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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: Hada, Masato, Private/Medical Orderly, Fukuoka PW Camp No. 1, Fukuoka Area, Kyushu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 58/Jan. 28 - Feb. 3, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat, abuse and beat PWs. 2. Did willfully and unlawfully withhold and refuse to issue and provide available medical supplies to numerous Allied PWs. 3. Did willfully and unlawfully misappropriate, withhold and convert to his own use Red Cross supplies.

Specifications: forcing weak and ill PWs to engage in exercises when physically unfit to do so; requiring PWs to hold buckets of water over their heads for long periods of time; beating using among others bamboo stick, stick, cudgel, cane, small riding crop, fists; kicking

Verdict: Life imprisonment

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused was in charge of the pharmacy: he refused to give the full prescription of medicine or he tore up the prescription, refusing to give the prescribed medicine as well as supplies. Accused was reprimanded for such actions. Accused was in charge of Red Cross supplies: he consumed them himself, stole them and withheld distribution to the PWs. Accused directed required calisthenics at the end of every day: accused forced sick PWs to exercise as well and would beat them if they could not do so. Accused overruled the PW doctor's opinion and made his own decisions as to which patients were able to exercise.

Reviewing Authority: Accused had no authority to issue medicine when requested by a PW doctor formally but in actually, in the absence of the Japanese doctor, accused would comply with the request for medicine. There was a shortage of medicine in the camp and Red Cross supplies were all used for the PWs. Accused had no authority to admit or discharge patients from the hospital. Accused had no way concerning which patients were or were not to be exercised. The accused denied striking PWs: accused was never seen striking PWs. Accused never tore up prescriptions: no complaints were ever made that accused tore up prescriptions nor did anyone see or hear about this. If the medicine requested was not in stock, he would have to go to Fukuoka to buy it and there would necessarily be a delay. Accused denied ever striking sick PWs; he merely pushed them with it to warn them. He only carried a stick two times out of the two months he led exercises; he led exercises at the order of the medical officer. He only made PWs hold a bucket of water over their head twice but not for a long time and only because of infractions of the rules. He never took Red Cross supplies except when given to him as a gift once in 1945.

Prosecution Arguments: Spec.1: Accused was a participant: "The gravamen of the offense is the assault and the common design renders all of the assaulting participants equally guilty" (6C.J.S., Sec. 101, P.9595). Spec 2&4: Evidence insufficient to the portion stating that the act "contributed" to the death of POWs. "Such an allegation has the same legal result as alleging that accused directly and proximately caused the deaths." In these cases where the cause of death is at issue, it goes beyond the "common experience and knowledge of a reasonable person" barometer: medical authority is required. For those charges that could not provide a medical authority's corroboration, the charges must be stricken of those words. Of all the other specifications not mentioned of which the accused is found guilty, the evidence was sufficient to support the findings of the commission. Because the commission found that the accused "contributed" to the death of "practically every weak or ill decedent whome he exercised or deprived of medical supplies," the Reviewer found that the sentence should be reduced to 20 years CHL.

Defense Arguments: George Gurow, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Lt. Col. Allan R. Browne, JAGD, disagreed with the standard of proof advocated by the Reviewer, George Gurow. He agreed that specification 4, insofar as it concerned the "allegations of contributing to deaths should be disapproved" but because it was a duplication of charges. The Lt. Col. Browne believed that the evidence in additional specifications 1-5 & 8 was such that amounted to being sufficient knowledge because they came from "sources qualified by experience and observation to have knowledge of the facts at issue." In regards to spec. 2, Lt. Col. Browne found that "the evidence of non-medical witnesses as to the apparent fatal effect of mitstreatments need not necessariliy be disregarded if the surrounding facts indicate that it has probative value to a reasonable person. It may well be of such character as to be sufficient upon which to base a proper finding that wrongful actions were the direct and proximate cause of death." He found that the evidence presented was sufficient not only in this case but for specification 9. The Lt. Col. believed the commission to have been lenient in assessing only life imprisonment.

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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