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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: Tagusari, Sukeo, 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 abused American and Allied PWs.

Specifications: beating using among other things, hardwood stick, fists, club; kicking

Verdict: 22 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 not working hard enough or for not doing things the "right way" or for no reason at all. Beating preceded any attempt at explanation.

Reviewing Authority: Accused claimed that he had slapped PWs for infraction of rules and for disobeying his direct orders: accused denied warning PWs for not working "as hard as the others." He claimed that he only slapped them (concerning 3 of the specifications) after several warnings about their infraction of the rules or if they insulted him but never with a stick and not brutally as claimed by the specifications. Accused did not recall and denied other specifications on the grounds that he was not present. Accused did admit that he had been warned by the commandant and had his salary reduced but not for "any special beatings."

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 15 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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