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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: Tendo, Jiro, Commanding Officer, Hakodate PW Camp 2-B, Akahira, Hokkaido, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 57/June 9-19, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duties as commander of said camps by faiing and neglecting to provide for adequate food, clothing, medicine, medical supplies and treatment, correspondence and sanitation, thereby contributing to the suffering and ill health of numerous American and Allied PWs. 2. Did willfully and unlawfully misappropriate and withhold Red Cross supplies intended for the use and benefit of PWs. 3. Did unlawfully cause the destruction of official records pertaining to American and Allied PWs. 4. Did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duties as commander of said camps, to protect American and Allied PWs from violations of the laws and customs of war.

Specifications: stealing and misusing Red Cross supplies; refusing PWs necessary medicine, medical supplies and treatment; forcing PWs to perform hard labor, when physically unfit for such work;forcing PWs to work for excessive number of hours under dangerous, hazardous and unhealthy coditions; mistreatment; abuse; beatings

Verdict: 2 years CHL/ Not Guilty on Specification 1 and 2

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused was the commanding officer of the PW camp. Accused destroyed records by burning them and he ordered those in charge of other camps under his command to destroy all records by burning them. Accused received reports about the conditions in which the PWs worked and reports about the beatings and mistreatment of the PWs. Accused made inspections of the work site. Accused made "no effort to stop or correct the abuse of the PWs by the guards at the mine" and made no effort to prevent those under his command from stealing and misusing Red Cross supplies. He also failed to stop those under his command from sending out sick PWs to labor detail. THese specifications happened and the perpetrators were under the accused's command.

Reviewing Authority: Denied forcing PWs to work an excessive amount of hours: the company may have required that the PWs work more but he did not have authority over the PWs except at the camp. Orders were received directly from headquarters to destroy and burn the prison records: he did so only in compliance with the orders. Accused never misappropriated Red Cross supplied: no persons complained about the lack of medicine, medical supplies, medical treatment or clothing. There were no complaints about PWs being overworked and no other complaints about mistreatment at the mines. In the case of specification 4a, the particular prisoner was punished for failing to carry out work instructions and for striking the mine supervisor.

Prosecution Arguments: "There is sufficient legal evidence in the record of trial, which in itself supports the findings and sentence of the commission, in view of the compelling evidence of guilt properly in evidence, which is of such quantity and quality as practically to compel in the minds of conscientious and reasonable men, the findings of guilty." In regards to the issue of superior responsibility, "the camp commander has a duty to protect the prisoners and, by the use of diligence he must determine that they are not being mistreated. If he should know, and by negligence does not know, he has committed an offense. From the evidence herein, the accused Tendo had been informed and advised" about the specifications. Accused failed to even follow his orders concerning the 8-hour workday and he knew of those orders. There was presented extenuating and mitigating circumstances revolving around "his neglect" and "his failures to discharge his duties" and the commission believed him.

Defense Arguments: George R. Taylor, Reviewer, Judge Advocate Section

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Lt. Col. Allan R. Browne, JAGD: "The action of the Commission in enlarging the time involved in Sub-specification 4p was not authorized and convicted accused Tendo of offenses during a period for which he had no advance opportunity to prepare his defense. This necessitates disapproval of the findings under that sub-specification. Even with that element eliminated, the sentence is still grossly inadequate and out of line with the sentences of other Commissions for similar offenses...It is illogical and unjust to relieve the commander for atrocities of which he knew or must have known as here, where a pattern of cruelty exists in the camp, and to hold only the actual perpetrator...Close scrutiny of the record fails to reveal the 'extenuating and mitigating circumstances' mentioned by the Commission."

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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