Japanese war crimes
Part of the territorial conquests of the Empire of Japan
Bodies of victims along the Qinhuai River, out of Nanjing's west gate during the Nanjing Massacre
LocationIn and around East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific
Date1927–1945[1]
Attack type
war crimes, mass murder, and other crimes against humanity
DeathsAt least 10,000,000[2]-c. 30,000,000[3]
PerpetratorEmpire of Japan
Motive
TrialsTokyo Trial, and others

During its imperial era, the Empire of Japan committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity across various Asian-Pacific nations, notably during the Second Sino-Japanese and Pacific Wars. These incidents have been sometimes referred to as "the Asian Holocaust",[4][5] as "Japan's Holocaust",[6] and also as the "Rape of Asia".[7] The crimes occurred during the early part of the Shōwa era, under Hirohito's reign.

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) were responsible for a multitude of war crimes leading to millions of deaths. War crimes ranged from sexual slavery and massacres to human experimentation, starvation, and forced labor, all either directly committed or condoned by the Japanese military and government.[8][9][10][11][12] Evidence of these crimes, including oral testimonies and written records such as diaries and war journals, has been provided by Japanese veterans.[13]

The Japanese political and military leadership knew of its military's crimes, yet continued to allow it and even support it, with the majority of Japanese troops stationed in Asia either taking part in or supporting the killings.[14]

The Imperial Japanese Army Air Service participated in chemical and biological attacks on civilians during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, violating international agreements that Japan had previously signed, including the Hague Conventions, which prohibited the use of "poison or poisoned weapons" in warfare.[15][16]

Since the 1950s, numerous apologies for the war crimes have been issued by senior Japanese government officials; however, apologies issued by Japanese officials have been criticized as insincere. Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acknowledged the country's role in causing "tremendous damage and suffering" before and during World War II, particularly the massacre and rape of civilians in Nanjing by the IJA.[17] However, the issue remains controversial, with some members of the Japanese government, including former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzō Abe, having paid respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors all Japanese war dead, including convicted Class A war criminals. Furthermore, some Japanese history textbooks provide only brief references to the war crimes,[18] and certain members of the Liberal Democratic Party have denied some of the atrocities, such as the government's involvement in abducting women to serve as "comfort women", a euphemism for sex slaves.[19][20]

Definitions

Main article: Definitions of Japanese war crimes

The Tokyo Charter defines war crimes as "violations of the laws or customs of war,"[21] which involves acts using prohibited weapons, violating battlefield norms while engaging in combat with the enemy combatants, or against protected persons,[22] including enemy civilians and citizens and property of neutral states as in the case of the attack on Pearl Harbor.[23]

Military personnel from the Empire of Japan have been convicted of committing many such acts during the period of Japanese imperialism from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Japanese military soldiers conducted a series of human rights abuses against civilians and prisoners of war throughout East Asia and the western Pacific region. These events reached their height during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and the Asian and Pacific campaigns of World War II (1941–45).

International and Japanese law

Chinese civilians being buried alive by Japanese troops

Japan signed the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War and the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Sick and Wounded,[24] but the Japanese government declined to ratify the POW Convention. In 1942, the Japanese government stated that it would abide by the terms of the Convention mutatis mutandis ('changing what has to be changed').[25] The crimes committed also fall under other aspects of international and Japanese law. For example, many of the crimes committed by Japanese personnel during World War II broke Japanese military law, and were subject to court martial, as required by that law.[26] The Empire also violated international agreements signed by Japan, including provisions of the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) such as protections for prisoners of war and a ban on the use of chemical weapons, the 1930 Forced Labour Convention which prohibited forced labor, the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children which prohibited human trafficking, and other agreements.[27][28] The Japanese government also signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1929), thereby rendering its actions in 1937–45 liable to charges of crimes against peace,[29] a charge that was introduced at the Tokyo Trials to prosecute "Class A" war criminals. "Class B" war criminals were those found guilty of war crimes per se, and "Class C" war criminals were those guilty of crimes against humanity. The Japanese government also accepted the terms set by the Potsdam Declaration (1945) after the end of the war, including the provision in Article 10 of punishment for "all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners". Japanese law does not define those convicted in the post-1945 trials as criminals, despite the fact that Japan's governments have accepted the judgments made in the trials, and in the Treaty of San Francisco (1952).[clarification needed] Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had advocated the position that Japan accepted the Tokyo tribunal and its judgements as a condition for ending the war, but that its verdicts have no relation to domestic law. According to Abe, those convicted of war crimes are not criminals under Japanese law.[30]

