Sato, Shinnosuki, Kei Kai In (Civilian Guard), Tohoku Denki Seitetsu Company
Docket No./ Date: 56/Dec. 12-23, 1946, Yokohama, Japan
Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: 1. Did willfully and
unlawfully mistreat and abuse certain American and Allied PWs.
Specifications: beating using among other things fists, club, stick;
Verdict: 15 years CHL
Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused worked at the plant where
PWs from the Sendai Area PW Camp No. 10, Wakasennin, Honshu, Japan were
forced to work. Accused was the man responsible for the alleged acts.
Accused beat PWs for minor infraction of codes of behavior or because
the PWs did not understand his orders or for no reason at all. Beating
preceded any attempt to gain an explanation.
Reviewing Authority: Accused denied any knowledge of incidents referred
to in 6 specifications on the grounds that he was not present. Accused
claimed that the he had slapped PWs for infraction of clearly stated rules:
accused never used a stick. For these instances when he slapped PWs, he
was already punished with a deduction in his salary. Accused did admit
that he punished the PWs instead of referring them to the camp head: he
did this because the PWs had asked him to punish them rather than turning
them in. His punishments were lighter than they would get from the camp
Prosecution Arguments: "The court was in a position to judge the
demeanor of the accused, in determining if they were guilty of the crimes
alleged. If there was a variance of a day or two in time as to when the
alleged offenses were committed, it should not affect the finding of the
court so long as the court felt sure the accused had committed the offense
on or about the day set out or sometime within the alleged space of time
as specified. The accused easily remembered dates on which they did not
commit an offense but their minds were not too clear as to the dates on
which they did commit an offense." The reviewer stated that there
were no specification for which the accused was found guilty for a permanent
injury. "While some of the beatings were extremely severe, there
were no indications of a true torture pattern entering into the beatings"
and for that reason the sentence accused should be reduced to 10 years.
Defense Arguments: I.O. Hagen, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section
Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Lt. Colonel Allan R. Browne, JAGD,
stated that in regards to the recommendation that the sentences of the
accused be reduced, "consideration of the brutal and unusually severe
results attending some of the beatings in the case of each accused compels
a conclusion taht the commission's sentences were appropriate and consonant
with those of others in these trials."