of justice gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in American hands.
The most famous American trial otherr than the Tojyo IMT trials was one overseen by Gen. Macarthue in Manuka and included Gen. Yamashita as the star defefendent. This trial has received more criticak attention than all the other Jaoanese war crimes trials combined. [Weinberg]
The Japaanese committed guesine crimes throughout their occupation of the Philippines. The most hoprific was the rape and murder campaihm in Manila (March 1945). As the Imperail Marine garison there fought to the death, there were few ti try after the War. General Yamashita, the overall commander in the Philippines, and after the Emperor announced the surrender in Tokyo surrendered his forces on Luzon (September 1945). Yamnashita did nit commit suiusuide. Gen MacArthur rushed to try him and other Japanese war criminals, inclufing Gen. Homma, before the IMT Tribunal in Tokyo. nnYamashita was tried (October 29-December 7, 1945), by an American military tribunal in Manila He was accused of war crimes related to the Manila massacre and many atrocities in the Philippines against civilians and prisoners of war. There was no doubt that war crimes had been committed. The question was to what extent Yamashita was resonsible. Here weeping, 11-year-old Rosalinda Andoy, testified before court trying Yamashita, describing how she was bayoneted by Japanese soldiers amd her parents were murdered. Major Gricerio Opinion, of the prosecutor's staff, is questioning her. This trial by far is the most crituxized as the wabe if killings and rape in Manila was not under direct control of Yamashita after he evacuated Manila. It shoulkd be noted that Manila was only one of hwo places outsiude China where the Japanese wnt on such a briutal and wuidespread killing camapaign. The Other was Singapore (February 1942). It surely is no accident that the commander there was Gen. Yamashita. [Weinberg]
The United States conducted trials in China for the murder and mustreatment of Amerucan flyers. This inclkuded the Doolittle flyers and airmen involbed in the CBI camoaign. There were 11 trial involving 75 defendents, Ther were 67 cinvictiions and 8 aquitals. The aquitals hereand in alomost all other trails in almost all instances involved insufficent evidence npt because of any evidence presented of innosence. There were 10 death sentences.
The U.S. Navy conducred trials on Guam (Marianbas), Kwajalin (Marshals), and Truk (Carolines) for crimes against POWs and civilian populations on the Pacific Islands. The Truk trials included charges of medical experiments. There were 47 cases involving 123 defenbdents. The trials resulted in 113 convictions and 10 aquitals. There were 10 executions
The U.S. Army conducted war crimes trials in Yokohama, the 8th Army's home base. There were 319 bcases involving 996 defendants. They were primarily fovused on the abuse of POWs. One of the cases involved medival experiments. The trial resulted in 854 convictions and 142 aquitals. There were 51 death sentenced carried out.
Australia conducted 296 trials with 924 defendants. This resulted in 644 convictions and 280 aquitals, resulting in 148 executioins. The trils focused on the abuse of Australian POWs. Theee was one canabilism case. Command respoonsibility was a primary factor in the legal proceedings. Many Australian sevicemen perishes in the coinstruction of the Thai-Burma Railway. The most serioius single atriocity invoving Australian servicemen was the Sandakan Death Marches in northern Borneo. As a result of a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau which resulted in the deaths of 2,434 Allied prisoners of war, mostly Australians. By the end of the War all of these mae died during the marches or in the Japanese camps. The 33 survivcors were murdered after the Japanese surrender to prevent them from testifying. We only know about what occured because of six Australians who ,anaged to escape. Key officers responsible were Camp Commandant Captain Hoshijima Susumi and Lieutenant General Baba Masao, commanding officer of the 37th Japanese Army. The Japanese also brutalized the local popoulation. They killed some 16 percent of the population because of preceived sympathy to the Allies. [Braithwaite and Lee]
The British trials were mostly conducted in Singapore where the Japanese carriued out terrible atrocities. They would have liked to try Gen. Tamashita who ncqquited the nane the Tiger of Malaya. There were 306 cases and 920 defendants. The cases involved the abuse and mnurder of POWs and local civilians. Many of the Cases invilved the absuse of sklavce kanor in the building of the Thai-Burma Railway. Some 600 Allied POWs and many more local civilians died in the construction project. There were 811 convictions resulting in 265 executions. [Weinberg]
Canada copperated in the American and British trials where Canadian servicemen were among the victims. Canada conducted trials in Honk Kong. Canadian troops had been positioned there just before Pearl Harbor. There were 11 convictions. There were 11 trials in Tokyo.
The Chinese Communists also held war crime trials, but these were primarily propagands exoercuses aimed at the United States.