Historical and geographical extent

Samurai warriors of the Chosyu clan, during the Boshin War period of the 1860s

Outside Japan, different societies use widely different timeframes when they define Japanese war crimes.[citation needed] For example, the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 was enforced by the Japanese military, and the Society of Yi Dynasty Korea was switched to the political system of the Empire of Japan. Thus, North and South Korea both refer to "Japanese war crimes" as events which occurred during the period of Korea under Japanese rule.[31]

By comparison, the Western Allies did not come into a military conflict with Japan until 1941, and North Americans, Australians, South East Asians and Europeans may consider "Japanese war crimes" to be events that occurred from 1942 to 1945.[32]

Japanese war crimes were not always carried out by ethnic Japanese[33] personnel. A small minority of people in every Asian and Pacific country invaded or occupied by Japan collaborated with the Japanese military, or even served in it, for a wide variety of reasons, such as economic hardship, coercion, or antipathy to other imperialist powers.[34] In addition to Japanese civil and military personnel, Chinese (including Manchus), Koreans, and Taiwanese who were forced to serve in the military of the Empire of Japan were also found to have committed war crimes as part of the Japanese Imperial Army.[35][36][33][37]

Japan's sovereignty over Korea and Taiwan, in the first half of the 20th century, was recognized by international agreements—the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 and the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910—and at the time, they were considered integral parts of the Japanese colonial empire. Under the international law of today, the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty might be illegal,[38] because the native populations of Korea and Taiwan were not consulted during the signing of them, there was armed resistance to Japan's annexations, and the Japanese may have also committed war crimes when they crushed the resistance.[citation needed]

Background

Japanese militarism, nationalism, imperialism and racism

Main articles: Bushido, Statism in Shōwa Japan, Japanese militarism, Japanese nationalism, Eugenics in Japan, Fascism in Asia § Japan, Racism in Asia § Japan, and Racism in Japan

Japanese illustration depicting the beheading of Chinese captives during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895

Militarism, nationalism and racism, especially during Japan's imperialist expansion, had great bearings on the conduct of the Japanese armed forces both before and during the Second World War. After the Meiji Restoration and the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Emperor became the focus of military loyalty, nationalism and racism. During the so-called "Age of Imperialism" in the late 19th century, Japan followed the lead of other world powers by establishing a colonial empire, an objective which it aggressively pursued.

Unlike many other major powers, Japan never ratified the Geneva Convention of 1929—also known as the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva 27 July 1929—which was the version of the Geneva Convention that covered the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II.[39] Nevertheless, Japan ratified the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 which contained provisions regarding prisoners of war[40] and an Imperial Proclamation in 1894 stated that Japanese soldiers should make every effort to win the war without violating international laws. According to Japanese historian Yuki Tanaka, Japanese forces during the First Sino-Japanese War released 1,790 Chinese prisoners without harm, once they signed an agreement not to take up arms against Japan if they were released.[41] After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, all of the 79,367 Russian prisoners who were held by the Japanese were released and they were also paid for the labor which they performed for the Japanese, in accordance with the Hague Convention.[41] Similarly, the behavior of the Japanese military in World War I was at least as humane as that of other militaries which fought during the war,[citation needed] with some German prisoners of the Japanese finding life in Japan so agreeable that they stayed and settled in Japan after the war.[42][43]

Two Japanese officers, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda competing to see who could kill (with a sword) one hundred people first. The headline reads, "'Incredible Record' (in the Contest to Decapitate 100 People)—Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings".

