UC Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center
Home > WWII Pacific Theater > Document Archives > Yokohama Reviews
World War II Pacific Theater Case Synopses from Judge Advocate's Reviews Yokohama Class B and C War Crimes Trials
Defendant: Kobayashi, Yasuo, Interpreter, Hiroshima POW Branch Camp No. 1

Docket No./ Date: 39/July 1-31, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: Did wilfully and unlawfully commit cruel, inhuman and brutal acts, atrocities and other offense against certain American, British and other Allied PWs.


Verdict: 40 years confinement at hard labor/ Only reduced to 25 years confinement at hard labor by recommendation of Lt. Col. Allan R. Browne, JAGD

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: With the exception of two specifications, the offenses of which accused was found guilty were only minor offenses. The sentence of 40 years is "too severe"…especially when compared with sentences by other commissions for similar offenses. It is recommended that only 15 years be approved.

Reviewing Authority: Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section

Prosecution Arguments: 1. Accused beat, slapped, kicked and spat at prisoners for minor errors or because he "did not like" the actions, even if lawful, of the prisoners such as improper posture and improper execution of commands. 2. Accused verbally abused prisoners for one prisoner's "lateness" to formation and "caused" the entire group to be punished.

Defense Arguments: 1. Denied the severity and harshness of his actions on several occasions. 2. Denied knowing about other specifications: "He did not recall the incident charged."

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.

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

© Copyright 2007 UC Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center