Japanese War Crimes Trials
Published: 1990-01-09

The Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Or: You Are What You Eat – So Be Careful

On October 30, 1938, an actor named Orson Welles pretended to be a sole surviving radio announcer broadcasting from the ruins of a city destroyed by Martian invaders. Thousands of people abandoned their homes and fled in terror to escape octopus-like monsters ravaging the country in flying saucers equipped with death-rays; yet, a simple flick of the radio dial would have revealed that other stations were broadcasting normally.

Three years later, America faced another, even graver threat – a second invasion of flying-frying people-eating monsters and non-octopoidal humanoids: not this time from outer space, nor even yet from the Black Lagoon; but from a small island in the Pacific called Japan.

Known to naturalists for its omnivorous feeding habits – in contrast to the European variety – and for its aggressive nature – Fascisticus japanicus subsists on a diet of Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Americans and raw fish. (American good taste makes this food hard to clean – rendering this diet expensive).

That the Japanese are a nation of habitual cannibals has been repeatedly "proven" in "War Crimes Trials", (a sort of zoo).

The most famous of these "War Crimes Trials" was the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, or Tokyo Trial. The transcript is available in book form from Garland Publishing, 1000A Sherman Ave., Hamden CT 06514, or 136 Madison Ave, New York 10016-6753, under the title THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL, edited by R. John Pritchard and Sonia Magbanua Zaide, ISBN 0-82404755-9.

The following "eyewitness testimony" is taken from these volumes:

"Two men fled and hid nearby as the Japanese approached, but the Japanese bayonetted to death all five occupants of the house, one of whom was a three-year girl. The six Japanese ate the flesh from some of the bodies of their victims... the flesh of the little-girl was cut into small pieces, put on the ends of sticks and roasted over an open fire... the flesh of another victim was roasted or boiled with native vegetables. The flesh of three of the victims was consumed in this manner... After the Japanese left, two observers went into the house and saw a piece of human flesh inside of a bag left by one of the Japanese and also inside one of the kettles..." (JAG Report 137, pp. 12,468-9 of mimeographed transcript; these reports "quote" "testimony" of unknown persons, often illiterates identified by first name only who are allowed to repeat hearsay and who could not be cross-examined).

"I saw this from behind a tree and noticed Japanese cut his flesh from arms, legs, chest and hips... I was shocked at the scene and followed the Japanese just to find out what they do to the flesh. They cut the flesh to small pieces and fried it. About 1800 hours a Japanese high official (Major General) addressed about 150 Japanese. At the conclusion of the speech a piece of the fried flesh was given to all present, who ate it on the spot" (Affidavit of Havildar Changiram, p. 14,130; Changiram was a totally unknown person who never appeared in court).

"Towards the end of the Pacific War the Japanese Army and Navy descended to cannibalism, eating parts of the bodies of Allied prisoners whom they had unlawfully killed... At times this consumption of the flesh of their enemies was made into something of a festive occasion at officer's quarters. Even officers of the rank of General and Rear-Admiral took part. Flesh of murdered prisoners or soup made from such flesh was served at meals... (Judgment, IMTFE, pp. 45,674-5; hearsay repeated in interrogation written in English is taken as fact and upheld in the judgment).

"Sake was served... it was said we should come to a party... Colonel KATO did not have enough drinks and things to go with the drinks... the question came up of where to get something in the line of meat and more sake. The general asked me about the execution and about getting some meat. Therefore, I telephoned personally to my headquarters that meat and ten sho of sugar cane rum be delivered to the 307th Battalion Headquarters. I do not recall now if the sugar cane rum was delivered or not, I know that the meat was... After the party at the 307th Battalion Headquarters where human flesh was served and eaten, on my way back I talked to Admiral MORI, and told Admiral MORI of the party. It was then that he told me to bring down a little human liver from the body of the next flyer to be executed... I also heard that flesh from this flyer was served in soup... human liver was eaten in the officer's mess... MIYAZAKI returned to the naval headquarters with a portion of the liver... I then ordered Doctor TERAKI to go and cut out the liver... I ordered the removal of the liver previous to the execution... I had it cut and dried... It wasn't exactly a party, but they ate the liver at the 308th Battalion Headquarters that night. It was Hall's liver... yes, definitely they ate it... During the Chinese-Japanese war human flesh and liver was eaten as a medicine... they were all saying that liver was good medicine for the stomach... these are the three times that I ate human flesh... I ate a small pill made from human liver in Singapore... ORDER REGARDING EATING OF FLESH OF AMERICAN FLYERS... The battalion wants to eat the flesh of the American aviator... attend the execution and have the liver and gall bladder removed... (pp. 15,033-42). (Note use of gall bladder as culinary delicacy; above passages are from an interrogation written in English).