As Japan continued its modernization in the early 20th century, her armed forces became convinced that success in battle would be assured if Japanese soldiers, sailors, and airmen had the "spirit" of Bushido. ... The result was that the Bushido code of behavior "was inculcated into the Japanese soldier as part of his basic training." Each soldier was indoctrinated to accept that it was the greatest honor to die for the Emperor and it was cowardly to surrender to the enemy. ... Bushido therefore explains why the Japanese soldiers who were stationed in the NEI so mistreated POWs in their custody. Those who had surrendered to the Japanese—regardless of how courageously or honorably they had fought—merited nothing but contempt; they had forfeited all honor and literally deserved nothing. Consequently, when the Japanese murdered POWs by shooting, beheading, and drowning, these acts were excused since they involved the killing of men who had forfeited all rights to be treated with dignity or respect. While civilian internees were certainly in a different category from POWs, it is reasonable to think that there was a "spill-over" effect from the tenets of Bushido.

— Fred Borch, Military Trials of War Criminals in the Netherlands East Indies 1946–1949[44]

Propaganda depictions of the Japanese military as superior and of others such as the Chinese or Koreans as cowards, pigs, rats or mice occurred in the use of woodcuts produced for wide consumption which were intended to provide a cruel amusement. The Myrdal-Kessle woodcut cartoon collection donated to the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, Sweden, was the subject of a catalogued exhibition in 2011 and includes examples of this type of material from the Meiji period.[45]

The events of the 1930s and 1940s

By the late 1930s, the rise of militarism in Japan created at least superficial similarities between the wider Japanese military culture and that of Germany. Japan also had a military secret police force within the IJA, known as the Kenpeitai, which resembled the Nazi Gestapo in its role in annexed and occupied countries, but which had existed for nearly a decade before Hitler's own birth.[46]

Perceived failure or insufficient devotion to the Emperor would attract punishment, frequently of the physical kind.[47] In the military, officers would assault and beat men under their command, who would pass the beating all the way down on to the lowest ranks. In POW camps, this meant that prisoners of war received the worst beatings of all,[48] partly in the belief that such punishments were merely the proper technique to deal with disobedience.[47]

Compared to the German Einsatzgruppen, which carried out mass shootings on the Eastern Front in Europe and who suffered from psychological issues as a result, no such problems occurred with Japanese soldiers, as the vast majority of soldiers participated in murder and rape and seemingly enjoyed it.[49]

War crimes

An Australian POW, Sgt. Leonard Siffleet, captured in New Guinea, about to be beheaded by a Japanese officer with a guntō, 1943.

Much of the controversy regarding Japan's role in World War II revolves around the death rates of prisoners of war and civilians under Japanese occupation. Historian Sterling Seagrave has written that:

Arriving at a probable number of Japan's war victims who died is difficult for several interesting reasons, which have to do with Western perceptions. Both Americans and Europeans fell into the unfortunate habit of seeing WW1 and WW2 as separate wars, failing to comprehend that they were interlaced in a multitude of ways (not merely that one was the consequence of the other, or of the rash behavior of the victors after WW1). Wholly aside from this basic misconception, most Americans think of WW2 in Asia as having begun with Pearl Harbor, the British with the fall of Singapore, and so forth. The Chinese would correct this by identifying the Marco Polo Bridge incident as the start, or the earlier Japanese seizure of Manchuria. It really began in 1895 with Japan's assassination of Korea's Queen Min, and invasion of Korea, resulting in its absorption into Japan, followed quickly by Japan's seizure of southern Manchuria, etc. – establishing that Japan was at war from 1895 to 1945. Prior to 1895, Japan had only briefly invaded Korea during the Shogunate, long before the Meiji Restoration, and the invasion failed. Therefore, Rummel's estimate of 6-million to 10-million dead between 1937 (the Rape of Nanjing) and 1945, may be roughly corollary to the time-frame of the Nazi Holocaust, but it falls far short of the actual numbers killed by the Japanese war machine. If you add, say, 2-million Koreans, 2-million Manchurians, Chinese, Russians, many East European Jews (both Sephardic and Ashkenazi), and others killed by Japan between 1895 and 1937 (conservative figures), the total of Japanese victims is more like 10-million to 14-million. Of these, I would suggest that between 6-million and 8-million were ethnic Chinese, regardless of where they were resident.[50]

