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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: Hirate, Kaichi: Captain of Japanese Imperial Army and Camp Commander of First Branch Camp at Hakkokate

Docket No./ Date: 4/ Jan. 11, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: 1. Violation of the Law and Customs of War - unlawfully committed cruel and brutal atrocities and other offenses against certain Allied POWs and did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duty as Camp Commander and restrain the members of his command, permitting them to commit cruel and brutal atrocities and other offenses against allied POWs held in said camp.


Verdict: Guilty verdict upheld/ Death by Hanging

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Prosecution evidence disclosed a "concerted and continuous mistreatment" of Allied POWs over a long period of time resulting in the death of several of them. That the accused was unaware of the treatment of prisoners cannot be true because 1. He was present at the camp 2. much of the abuse and mistreatment occurred at prisoner formation out of doors 3. "It is now settled that a commander is legally responsible and accountable for excesses and violations of the laws of war committed by the troops immediately under his command."

Reviewing Authority: G. R. Dougherty, Major, A.C., Acting Asst. Staff Judge Advocate

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments: 1. Denied blatant mistreatment of prisoners - prisoners were given punishment for offenses 2. Did not know about international standards nor did he receive instructions in regard to treatment of prisoners of war prior to assuming command. 3. Superior Orders - followed Japanese code of treatment of prisoners

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: In the three above cases as well as this one, the defendants are being found guilty of specific instances of violations of the laws of war. Vague words such as "many" in most cases and "other Allied Prisoners of War" when discussing a specific individuals are being taken out.

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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