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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: Ishige, Michiharu, 1st Lieutenant, Branch Prisoner of War Camp Commander, P.O.W. Camp No. 5, Kawasaki, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 27/April 11 - 24, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: 1. Committed cruel and brutal atrocities against Allied POWs 2.failed to discharge his duties as camp commandant to control members of his command, permitting them to commit crual and brutal atrocities and other offenses against POWs


Verdict: 25 years confinement at hard labor/Sentence Upheld

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: 1. Based on Ishige's immediate superior's testimony, all that is needed to show superior responsibility is that the acts took place in the camp (strict liability). But, the reviewer finds that "enough offenses were proved to establish constructive notice to Ishige." Furthermore, as an officer, it does not matter whether the crimes were of omission or commission. He also did nothing to enforce his order - "it is a basic military principle that an officer...should not give an order the enforcement of which he cannot insure. 2. Reviewer states that the defense amounts to mere a denial of all charges. 3. Reviewer and those above believed sentences to be too light. Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section 1. Gave warnings to the guards not to punish prisoners. Told guards to treat prisoners kindly. 2. Made announcement to the company that prisoners were not to be mistreated. 3. Only several instances of beating was reported to him. 4. Certain POWs were punished but not struck for offenses committed. As to Spec. 1, it is an interesting issue brought up. The accused stated that he "could no nothing because the prisoner had been transferred to Nippon Steel Mill" when it was asked that a POW named McEwen be given medical treatment. Spec. 3f and Spec. 7 for Kondo involve incidents at the Nippon Kokan Steel Company. Kondo is said to be one of the beaters. Is this why the accused is deemed responsible?

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

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments: 1. Superior Orders 2. False identification 3. Denied abuse and mistreatment of POWs.

Judge Advocate's Recommendations:

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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