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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: Nomoto, Akira, Captain, Japanese Army, Camp Commander at Fifth Branch Camp (Innoshima PW Camp), Hiroshima Area, Honshu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 140/ June 25 - Jul 24, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violations of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse PWs (spec 1) 2. Did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duty as Commander to control and restrain members of his command and persons under his supervision and control, by permitting them to commit offenses against PWs (spec 5a-c, e, f, h, i)

Specifications: beating; forcing PWs to kneel for a long period of time(up to 7 hours, 5 days in a row); command responsibility

Verdict: 2 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused beat and mistreated and ordered subordinates to beat PWs without provocation (sneaking up on PWs and then beating for failing to salute, talking) or for violations of disciplinary rules (speaking to Japanese working at the shipyard)

Reviewing Authority: Accused denied that he punished an individual mentioned in spec 1; the accused stated that he never personally forced or ordered any PW to kneel while confined in the guardhouse, or that he ever at any time forced or ordered sick PWs out of their beds for work details, or that he ever ordered sick PWs to work, or that he had them assist in hauling fishing nets out of the water. He did not approve or allow PWs to work overtime at the iron works. He did admit to slapping 2 PWs, one who had previously been warned not to talk to Japanese in the shipyard and another for smoking. He did punish a PW for stealing but made him kneel for only one hour. He never ordered any of his subordinates to punish PWs but to the contrary he orally advised them not to strike PWs. Accused denied that PWs were beaten in his presence.

Prosecution Arguments: There are no procedural errors of irregularities which injuriously affect any substantial rights of the accused. There was sufficient legal evidence, "which is of such quality and quantity as practically to compel in the minds of conscientious and reasonable men the findings of guilty." The accused, as camp commander "had a duty to protect the prisoners of war under his command and, by the use of diligence, he must determine that they are not being mistreated. If he should know, and by his negligence does not know, he has committed an offense." From the evidence, it was shown that the accused failed to take necessary measures to discharge the duty imposed upon him to control the conduct of his subordinate, a duty which included "affirmative meassures within his power and appropriate under ths circumstances."

Defense Arguments: George R. Taylor, Reviewer

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Allan R. Browne, Lt. Col. JAGD, stated that he felt the sentences were inadequate for the charges of which the accused was found guilty. He goes on to put down the same statement as used before in previous trials about the "blackest rogue" being entitled to an early trial under the "englightened rules of civilized nations."


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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