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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: Hazama, Kosaku, Camp Commander at Tanagawa Branch Camp aand Oeyama Branch Camp, Osaka Area, Honshu, Japan

Docket No./ Date: 143/ Feb 3 - Mar 19, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the laws and customs of war: 1. Did permit collective punishment on groups of Allied PWs for offensess alleged to have been committed by individual PWs (spec 3) 2. Did willfully and unlawfully permit and condone the unlawful mistreatment administered by a subordinate (spec 4,5,7) 3. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat PWs (spec 8, 24) 4. Did unlawfully disregard and fail to discharge his duties as commander to control and restrain the members of his command and persons under his supervision and control, by permitting them to commit atrocities and other offenses against PWs (spec 9a-e,i, 25a-aa, cc,dd,ff-uu, ww, yy-aaa, cccc-eee, ggg-jjj) 5. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and abuse PWs (spec. 12,14) 6. Did unlawfully permit PWs to work and perform arduous labor while sick, diseassed or physically unfit to perform such labors, therre by contributing to the illness or disability of numerous PWs (spec. 23)

Specifications: command responsibiliity; beating using ruler, open hand; slapping;

Verdict: 15 years CHL

Reviewing Authority's Recommendations: At the camp, if a guard observed an infraction by one of the prisoners, the entire group would be forced to suffer punishment. The accused observed the mistreatment and beating of prisoners by his subordinates for being in the wrong place or for passing out but did nothing. The accused also slapped prisoners for failure to wear hats issued to them. As the commander, the accused was responsible for the misconduct, mistreatment, abuse, torture and other violations of international law committed by his subordinates, whether or not he saw what happened. There was presented evidence that accused, when he saw it happening, took pleasure in it. At one of the camps, while the accused was in command, the victims of beatings were often rendered semi-conscious or completely unconscious.

Reviewing Authority: Accused had no control over the civilian employees at the company and no authority to punish civilians employed by the army: the latter got their orders from the Main Camp and under "peculiar situations" had a right to refuse to obey his orders. His only recourse was to report insubordination to the Main Camp; as camp commandant, he was not given the authority or the rank to punish subordinates like a company commandant would have been given. Accused also stated that he had "no knowledge" about which prisoners were sick and which prisoners would be excused from going to work; the medical officerr had full authority over such decisions. Accused 'at all times ordered his subordinates to handle sick prisoners of war carefully and to work hard for their speedy recovery." Accused stated that the Red Cross supplies were dealt with as ordered: due to the development of diarrhea, the second year he ordered that Red Cross supplies be used in the kitchen to supplement the regular food supply; they never got enough supplies for everyone. Accused tried to treat prisoners well; he ordered one month's rest when PWs first arrived so that they could recuperate. He also was criticized for treating PWs too well; he ordered subordinates never to strike PWs; he requested that the company supply more medicine, food and fuel for the PWs; and, he refused to allow PWs to work on rainy days, contrary to the company's request. The request took complaints about the mistreatment of PWs seriously and whenever he heard of mistreatment, he cautioned the abuser; threatened the company with not allowing PWs to go to work; or got the individual abuser dismissed as in two occasions. Accused stated that he did slap 4 or 5 PWs for not wearing the hats that he had obtained with such difficulty because he got angry; but never as many as 20. Accused denied knowing about or seeing any of the other occasions of mistreatment. If it happened, it was despite his warnings and his actions to prevent such actions such as returning in the evenings in civilian clothes to check on the actions of his subordinates and going to the work site to watch over his subordinates. No evidence to support specifications 25ff, 25ll, 25mm. It is considered that specification 25oo and 25 ss are referring to the same prisoner and the same event. The reviewer found that the sentence given to the accused, even with the disapproval of the above-mentioned specifications, was still extremely lenient considering the crimes for which the accused was found guilty: "contribution to the death of a prisoner, for beatings, abuses and mistreatments of other prisoners of war." Paul E. Spurlock, Reviewer Allan R. Browne, Lt. Col., JAGD, stated that "such a low sentence as was returned under the facts in evidence bespeaks a serious miscarriage of justice." Following this statement was his "standard" statement about the blackest rogue…

Prosecution Arguments:

Defense Arguments:

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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