(Here they are forbidden to eat each other):

"Those who eat human flesh (except that of the enemy) knowing it to be so, shall be sentenced to death..." (p. 12,576; the document is an "English translation" of an original document which was not brought to court).

(Here they are executed for eating each other):

"Troops must fight the Allies even to the extent of eating them... troops were permitted to eat the flesh of Allied dead but must not eat their own dead... four men were executed... for disobeying this order" (p. 12,577; the document is an "English translation" of an original document no one has ever seen).

(Here they hate the taste of human flesh):

"Of course, nobody relished the taste" (p. 15,034).

(Here they love the taste of human flesh):

"The evidence indicated that this cannibalism occurred when there was other food available... this horrible practice was indulged in from choice and not of necessity" (Judgment, IMTFE, p. 45,675).

(Here they only eat people when they are hungry):

"The flesh of the enemy should be eaten... all prisoners of war would be executed... the flesh would be eaten... we should fight and live on the flesh of our comrades and that of the enemy" (pp. 15,134-5; hearsay quoted in an interrogation written in English).

The existence of gas chambers on remote islands is proven on page 40,535:

"Journal of Taiwan POW Camp Headquarters date 1 Aug 44" (note: Japanese did not use Western system of dating)... sets out plan for the final disposition of POWS... they may be disposed of in any way such as poisoning, bombing, gassing, drowning, decapitation..." (The document is an "English translation" of an original which was not produced).

There were no acquittals. One of the Tokyo defendants, Umezu, petitioned for clemency on the grounds that he was 70 years old and was dying of rectal cancer. The Americans hanged him anyway. That takes gall.

If You Can't Eat 'Em, Beat 'Em

Or, How I Killed Thousands of People With My Bare Hands

In the Far Eastern war crimes trials, Japanese defendants were commonly convicted of killing POW's by fiendish torture (possibly for tenderizing purposes), after which the victims were eaten. Today, of course, it is recognized that the Japanese are a nation of fastidious eaters who consume little meat; nor do they devour dogs, cats, rats, and bird's nests like the Chinese.

In the German war crimes trials, the evidence concerning fiendish torture is much the same, except that we are spared this final culinary insult (or perhaps the food was less appetizing).

Certainly no one familiar with the average year's "Holocaust survivor" crop could get his taste buds in a twist for such cuisine-on-the-hoof. In addition to its often unsavoury appearance, there is the danger that such fare, like polluted shellfish, might prove toxic to the eater.

With "eating" eliminated, there remains "beating". A survivor, like an egg, spends a great deal of time being beaten (when he is not being steamed, fried, or poached); this may explain the scrambled nature of his testimony.

The evidence in prison camp trials (both Japanese and German) is very repetitive. Dozens of witnesses appear and describe horrific tortures in which inmates are beaten to a pulp with hands, fists, boots, and a variety of objects.

The defendant then appears and testifies, in effect: "I slapped them; sometimes I hit them with my fist; once in a while I kicked them. But I never hit them with an object, or beat them so badly as to cause serious injury. If I am serving food and they are all trying to steal it, what am I supposed to do? Write out a written report, in which case they will all be punished more severely later, or just hit them and make them stop?"

This, of course, is taken as a "confession". "Hit" is translated as "beat", giving the impression of repeated blows and serious injury. Since thousands of inmates died of disease (this is always admitted by the prosecution somewhere or other), many of these he "hit" have died; therefore, he has "beaten thousands of people to death". He is then hanged on the basis of his "confession", corroborated by "eyewitness evidence".

The following testimony, from the Trial of Martin Gottfried Weiss, is probably typical of thousands of cases:

A: I used the whip once that I can remember... seven bottles of wine were stolen... each block elder received three over his buttocks. There was no report handed in... I always hit them with the hand. I was strict but just. It was entirely necessary, because... these blocks elders and the capos took their own rations from their own people. Butter and other things were stolen from the kitchen or taken outside and sold, and in some instances cases of eggs were missing...

Q: ... you slapped prisoners every time you came into contact with them, did you not?

A: No, prisoners weren't beaten without a reason.

Q: ... you always had a reason for beating them, didn't you?... you beat prisoners, slapped them in the face and hit them in the head? Is it not true that you broke bones and hit them in other places besides their buttocks?

A: No, it never happened that I hit a prisoner in the face or broke bones or drew blood.

(Above is the testimony of Tempel, microfilm pages 000445-50. Tempel was a member of the SS. The SS overseers claimed that the prisoners beat each other, since most of them were criminals and there were not enough guards. Tempel was hanged).

Q: Did you ever beat, or beat to death, prisoners?

