Defendant: Kameoka, Yoshio, Civilian interpreter, Osaka Area POW Camp
No. 11, Arumi, Honshu, Japan
Docket No./ Date: 41/ June 16-26, 1946, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: 1. Did willfully and
unlawfully commit cruel and brutal acts, atrocities and other offenses
against certain American PWs.
Verdict: Life Imprisonment/Reduced to 25 years confinement at hard labor
by Allan R. Browne, Lt. Col. JAGD not because of insufficiency of proof
but merely excessive sentencing.
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Record is legally sufficient to
support the findings of the commission. In regards to the highly contradictory
affidavits in specification 2, reviewer believes that "the manner
in which the specification is pleaded leaves the defense in a state of
confusion and in a position where it is impossible, under the evidence
offered, to have a fair chance to defend it properly." So, the finding
of guilty is disapproved. Not only in specification 2 but in regards to
the affidavits and the testimonies brought by the defense, the "entire
charges against the accused are not well supported." In regards to
the sentence given, the reviewer believes that the sentence to life imprisonment
is unjust: "it is not desirable to establish a rule for punishments
in war crime cases because of the difference in the type of crimes and
the degree of brutality in each case but it might be well to consider
sentences in other commission trials to show the injustice of the punishment
in the present case." Reviewer recommends 10 years confinement because
"many specifications of horrible atrocities...are conspicuously absent
in the present case" unlike the other cases where individuals have
received life sentences.
Reviewing Authority: Paul E.Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section
Prosecution Arguments: Accused beat, slapped, kicked, and used various
forms of extreme punishment such as standing at attention for many hours
on prisoners for infractions of disciplinary rules. In an interrogation
at Sugamo Prison on 13 February 1946, accused admitted to beating a few
prisoners for stealing food but he claimed that he "did not beat
them very hard."
Defense Arguments: 1. Accused denied beating prisoners. 2. Accused could
not have beaten prisoners as they were returning from work because he
returned home by 6 p.m. and it took an hour to return home by streetcar.
3. Accused could not remember having admitting to beating a few prisoners
for stealing food while at Sugamo prison.
Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Lt. Col. Browne's opinion in regards
to the reviewer's opinions(page 431):"Defense affidavits concerning
the Waggoner event did not name accused as participating but neither did
they purport to mention all involved. None excluded accused from the beatings...Minor
inconsistencies appear in affidavits in evidence with respect to each
specification. None appears of sufficient importance to destroy or weaken
the probative value of the subject matter. Experienced jurists regard
unimportant differences in testimony ordinarily as of no moment and often
as the earmark of evidence which has not been prearranged." In regards
to Spurlock's claim that the gravity of beatings was not there, he writes,
"yet the evidence to the beating alone revealed an aggravated offense
much worse than the ordinary type encountered in WAr Crimes Trials. The
accused, possessed a sadistic nature to which he gave full vent"
is shown by exhibits. The "excuse that he was trained in the brutal
atmosphere of the Japanese imperialists is not available to him for he
has lived under the American flag and knows democratic ways."