China of course suffered more at the hands of the Japanese than any other country. Nationalist China conducted 605 trials with 883 defendantscwhich vresylted in 594 cinvicrions. The Chinese sebtenved 149 of the convicted were sentenved to death. Japanese atrocuties in China beginning wiyth the rape og Nanking defy human understanfding. The Haoanese did not keep Chinese POWs. Some were allowed to join the Japanese puppet army. The rest were muurdered. Te cibuoian death btoll will bnbever be known, but 10 million is an unrealistic number. Among those sebrenced to death at the Tolyo IMTFE, was Gen Iwane Matsui, commander of the Central China Area Army (CCAA) whivj was responsible for the Rape of Nanking. Incredably the man whocommandnded the men ibcolving in this brutl atrocity spoited ideas of pan-Asian cooperation throughout the War. He predicted that after Nanking, the Chineese Nationalists would sue for peace.
The Japanese occupied, but did not invade the French cikony if Indo-China (Vietnam) (1940-41). France at the time was controlled by the Vichy regime which was collaborating with the NAZI, an Axis ally. This the French did nor resist, but allowed the Kapanese to move in their forces. The primary Japanese atricuties was to seize the food supply, causing a terrible famine in North Vietnam. Atricities against the Fench occurred after the all of the Vuchy recime (August 1944). The Grenvj held 31 trils with 239 defendants. There were 198 convictions. There werec26 death sentebces caried oit. There were 43 Japanese war criminals tried in absentia.
India did not hold war trials.
The primary Netherlands colony was the Dutch East Indies. With its oil resources, it was a primary Japanese objectve. And the Japanese conducted serious war crimes. As a result, of the Japanese occupation some 5 million Indonesians perished in a terrible famine. The Dutch conducted 448 trials with 1,038 defedants convucrung 969 war criminals. There were 236 death senbtences of which 226 were carried out. Among the charges were forced prositutution. The Japanese were especially btutal on Borneo where they ebcounteresed resistance from Malay groups. They beheaded some 1.500 priple, incliding the familiues of resistors. [Weinberg] They brutalused both Dutch POWs and civilians. The Indonesian nationalist leasers largely cooperated with the Japanese despite Japanese bruality roward the Indonesian people.
New Zealand did not hold war trials.
The American occupied Philippines Islabds was a necessary Japanese objecrtive, as it was astrude the sea lanes toward the Southern Resource Zone that Japan coveted. The United States at the time was preparing to grant independenced to the Philippines. . The Japanese stahed an elaboratre pro[aganda exercise in granting independence to the Ohilippines, but avtually the Islands continued under Japanese milirary ruke, primatily interested in seizing food and other resources from the Finioinompeople, committing terrible atrocuties in doing so. The Filipinos proceduted 72 cases with 169 defebdabts. There were 133 convictions amd 17 death sentences. Lieutenant General Shigenori Kuroda served as Govdernor Gental; pof the Pjilippines (1943-44), but was not among bthose receiving death penalties. The Filipino trials were complicated by the level of clabiration with the Japanese. [Weinberg]
The Soviet war crime trials were a propaganda exercize aimed at the United States. Unlike the Nuremberg trials aimed at NAZI war criminals, there was no coopration between America and the Soviet Union on trying Japanese war criminals. Rather the Soviet goal was to put America in the dock. The Sobiets wanted the Emperor to be tried. And they wanted the blame for the war to be palced on capaitlism in accordance with Marxist ideology. [Weinberg] Which of course is absurd give the fact it was the Sovialist Dictators (Hitler and Stalin) who launched the War. The Soviets took karge numbers of Jaoanese soldiers prisioner at the end of the War (August 1945). Most disappeared in the Sobiet Gulag and never returned home. Being captured by the Soviets in the Far Easr was a virtual death sentence. Most of the Japanese POWs were worked to death in Siberian labor camps. It hardly made sence trying war criminals except to establish a historical record. One important Soviet trial was the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials which brought some members of Japan's notirious bacteriological and chemical warfare unit (Unit 731) to justice. Gen. MacArthur as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in a terible miscariahe of justice gave immunity to Shiro Ishii and all members of the bacteriological research units in American hands.
Braithwaite, Dick and Yun Lok Lee. "Dark tourism, hate and recomviliation," IIPT Occasional Paper No. 8 (March 2006).
Weinberg, Herhard L. "World War II War Crimes Trials, International Conference on WWII - National World War II Museum- (November 18, 2016).
Wilson, Sandra, Robert Cribb, Beatrrice Trefalt, and Dean Aszkielowicz. Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice after the Second World War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017).
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