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World War II Pacific Theater Case Synopses from Judge Advocate's Reviews Yokohama Class B and C War Crimes Trials
Defendant: Akamatsu, Shigeo, Sergeant

Docket Date: 17/ March 26, 1946, Yokohama, Japan(?)

Charge: 1. Committed cruel, inhuman and brutal atrocities and other offenses against POWs.


Verdict: 25 years confinement at hard labor/ Sentence reduced to 15 years confinement at hard labor because the charges "although serious, do not involve fatalities."

Reviewing Authority Recommendations: 1. Accused was "responsible for the discipline within the camp and, in exercising such authority, was guilty of self inspired brutalities in the treatment of prisoners of war. That such treatment was given as punishment for disciplinary infractions [in noways] excuses his action" for none of the universally recognized conventions or customs authorize such measures or punishment. 2. Overturned the commission's findings on Specification 5: "Accused's presence with the detail in insufficient of itself to impute such knowledge to him, lacking evidence that the accused knew of the prisoner's illness and failed to relieve him from duty." It was not his responsibility to know whether or not a prisoner was ill.

Reviewing Authority: Philip M. Roberts, 1st Lieutenant, Acting Assistant Staff Judge Advocate

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments: 1. Admitted to slapping, shoving, and tieing up prisoners on separate occasions mentioned but denied any further, harsher beatings or mistreatment 2. Denied he was even on the premises during certain periods during which alleged mistreatment happened

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: While the reviewer thought 10 years should be taken off, the Staff Judge Advocate reviewing the "review" felt that no more than 5 years should be remitted from the sentence, seeing that the sentence was lenient anyway. The Commanding Officer for SCAP, looking over the reviews in place of General MacArthur, I believe, sided with the reviewer of the reviewer.

Child Testifying in Court in Manila.
Photo: U.S. Army, courtesy of Bob Harmon

The trial records of Japanese War Criminals Tried at Yokohama, Japan, between 1946 and 1949 is broken into 2 sets:

  1. 59 reels - Records of Trials and Clemency Petitions for Accused Japanese War Criminals Tried at Yokohama, Japan (1946-1948)
  2. 5 reels - Reviews of the Yokohama Class B and C war crimes Trials by the 8th Army judge Advocate (1946-1949)

The following is a summary of the corresponding case found in the latter group (5-reel set of Judge Advocate's Reviews). Analysis Prepared by Stella Lee Researcher, War Crimes Studies Center

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