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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: Watanabe, Sadao, Civilian Guard, Hakodate 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.

Specifications: beating with belt, fists, rifle butt, stick; kicking; physical and psychological torture using a bayonet; forcing PWs to beat each other;slapping;

Verdict: 30 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: Accused was employed as a civilian guard. Accused was the "Watanabe" responsible for the acts alleged. Accused beat PWs for minor infractions of rules, for personal vengeance, or for no reason at all. Accused even beat prisoners who were ill and thus could not follow certain procedures.

Reviewing Authority: Accused denied the specifications as charged. He admitted striking PWs for violations of regulations but not severely. He also denied having kicked any PWs.

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

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

Judge Advocate's Recommendations: Lt. Col. Allan R. Browne found that the sentence of 30 years for the accused, found guilty of 18 specifications, was too lenient.

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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