Murakami, Yoneo, Civilian Guard and Camp Quartermaster in charge of supplies
at Amagasaki PW Camp, Osaka, Japan
Docket No./ Date: 153/ June 2-3, 1947, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: Violation of the law and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and
unlawfully mistreat and abuse PWs (spec 1-3, 5-6)
Specifications: beating using among others clubs, belts, weapons, rope,
Verdict: 5 years CHL
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused forced sick PWs to work
and beat PWs for refusing to do so. The PW surgeon was also beaten by
the accused for trying to prevent the beatings of sick PWs, for not signing
for Red Cross sugar intended for the PWs, for insisting that Red Cross
supplies be not stolen and confiscated by the Japanese. Accused beat PWs
with belts, sticks and rope for altering their clothing because it was
too large for them. Accused also brutally beat PW for actions not done
by that PW but a violation of an order committed by one in that PWs group.
Accused assaulted PWs for no reason and seemed to enjoy "provoking
situations which resulted in their being punished unnecessarily."
Accused beat PWs for not obeying his commands, including when they failed
to hear it or for not shouting one's number loud enough
Reviewing Authority: Accused admitted to striking the PW surgeon but
only because the latrines were not clean and the PW surgeon was in charge
of sanitation/hygiene; accused admitted to slapping and striking PWs forr
taking clothing to the latrine and altering clothes. But, he never struck
these individuals hard enough to require hospitalization or to even draw
blood. He stated that he struck PWs to "correct their faults just
as he had been struck when he took his training in the Japanese Army."
Prosecution Arguments: There are no irregularities which injuriously
affect any substantial rights of the accused; there is no evidence that
the accused was not sane at the alleged time of the offenses or at the
time of trial. The record is legally sufficient to support the findings
of the commission. While the dates given by some of the affiants were
in question, the other evidence given in each specification clearly established
that the affiant was only in error about the year but not about the circumstances,
acts and the accused as the perpetrator of the acts. In response to the
defense request that the court take judicial notice of the fact that corporal
punishment was a feature of the Japanese army, the reviewer stated that
"whether the punishment administered by the accused on the international
prisoners of war was in accordance with Japanese standards, is entirely
irrelevant....insofar as such standards and practices conflict with those
established by international agreement, the former must yield to the latter."
The evidence showed the vicious and cruel intentions of the accused in
perpetration of these acts.
Defense Arguments: F. R. Undritz, Lt. Col., INF, Asst. Staff Judge Advocate
Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Allan R. Browne, JAG: Comments about
procedure made: alterations in the records were not initialed by the president,
prosecutor and defense counsel. But, in such cases, "a statement
may properly be appended, signed by the party initiating it, calling attention
of the reviewing authority to alleged mistakes by the reporter."
This, however, did not prejudice the accused in this trial.