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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: Morita, Hiroyuki, Kobe Branch POW Camp, Osaka Area, Honshu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 134/ June 30 - July 3, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse POWs (spec 2, 3) 2. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat, torture and abuse POWs (spec 5,7,8)

Specifications: beating using among others club, leather and rubber boots, sticks, sword, fists; kicking; causing POW to stand for a long period of time with their hands extended above their heads or without adequate clothing in winter weather; suspending POWs from a tree by their arms

Verdict: 15 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused beat, struck and mistreated POWs for no reason or for no stated reason.

Reviewing Authority: The accused admitted slapping and hitting some of the prisoners but only for violations of camp rules (bringing in food to camp, stealing food). In these instances, no one needed medical aid. The accused stated that the majority of the charges involved prisoners that he did not recall and incidents that he did not recall. Furthermore, in the occasions when he did slap and hit some of the prisoners, it was never in the scope of what the prosecution alleged.

Prosecution Arguments: The record fails to reveal any error which injuriously affected the substantial rights of the accused or any failure to accord him a fair trial in every respect. The evidence supports the findings beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no evidence that accused was not sane at the time the alleged acts were committed and at the time of trial.

Defense Arguments: George R. Taylor, Reviewer

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Recommended remission of 2 years from his sentence for the "unusual acts of consideration and kindness performed by the accused in certain instances" despite that he felt the commission had actually taken this somewhat into account in their sentencing.


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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