Defendant: Hosotani, Yuhei, Second in Command (Charge 1)/ Commanding
officer(Charge2), Hiroshima POW Branch Camp No. 1, Zentsuji, Shikoku,
Docket No./ Date: 39/July 1-31, 1946, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: Charge 2: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War between 13
April 1945 and 15 July 1945: 1. Did wilfully and unlawfully commit, cruel,
inhuman and brutal acts, atrocities and other offenses against certain
American, British and other Allied POWs. 2. Did unlawfully disregard and
fail to discharge his duty as such second in command to control and restrain
members of his command and persons under his control and supervision,
permitting them to commit cruel, inhuman, and brutal acts, atrocities
and other offenses against certain American, British and other Allied
POWs. (Charge 1 read the same with the exception of "dates"
but he was found Not Guilty: B/w 15 Jan 1942 and 12 April 1945, and between
16 July 1945 and 15 August 1945)
Verdict: 5 years confinement at hard labor/ Sentence upheld by Lt. Col.
Allan R. Browne, JAGD because of the severity and brutality of the two
remaining specifications for which accused was responsible as a superior.
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: 1. Evidence under specification
4 is "insuffiient to support the findings of the commission."
There is no positive establishment of the time when the alleged acts were
committed and hence, cannot be conclusive that accused was the commander
at the time. 2. Under specification 5d, all of the affidavits except one
fails to place the time of the offenses "as during the period accused
was in command." There seems to be a misunderstanding about the role
of the accused in the camp. 3. Recommended that only 2 years of the sentence
be approved, considering the legal failings in regard to specification
4 and 5d.
Reviewing Authority: Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section
Prosecution Arguments: Evidence under specification 4 is not specific:
"it covers long periods of time prior to, and including, the three
months that accused was in command, as the time affiants were at the camp
and during which time certain incidents occurred." Lt. Hilton being
kicked and beaten by a guard in specification 5b was reported to the camp
authorities. For specification 5d, there were many affidavits presented
by the proseuction. Only a few of the affidavits stated that Commander
Hosotani was in charge at the time.
Defense Arguments: 1. Claimed that from 1942 he was not second in command
but just in charge of prisoners affairs. He received orders in April 1945
stating that he was camp commander. However, since Colonel Kondo's office
was in the same building, he had to ask the Colonel's permission concerning
most things in administration of the camp. 2. No control over food or
medicine distribution: many of their stored supplied were allotted for
another branch camp. 4. As camp commander, he had authority to decide
whether a prisoner was to be hospitalized or not. 5. He did not see any
subordinate officers slapping anyone: if he had, he would have stopped
them. He warned and scolded subordinates when he heard of someone abusing
prisoners and then reported it to the camp commander. He instructed civilian
employees at least once a month not to administer private punishment.
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.