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,
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"
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.