A: I never beat anyone to death, or else I would be in jail today. Now and again I administered a slap in the face as a reprimand, but that was necessary to avoid punishment reports to the SS...

Q: Did you ever kick with your feet?

A: I never kicked with my feet, but I told people while marching "get up, see that you get up".

Q: The witness Siebold said that you beat Russians to such an extent that their noses bled as a result. Is that correct?

A:It is possible that a slight bleeding of the nose occurred on a person whom I slapped on the face. I cannot remember any such case...

Q: ... Becher, there was a witness who testified that you beat another prisoner, Kowalski, to such an extent that he had to be sent to the hospital, and died.

A: I can remember the case of Kowalski exactly... I gave him two slaps in the face, and he had to go to the plantation for easy work. When he came back he had dysentery. He remained in the block for three days, made the beds filthy, and then I took him over to the hospital. After five or six days, the report came in that he had died of dysentery... it sometimes happened that certain prisoners attempted to make homosexual advances on other prisoners, and naturally, these people had to be corrected. It happened that people stole. For example, the smoking tobacco of a man was stolen. Thereupon I asked him whether that was true. He said, "No, it was not true, I could swear to it". Then the other prisoner told me to search him, he had the tobacco in his pocket. And that was actually true. I found the tobacco belonging to the other man in his pocket.

Q: ... and you beat Kowalski in the face, did you not?

A: With the flat of the hand.

Q: And you beat Kowalski in the body, did you not?

A: No, only in the face...

Q: ... now Becher, how many of these men did you beat while you were block eldest?

A: Me, beat people? I didn't beat people. I only corrected them. If somebody stole from his companions, or if he was a homosexual. What else could I do?

A: It is a fact, isn't it, that you corrected them by beating them?

Q: Yes. with the hand. I beat them with the hand, and never with an object, and never so that they would be injured or go to the hospital...

(Above is the testimony of Becher, microfilm pages 000608-9, 000615-6. Becher was a Communist who claimed that the SS had beaten people, but denied beating people himself).

Q: Do you admit to having beaten people?

A: No. But I did give out slaps in the face, where, according to my feeling, I had a right to do so. Or else, if I didn't, I would have to make a report to the SS. Or in order to save the prisoner from getting the twenty-five and the usual things that accompanied it, because I myself experienced the twenty-five and the other things.

Q: You said before that you did that in order to correct them. What made you correct them?

A: In order to tell that to the court I would have to talk until tomorrow, in order to explain all those things that could happen in a block with one thousand people. I would like to tell you only one case. One evening, while passing by a block, I see somebody there using a newspaper instead of the toilet. I wanted to look in to see what he is doing, but I didn't look in for long, because the whole mess flew in my face... or else if the room eldest gave jam and bread to somebody else for distribution, at noon when they fall in again, ten or twelve complain that they didn't have any marmalade... or else when you were trying to select fifty or sixty people for work, you picked out ten because they were the strong ones. By the time you picked out ten more, the first ten would have disappeared. And these various cases, I could continue to tell about them into tomorrow morning...

(Above is the testimony of Kick, microfilm pages 000619-20. Kick was another Communist. Kick was hanged for making mole-skin coats out of Jewish inmates).

I Left My Heart In Old Mukden

Or, How I Survived Miraculously While Almost Nobody Died

In the post-war Japanese film Rashomon an event takes on radically different shape when seen through the eyes of different people, including the ghost of a dead woman.

In the Tokyo Trial transcript, a similar phenomenon may be observed.

Prosecution Version of Mukden Prisoner of War Camp

(Prosecutor, International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 3 January 1947).

"These two affidavits describe the conditions under which prisoners lived at Hoten Camp near Mukden. Over two hundred inmates died of malnutrition, lack of medical care, and lack of fuel. The buildings were inadequately heated although plenty of coal was available for issue. During the first month and a half the prisoners received maize and Chinese cabbage soup and two sour buns a day. The food was frequently so contaminated that the prisoners could not eat it. All requests for additional food, fuel and medical supplies were refused..." (pp. 14,188).

"Deponent states that during the first few months he was at Mukden Camp about 250 American prisoners died either from starvation or dysentery. No medical care supplies were available. The food consisted of maize and soy beans.

"The prisoners worked in nearby factories making steel helmets for the Japanese army, airplane parts and gears for large calibre guns. Deponent worked in a steel mill sixteen hours a day. During his stay in Mukden Camp as a result of the hard work and poor food, he lost over sixty pounds in weight" (pp. 14,194-5).

"Deponent was confined at Camp Hoten, Mukden. The camp was about six hundred yards from a large Japanese ammunition factory. There was no designation on the prisoner of war camp. During a B29 air raid nineteen prisoners were killed and about thirty were injured" (pp. 14,193-4).

