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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: Ikeda, Shohei, Civilian Guard, Tanagawa POW Camp, Osaka Area, Honshu, Japan and Tsuruga POW Camp

Docket No./ Date: 122/ May 12 - 16, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse POWs (spec 4, 6, 9, 10) 2. Did willfullly and unlawfully mistreat, torture, and abuse POW (spec 7, 16) 3. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat POWs (spec 13)

Specifications: beating using among others cartridge belt, stick, fists, club, shovel; kicking; compelling POW to hold a large rock over his head for 15 minutes; compelling POW to hold railroad iron over his head;

Verdict: 15 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused beat POWs "so often and so severely that his superior…required him to sign a statement promising not to again beat PWs on penalty of death to himself." Accused beat (sometimes knocking down and knocking unconscious) mistreated and tortured POWs for no reason at all or for minor supposed violations (complaining about the small amount of food, being unable to do the assigned work, returning late from the restroom, not holding formation at the required time, having contraband items in quarters)

Reviewing Authority: Accused denied ever signing the statement introduced by the prosecution. Accused admitted to striking POWs but not to the degree and the scope of the beatings and mistreatments (specifications 4, 6, 7, 10); none of these required treatment or hospitalization and none of these were knocked to the ground. He admitted that in the case of the POW mentioned in specification 9, the POW had to go to the hospital. He was reprimanded, however, for this action. AS to specification 13 and 16, the accused denied the specifications totally and did not remember the PWs or the incidents mentioned.

Prosecution Arguments: While most of the affidavits only give nicknames or give a name phonetically similar, the reviewer found that it was clear from all the evidence that those affidavits were referring to the accused. The accused did admit to being involved in the incidents mentioned in 5 of the specifications of which he was found guilty, although he minimized his actions. The reviewer found for the prosecution in terms of the scope. Reviewer found that the "established facts well warrant a prison sentence of fifteen years."

Defense Arguments: J. G. Lackey, Reviewer

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: (No Comments Made)

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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