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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: Takeshita, Toshio, Civilian attached to Hokodate First Branch PW Camp, Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 43/July 26 - Aug. 9, 1946, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully commit cruel and brutal acts, atrocities and other offenses against certain Allied PWs. 2. Did willfully and unlawfully take, steal and carry away food, clothing and Red Cross supplies furnished and intended for the use of Allied PWs.

Specifications: beating using belt among other things; kicking; forcing PWs to stand in the cold of winter for prolonger period of time

Verdict: 15 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused was a civilian at the PW camp who was identified as being responsible for the acts alleged. Accused beat PWs with the slightest provocation or without any provocation, usually using the studded belt that he wore. Accused was punished twice by the camp commander for mistreating PWs. Accused stole foodstuffs during the night and sold them to civilians outside the camp; the accused would then report the PWs as being responsible for the theft. This would result in starvation.

Reviewing Authority: 1. PWs mistook action of the accused. Part of accused's job was to carry food from the warehouse to the kitchen which forced them to walk past the barracks of the PWs. He also kept Red Cross supplied of PWs for them at their request in the warehouse. 2. Accused was rumored to have struck and beaten prisoners because of violations of camp orders and regulations. 3. Accused was never seen to strike a prisoner. 4. Accused treated PWs better than he was treated in the army: it was common to strike new recruits when they did wrong. Although he was struck with bamboo fencing sword, wooden rifles, oak pole shoes and slippers as a recruit, he only used his fists or the palm of his hand. 5. Denied all the specifications as being misunderstood by PWs or as having never happened.

Prosecution Arguments: Record is legally sufficient to support the findings. Accused admitted to striking PW on occasions.

Defense Arguments: Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section

Judge Advocate's Recommendations:

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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