Red Cross Version of Mukden Prison Camp

(Excerpts from two Reports published by the International Red Cross in Geneva; (i) From the Report of January 1944; an Extract from the Report filed by Max Pestalozzi, a Representative of the ICRC, following his inspection of the Mukden Prisoner of War Camp at Mukden, Manchuria (Manchukuo), on November 13, 1943, (ii) From the Report of March 1945; an Extract from the Report filed by Mr. Angst, a Representative of the ICRC, following his Inspection of the same Camp on 6 December 1944):

(i) "Delegation to Japan – on November 13, Mr. Max Pestalozzi has visited the camp of prisoners of war at Mukden, Manchukuo, which confined Britishers, Australians, Americans, in total, more than a thousand prisoners of war.

The dwellings are satisfactory; they are brick buildings, well-constructed and well-equipped. The prisoners there are provided with straw mattress and complete bedding. As for clothing, the prisoners possess two suits of clothing; one for summer and one for winter. The prisoners of war are satisfied with the nourishment, however they find it a little monotonous in the long run.

The sanitary arrangements are sufficient. The camp has an infirmary attached to it, fully-equipped, which, considered as military hospital, is given all necessary things. The dental cares are also much appreciative. All the prisoners have been inoculated against typhoid, paratyphoid, and dysentery and vaccinated.

A large sport ground and many indoor games are available to prisoners, but prisoners who desire are given books, as much instructive as recreative.

In regard to correspondence, the prisoners can send a plenty of messages.

The discipline is somewhat relaxed, because the prisoners came from several units of army and navy.

The delegate of the International Red Cross Committee express much satisfaction of his visit and the kindness of the Red Cross of Manchukuo, and signalize at the same time, that the officers attached to the camp are making the utmost effort in order to ameliorate the treatment of the prisoners of war".

(ii) "On Dec. 6 again, Mr. Angst has made the second call at the camp of prisoners of war at Mukden, which assembled more than a thousand Americans, approximately a hundred Britishers, several Australians, and a French.

The measures to protect against aerial attacks have been taken; the hygienic institutions are satisfactory, and this camp is disinfected whenever it seems to be necessary.

The rations correspond in quantity to those which are distributed to the camp guards, but the quality of them looked better; the energy values attained about 3500 calories.

The supplemental foods are prepared for the prisoners who do heavy labours, and for the patients, as well as in the special occasions as, for example certain fete days.

The hospital of the camp is a brick building, which can receive one hundred fifty patients. It is composed of a separate ward, a tuberculosis patients rooms, a room of test, operations, X-rays, pharmacy and a recreation room. The medical and surgical equipment is complete, and only the patients who suffer from special diseases are transferred to the Mukden Military Hospital, which gives equally dental care.

The medical inspections take place three times a week and the patients receive doctors visits every day. All the prisoners have been vaccinated for small pox, and inoculated against typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery and cholera.

The money which they use is given them out of their savings.

It is above all expended in the canteen, where they are informed that these pocket moneys serve to buy musical instruments, sporting goods, food, seeds and toilets articles. The prisoners also can send the funds to their families if they wish.

Most of the people are able to work. The duty hours are eight hours a day, with recesses of morning, noon, and afternoon. Sunday is a holiday. Some men work in factory, and the rest are occupied in conversations in the camp.

There is no Chaplain in the camp; the religious services are celebrated in English by a Japanese clergyman.

The prisoners can play sport, music and cards; visitors from outside are not admitted, no more than the visits to outside are non authorized; but they can go out of the camp to visit the graves.

The camp commander has reported to the delegate that their morale and spirits have been, on the whole, ameliorated, and that the relations between the camp authorities and the prisoners have been satisfactory, and with the camp guards they have talked in a like manner; the state of health has been equally ameliorated, and they have seemed also to be satisfied with the fact that they can have these special considerations given them at that time".

(Defense document 3136, introduced into evidence 8 September 1947, pp. 27,918-21).

Rape of Nanking – Very Sorry

Or, How I Got My Rocks Off in Old China Town

The tropical landscape of the Tokyo Trial transcript is rich in strange fauna and flora. A variety prevalent on the lowlands of Central China is known for the hypotrophic development of its organs of locomotion and perception, (particularly hearing). He is called the Universal Witness.

Despite its name, ("Ah See" in Chinese), the vision of this specimen is quite poor.

Like the Indestructible Witness, the Universal Witness is immune to shooting, bayonetting, and other forms of capital punishment; however, the Universal Witness is everywhere and sees everything; he sees though doors, walls, and obstacles.

I Saw Jap Atrocities in 12 Cities and Was Bayonetted Ten Times, But Only Have One Scar

"I was the eye-witness... in such places as (list of 12 Chinese place names)... many others were killed in various other places... ten Japanese stabbed the left side of my abdomen with bayonets... The scar on the left side of my abdomen is an evidence" (pp. 4,650).

