Defendant: Murai, Masaaki, Corporal, Japanese Army, Clerical Non-commissioned
officer at Fukuoka POW Camp No. 2, Fukuoka, Japan
Docket No./ Date: 160/ Mar 24-26, 1947, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and torture PWs (spec
1,3) 2. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse PWs (spec 2,5)
Specifications: beating using among others belt, stick, clogs; typing
to a pole; forcing PW to kneel with a pole behind his knee; suspension
by his hands from a pole;
Verdict: 8 years CHL
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: There was only one Murai in the
camp and that was the accused. PWs were caught in violation of camp regulations
(possession of contraband mess tins, circulating news to PWs, smoking
in the toilet) or caught "doing something on Japanese time";
accused beat and tortured PWs for this.
Reviewing Authority: The accused had no authority to administer punishment
for violations of camp rules by PWs; accused was kind to the PWs. Superior
Orders: in spec. 1 & 5, he was ordered to beat the prisoners who had
violated camp rules, by the camp commander, and he had to obey. But, he
did not beat them with a belt or any other item; he only used his open
hand. During investigation of news being brought into camp, accused admitted
to having slapped the guilty party two or three times but that was it.
He did none of the others things attributed to him.
Prosecution Arguments: There are no errors or irregularities which injuriously
affect any substantial rights of the accused; the Commission, "notwithstanding
an overwhelming abundance of competent, compelling evidence," acquitted
the accused of the omnibus specification and erred favoring the accused.
Other irregular procedures of the Commission did not prejudice the rights
of the courts (prosecution attempt to discredit defense witnesses, finding
about the spelling of the Japanese name, request for amendment of the
specification) There is no evidence that the accused was not sane at the
alleged time of the offenses or at the time of trial. There is sufficient
competent evidence in the record to support the findings and sentence
of the Commission. Reviewer discounted the defense of superior orders
because the acts inflicted by the accused "were of such a nature
that any man of ordinary understanding should have seen that they were
illegal" and "members of the armed forces are bound to obey
lawful orders only." Furthermore, the accused was in a position to
know that the orders were illegal as a graduate of law school.
Defense Arguments: F. R. Undritz, Lt. Col., INF, Asst. Staff Judge Advocate
Judge Advocate's Recommendations: No Comment Made