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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: Hashimoto, Shigeyoshi, Civilian Guard, Hiroshima POW Branch Camp No. 1

Docket No./ Date: 39/July 1-31, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: Did wilfully and unlawfully commit cruel, inhuman and brutal acts, atrocities and other offense against certain American, British and other Allied PWs.


Verdict: 10 years confinement at hard labor

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Specifications 2 and 6 were not proved: both only mentioned that one prisoner was a victim and that the perpetrator was the accused. However, the action was not disclosed.

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

Prosecution Arguments: 1. Accused beat, kicked, tortured, starved prisoners for actual or supposed minor infractions of camp regulations.

Defense Arguments: 1.Because his hand was fractured in China, he cannot move the fingers of that hand without feeling pain. 2. Charge and specification are wrong in stating that he came to the Camp in 1943. He came in 1944. 3. Many of the civilian guards at the railroad station wore white gloves and had somethign wrong with right hands: mistaken identity. 4. He was forbidden to slap or strike prisoners but was allowed to "lightly push" prisoners in certain directions due to the language barrier. He believes that he was misunderstood by the prisoners because he did not speak English. 5. Denied, beating, kicking or mistreating prisoners except by accident and then, they never required medical attention. Furthermore, he apologized on those occasions.

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: I think this case shows a sophistication in terms of the review process. The legal reasoning and the "looking" at the other trials as the markers for what sentences are adjudged to be fair can be seen here.

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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