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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: Aona, Shigeru, Physician

Docket Date: 8/ Feb. 6, 1946 - Feb. 22, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: 1. Committing cruel and brutal atrocities and other offenses against POWS 2. Permitting his staff to commit cruel and brutal atrocities and other offenses


Verdict: Confinement at hard labor for 10 years

Reviewing Authority Recommendations: The Judge Advocate found it "ridiculous to presume that as an officer in the Japanese Army, or any other modern army, could not prevent the mistreatment of prisoners by his enlisted subordinates, or that he had no responsibility for their actions." The accused had recourse to remedies for restricting the behavior of subordinates which he occasionally used, but these remedies were not "pursued as accused's general rule." So, he was found guilty of command responsibility. The Judge Advocate also found that the defendant was responsible when he directly mistreated prisoners by withholding treatment and when he failed to reprimand or to report practices dangerous to the health of prisoners.

Reviewing Authority: Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments: 1. Prisoners of war were in poor physical condition upon their arrival at the camp 2. Inadequate medicines and facilities 3. Denied abuse or mistreatment of prisoners 4. Claimed that he was not responsible for the actions of his subordinates: that was the responsibility of the camp commander

Judge Advocate's Recommendations:

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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