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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: Rikitake, Yoichi, Commanding Officer of Prisoner of War Camp No. 3, Kyushu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 15/ Mar. 7-22, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: 1. Committing cruel and brutal atrocities against POWs 2. Failing to control, and permitting members of his command to commit cruel and brutal atrocities and other offenses against POWs.


Verdict: 15 years confinement at hard labor/ Sentence Upheld

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: The accused "could not but have known" that beatings were taking place for they were a daily occurrence at the camp. The deaths of several prisoners "must be attributed to lack of medicines, lack of clothing and being required to work when unfit to do so. For these the accused may propersly be considered as responsible." The JA also comments on the following about the commission's recommendation for clemency dependent on accused's age and "inadequacy," based on his training as a field grade officer rather than a company grade officer. "Responsibility for crime does not rest on inadequacy or age and age or inadequacy do not offer any cloak of immunity for criminal acts" because these offenses were "violation of the prisoner of war conventions and of the fundamental concepts of human decency."

Reviewing Authority: Howard H. Conaway, Captain, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments: 1. Common for superior officers to slap or strike juniors 2. Had no authority to punish civilians employed at the factory. He notified the overseers about the correct treatment of POWs on several occasions. 3. Rations were regulated by orders from superiors. POWs received same rations as Japanese soldiers in base camp 4. Guards were not authorised to beat prisoners, to burn them or require them to stand at attention for long periods of time. 5. "Fitness to work" was decided by a set of standards arrived at by agreement between the prisoner and Japanese medical officers 6. Denial of knowledge concerning specifications of abuse.

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Prosecution argued that the accused, "as camp commander, was responsible for the administration of the camp and the conduct of the Japanese military and civilian personnel at the camp and at the factory where the prisoners worked."






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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