(Note: affidavit was written in English in 1946 describing events in China in 1937, "translated orally" into Chinese prior to signature).

The Japs Took Me Along as a Witness, That's Why I Saw so Many Atrocities

"I and another were put to one side, and the Japanese used light machine guns to kill the rest... I helped throw the bodies in a pond by order of the Japanese... the same day in the afternoon I saw three Japanese rape a dumb girl... I was taken by Japanese soldiers again... they killed with the bayonet... on the same day in the afternoon I was taken to... and saw three Japanese soldiers set a fire... I saw another raping case..." (p. 2,609).

(Note: this affidavit was written in English in 1946 describing events in China in 1937, complete with names of the Japanese responsible, with the names of their units, and was "translated orally" from English to Chinese prior to signature).

I Saw Japs Hang Around After Raping

"I see with my very eyes the Japanese soldier raping a woman in a bath room, and his clothes outside, and then afterwards we discovered the bathroom door and found a woman naked and also weeping and downcast...

"Now we went to the camp to try to get... to catch two Japanese who were reported to be living there... we saw one Japanese still sitting there, with a woman on the corner and weeping... and that man was sitting there with his head low there... once we caught a Japanese raping, and he was naked. He was sleeping... I know another case where because of the boatman... he told me this: where he saw that too on his boat, it happened on his boat... after raping, the Japanese asked the old man in that family, isn't that good?... I forgot to say that when the Japanese asked the older man whether it is good or not, he wanted the old man to rape that young girl so all the girls -now I saw this – they all jumped into the river. So the whole family jumped into the river and all drowned. This is not second-hand story. This is real, real and genuine, and we have, we know that, the boatman has been with us for a long time" (pp. 2,569-2,573).

(Note: the witness claimed to have a Ph. D. from the University of Illinois at the age of 13).

I Treated a Beheading Victim and Heard About Mass Rapes at Nanking

"I can say the few instances of patients that I treated during the time immediately following the fall of Nanking, but I will not be able to give their names, except in the case of two... one case... is that of a young woman of forty, who was brought to the hospital with the back of her neck having a laceration severing all the muscles of her neck, and leaving the head very precariously balanced... there was no doubt in our minds that the work was that of a Japanese soldier...

Q: "You say that the woman of about 40 had a wound in her neck and the muscles were cut and were hanging loose. But what was this caused by?

A: "A Japanese sword... (pp. 2,534; 2,552-3).

(Testimony of Dr. Robert O. Wilson).

They Cut My Head Off But I Crawled to the Hospital

"They attempted to cut off her head. The muscles of the neck had been cut but they failed to sever the spinal cord. She feigned death but dragged herself to the hospital... Dr. Wilson is trying to patch her up and thinks she may have a chance to live..." (p. 4,476).

(Note: this is the same woman. First quotes are from Dr. Wilson. Wilson's hospital at Nanking had 180 beds. Wilson claimed that 500,000 people were in Nanking at this time; many patients were turned away, but he could not say how many. If the Japanese injured 200 people, Wilson's testimony is "true".

Second quote is from mimeographed "diary" of James H. McCallum; McCallum was an unknown person who did not appear to testify; one of the American defense attorneys had defended a James H. McCallum on a charge of mail fraud in Ohio; the defendant jumped bail and was never caught. It was never learned whether this was the same James H. McCallum).

How the Japs Killed 200,000 or Maybe 260,000 or Maybe 278,586 or Maybe 300,000 or Maybe 500,000 After Mass Rapes at Nanking

"... approximately 260,000 dead... over 300,000 victims were reported... it is believed that over 200,000 more are yet to be confirmed... more than 200,000 were murdered... more than 300,000 people killed... the total number of victims killed totalled – I wish to say there is a typographical error there – the number should read 278,586... the total number of bodies buried... totalled more than 155,300...".

OBJECTION: "Mr. Brooks calls my attention to the fact that in another portion of the affidavit is contained the statement that 300,000 were killed in Nanking, and as I understand it the total population of Nanking is only 200,000..."

THE PRESIDENT: "... the judges will be just as vigilant as the defense to see that evidence which is indefinite or vague, or sweeping assertions which are not supported by evidence, are rejected" (pp. 4,537-51).

(Note: the quotes are from two "war crimes reports" prepared by the Nanking Procurator General's office in 1946 relating to events of 1937. Material on which conclusions are based are not attached to the reports. Also included are several "reports" of "burial societies". The "reports" are quite short.

