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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: 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; kicking;

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 head.

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."



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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