According to the defense, 20 cases of rape by young recruits were reported to headquarters in Tokyo, 3 trials were held; 1 officer was executed and 2 soldiers imprisoned. Elsewhere it is stated that up to 100 trials of Japanese soldiers were held; elsewhere, that 180 cases per week were being reported from possibly hostile sources. One defense witness admitted that atrocities in Nanking were "very severe"; what this means in terms of numbers is hard to guess.

Mass rape was a crime allegedly committed by Japanese in all theatres of war as part of a "Common Plan". It seems obvious that such a "plan" would be incompatible with discipline and that any army following such a "plan" would be immediately defeated.

At the time of these events, the Chinese Nationalists were cooperating with the Communists under the terms of the Shan Agreement to expel the Japanese from China, and the Japanese were the victims of considerable Communist propaganda, not only in China, but elsewhere.

It appears that Japanese atrocities at Nanking (to the extent to which they have any reality at all) were a reprisal for Chinese atrocities against Japanese residents in China at Tientsin in July 1937, atrocities which included rape. It was pointed out by the prosecution that murder could be justified on the grounds of reprisal, but that rape could not be.

Queer Facts

Or, How I Ate Gall Bladders While Writing My Diary

The production of "diaries" was a growth industry in the post-war years.

In one of these efforts, the top floor of a house disappears behind a book case; the house is sold to an architect who does not realize that the top floor is missing; with many other magical events.

In war crimes trials, "diaries" are produced by something resembling magic; the conjuror takes a mimeograph, utters an incantation and – presto! reams of secondary evidence appear where none existed, usually in the form of "copies" or "translations".

In the Tokyo Trial, the incantation goes something like this:

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 2707-K, which is the English translation of extracts from a diary...

"We are ordered to kill all the males we find... our aim is to kill or wound all the men..."

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 415, which is the English translation of extracts from a captured diary...

"27 Mar. 45 (correct Japanese year: 20th year of Showa)... we went out to kill the natives. It was hard for me to kill them because they seemed like good people. Frightful cries of the women and children..."

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 426, which is the of English translation of an extract from a captured diary...

"My turn was the second one... I bayonetted him... after bayonetting them we covered them with soil".

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 2776, which is the English translation of extracts of a captured notebook diary...

"7 Feb 45 – 150 guerillas were disposed of tonight..."

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 428, which is an English translation of an excerpt taken from a loose, handwritten sheet containing battle report...

"All were either stabbed or shot to death..."

We submit in evidence IPS document no. 2749, which is an English translation of an extract from a bound, printed and mimeographed file containing censored papers...

"It was pitiful, so I couldn't watch. They also shot them and speared them to death with bamboo lances. Indeed the Japanese army does extreme things..."

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 2777, which is the English translation of an excerpt from the bound handwritten notebook diary dated 14 November 1943 to 17 April 1945...

"All inhabitants of the town were killed..."

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 425, which is the English translation of extract from a captured bound diary-notebook dated July 1944...

"Every day is spent hunting guerillas and natives. I have already killed over 100. The naivete I possessed at the time of leaving the homeland has long since disappeared. Now I am a hardened killer and my sword is always stained with blood. Although it is for my country's sake, it is sheer brutality. May God forgive me! May my mother forgive me!"

We offer in evidence IPS document no. 2707-H, which is the English translation of a captured Japanese "Memorandum"... which mentions and makes admission and confirmation of the practice of cannibalism...

"... those who eat human flesh (except that of the enemy) knowing it to be so, shall be sentenced to death as the worst kind of enemy against mankind..."

We tender in evidence IPS document no. 2850, which is an extract from statements made by prisoner of war YANAGAZIWA, Eiji...

"Cannibalism..." (pp. 12,565-77).

Extract from diary, apparently belonging to an officer, unit unknown. Vivisection took place...

"... to prevent their escaping a second time, pistols were fired at their feet, but it was difficult to hit them. The two prisoners were dissected while still alive by Medical Officer YAMAJI and their livers taken out, and for the first time I saw the internal organs of a human being. It was very instructive..." ... (p. 14,140) (SPAC "translation").

The following is the document of which Justice Pal said, "We were not given the captured diary... I hope it was written in Japanese"):

"The head, detached from the trunk, rolls in front of it... a superior seaman of the medical unit takes the Chief Medical Officer's sword and... turns the headless body over on its back, and cuts the abdomen open with one clear stroke... not a drop of blood comes out of the body..." (Maybe he was anaemic. – Ed.). "If ever I get back alive it will make a good story to tell, so I have written it down" (pp. 14,075-80).

(Speaking of "confessions" in foreign languages...):

"They made much reduced official reports in the Japanese language and characters which we could not read but were nevertheless compelled to sign, without being told the contents. Afterwards, these reports turned out to be our "confessions", in which we were charged with the queerest facts..." (p. 13,680-1).

(In the following case the "witness" read about his "testimony" in the newspaper and showed up to repudiate his affidavit entirely and testify for the defense).

"I was summoned to the U.S. Military Government in Saipan and examined by a young American Lieutenant... He knew Japanese and interrogated me in that language. His Japanese was not fluent, but good enough to make himself understood. He wrote down my statement in English and had me sign it but he did not translate it and read it to me... I do not understand spoken English. I can only understand written English if I have an English-Japanese dictionary before me and considerable time to ponder over the written material. On the original document is a statement by Ensign Charles D. Shelton which reads as follows:

"I swear that I am familiar with both the English and Japanese language and the Japanese and that before the above statement was signed I read same in the Japanese language to the person who signed same".

"This statement is in error. A translation of the English document was not given to me either orally or in written form. The manner in which I was questioned is as follows: the American lieutenant asked me questions in Japanese to which I responded. Then, writing with a fountain pen on a piece of paper, he appeared to be making a statement. The interview lasted about 20 minutes, at the end of which time the Lieutenant gave the handwritten piece of paper to a Navy enlisted man who typed out the piece of paper which I ultimately signed..."

Cross examination by the prosecution:

Q: "How did things proceed; what happened?"

A: "In accordance with some notations made on a memo paper he asked questions... he apparently had some kind of list of questions..."

Q: "Did you ask what it was you were being asked to sign?"

A: "I asked no questions... I learned about it for the first time when it appeared in the newspapers in October last year".

(Testimony of WAKAMATSU Makoto, 22 August 1947, pp. 26,532-42).

Japan was Provoked into a War of Self Defense

Synopsis of Arguments by Lawyers for the Defense,
International Military Tribunal for the Far East

On December 7, 1928, a group of distinguished Senators gathered in the Capital Building at Washington D.C. to discuss ratification of the Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact, an instrument whose purpose was to "abolish aggressive war".

Among those present was the author of the Pact, Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg.

During the course of the recorded discussions, the following exchange took place:

"Q: Suppose a country is not attacked – suppose there is an economic blockade...?

A: There is no such thing as a blockade [unless] you are in war.

Q: It is an act of war?

A: An act of war absolutely... as I have stated before, nobody on earth, probably, could write an article defining "self defense" or "aggressor" that some country could not get around; and I made up my mind that the only safe thing for any country to do was to judge for itself within its sovereign rights whether it was unjustly attacked and had a right to defend itself and it must answer to the opinion of the world."
Japan's War of the Pacific was a war of self-defense for the following reasons: – blockade is an act of war; (p. 43,051); – every nation is the judge of what constitutes self- defense (ibid); – no submission to any tribunal is required by the Pact (pp. 42,162; 42,240); – self-defense is not limited to defense of the national territory (p. 42,239); – the Pact does not contain any sanctions, express or implied (pp. 42,163); – breach of treaties does not constitute aggression (p. 42, 191); – American aid to the Chinese made America a belligerent in that war (see Note, below); – declarations of war are not required in self-defense (pp. 42,431-5); – no treaty requires any warning prior to attack (pp. 42,447-8);

- declaration of war prior to attack was intended, but was delayed due to clerical errors on the part of Embassy staff in Washington (pp. 43,704-18; see also p. 42, 448- 51).

It was argued further that:

- the attack on Pearl Harbor was not illegal under international law (pp. 42,403-513; 43,493-738); – Japan was provoked into a war of self-defense (pp. 43,050-175); – Japan was not prepared militarily for war (pp. 43,177- 222); – Japanese military preparedness was not aggressive (pp. 43,224-263).

Japan is an island nation devoid of natural resources, overpopulated, dependant on imports of nearly all commodities for manufacture. Most of Japan is mountainous or infertile; most cities are on the coast.

Japan must be a naval nation; every major city in Japan can be destroyed by coastal shelling from battleships, to say nothing of airplanes.

Japan was not prepared for war in the Pacific.

Japan never prepared for combat in tropical regions; military supplies and equipment were designed for combat in cold climates (pp. 26,949; 43,244).

Most Japanese ships were small, for the coastal trade; many were built of wood (pp. 24,915; 43,076; see also p. 24,929).

2 destroyers were added to the Japanese fleet in 10 years, 1931-1941, reaching a total of 112 in 1941 (ibid).

Japan had no long-range aircraft carriers. Japanese carriers could not refuel at sea (pp. 26,719-20; 43,221); Japanese ships were built for patrolling shallow Japanese coastal waters (pp. 11,272; 43,202).

Japan did not stockpile any commodity except oil for any purpose in 1941.

Japan planned to store 36,000 kiloliters of oil by 1943 (pp. 24,855; 43,241).

Japan did not store ammunition or oil in Formosa or southern parts of Japanese territory overseas (pp. 26,951; 43,246).

Japan did not develop a merchant marine (pp. 24,965; 43,076).

Japan had few civilian aircraft or ships capable of conversion (pp. 26,671; 43,201).

Japan suffered from an acute food shortage in 1939-40 (pp. 25,050-2; 43,101).

The American embargo applied to foodstuffs, including rice, tea, soy beans, wheat flour, fertilizer, fodder, edible fats and seeds (pp. 36,966-8; 43,131; 25,255-9; 43,162-175).

Synthetic oil could not be produced due to a lack of high pressure steel pipes, coal and cobalt (pp. 24,870; 43,134).

Japan possessed 11,654 military aircraft (pp. 8,030-1; 43,070) and 65 submarines in 1941 (pp. 11,261; 43,194).

Japan built 1,380 army planes in 1941 (pp. 18,293; 43,240).

Japan's initial conquests after Pearl Harbor were achieved using 1,175 land planes; 475 carrier planes; 13 divisions of army; and a "handful" of marines (pp. 39,391; 43,262).

Japan negotiated for 9 months prior to the attack. In the course of these negotiations, the Americans demanded a guarantee of freedom from attack by Japan regardless of any action taken against Germany (pp. 43,517-21).

Japan agreed, repudiating the Tri-Pacific Pact (pp. 43,522- 39).

Japan gave the Americans permission to publish the text of the repudiation (p. 43,642).

Japan offered to withdraw all troops from China (pp. 25,856; 43,588) or at least 90% (p. 43,604).

Japan received no response to either concession (43,602).

Japanese cables (decoded by the Americans in violation of international law) were so badly mis-translated by American Nisei that they probably helped cause the war (pp. 43,607-21).

(As far as one can tell, no Nisei translators of Japanese were used in war crimes trials of Japanese military personnel. Affidavits in English were supposed to have been translated orally and accurately on sight to Japanese affiants prior to signature by translators who were British or American, frequently with Jewish names).

The Americans froze Japanese assets (in violation of a treaty) and began to embargo oil.

It was demanded, as a condition to restoring normal relations, that Japan sign an agreement with various other nations who had never before been party to the negotiations, including Thailand and Soviet Russia (pp. 43,678-98).

To obtain agreement with the other nations in accordance with this demand could have taken months or years; and might never have been possible. Japan had enough oil for a few months only. A conference was held at which it was decided that if there was to be war, it must come now; by spring Japan would be too weak to fight. In any case, the attack on Pearl Harbor was an act of utter desperation. The oil embargo meant the destruction of Japan's independence and perhaps survival as a nation.

Japan faced immediate military defeat in China; total industrial collapse at home; and destruction through coastal shelling of all the major cities by any one of five traditional enemies (America, Britain, China, the Netherlands, and particularly the Soviets).

Oil had been supplied to Japan for two years in the teeth of hostile public opinion. It was believed essential to keep war out of the Far East; Roosevelt wished to import rubber, tin, etc from the South Pacific, supplying the British in the Near East with meat, wheat, corn, troops, and military supplies (pp. 25,316-7; 43,121).

When this did not work, Japan was forced into war, crushed with atomic bombs, and her leaders hanged for "aggression".

War with Japan had been avoided – as long as it was believed that Germany could be provoked into a declaration of war through bombing and ramming attacks on German and Italian ships and submarines, and many other violations of international law (pp. 42,436; 43,639).

Japan attempted to negotiate a surrender for 11 months prior to the atomic bombings (pp. 23,582-610).

That America, Britain and Holland conspired "aggressive war" against Japan is proven by the report of the conversations at the Most Secret American-Dutch-British Conversations held in Singapore in April 1941:

"It was important to organize air operations against Japanese occupied territory and against Japan itself. It is probable that her collapse will occur as a result of economic blockade, naval pressure, and air bombardment".

Space does not permit further discussion of the crimes of this nation of monsters (we mean Japan).

(Note: almost no use was made of the argument that America was a belligerent in the China Incident. The Incident was a "conflict" rather than a "war" in the sense that belligerent and neutral rights were not invoked: diplomatic relations were undisturbed; enemy aliens in Japan were not interned, etc. Rather, it was maintained that if it was a war, then American aid to China made America a belligerent subject to attack without formality. The Americans claimed it was a war in which they could participate without becoming a belligerent.)


Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Carlos Whitlock Porter
Title: Japanese War Crimes Trials
Sources: Section "If You Can't Eat 'Em, Beat 'Em" from: The Journal of Historical Review, Fall, 1990; vol. 10 no. 3: p. 380-382
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Published: 1990-01-09
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 1995, 7 p.m.
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