Prince Mikasa of the Imperial House of Japan was stationed as an officer of the Imperial Japanese Army in China during 1943.[51] He authored a book published in 1984, in which he revealed his shock at the atrocities carried out by the Japanese military during his one-year deployment in China.[51] In 1994, the Japanese newspaper outlet Yomiuri Shimbun conducted an interview with him.[52] He provided an account of Japanese atrocities committed against the Chinese, and verified that he had denounced the aggression in a speech addressed to Japanese soldiers in China during World War II.[53] He discovered that military officers utilized Chinese prisoners of war for bayonet drills to bolster the resolve of Japanese soldiers.[54] Additionally, he noted that POWs were asphyxiated and shot in large numbers while being restrained to posts.[55] He emphasized that killing POWs in a gruesome manner constitutes a massacre, affirming without doubt that Japanese soldiers indeed committed such atrocious acts.[56]

According to Werner Gruhl, approximately eight million Chinese civilian deaths were attributable directly to Japanese aggression.[11]

According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate among prisoners of war from Asian countries held by Japan was 27.1%.[57] The death rate of Chinese prisoners of war were much higher because—under a directive ratified on 5 August 1937, by Emperor Hirohito—the constraints of international law on treatment of those prisoners was removed.[58] Only 56 Chinese prisoners of war were released after the surrender of Japan.[57][59] After 20 March 1943, officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy ordered and encouraged the Navy to execute all prisoners taken at sea.

According to British historian Mark Felton, "officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy ordered the deliberately sadistic murders of more than 20,000 Allied seamen and countless civilians in cold-blooded defiance of the Geneva Convention." At least 12,500 British sailors and 7,500 Australians were murdered. The Japanese Navy sank Allied merchant and Red Cross vessels, then murdered the survivors floating in the sea or in lifeboats. During Naval landing parties, the Japanese Navy rounded up, raped, then massacred civilians. Some of the victims were fed to sharks, others were killed by sledge-hammer, bayonet, crucifixion, drowning, hanging and beheading.[60][61]

Attacks on neutral powers

Main article: Attack on Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona burning during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Convention III – The Opening of Hostilities prohibited the initiation of hostilities against neutral powers "without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of a reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war" and Article 2 further stated that "[t]he existence of a state of war must be notified to the neutral Powers without delay, and shall not take effect in regard to them until after the receipt of a notification, which may, however, be given by telegraph." Japanese diplomats intended to deliver the notice to the United States thirty minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on 7 December 1941, but it was delivered to the U.S. government an hour after the attack was over. Tokyo transmitted the 5,000-word notification (commonly called the "14-Part Message") in two blocks to the Japanese Embassy in Washington, but transcribing the message took too long for the Japanese ambassador to deliver it in time.[62]

The 14-Part Message was not moreover a declaration of war, but was instead about sending a message to U.S. officials that peace negotiations between Japan and the U.S. were likely to be terminated. Japanese officials were well aware that the 14-Part Message was not a proper declaration of war as required by the 1907 Hague Convention III – The Opening of Hostilities. They decided not to issue a proper declaration of war anyway as they feared that doing so would expose their secret attack on Pearl Harbor to the Americans.[63][64]

Some historical negationists and conspiracy theorists charge that President Franklin D. Roosevelt willingly allowed the attack to happen to create a pretext for war, but no credible evidence exists to support the claim.[65][66][67] The diary of Henry L. Stimson, Roosevelt's Secretary of War, showed that Roosevelt believed in late November 1941 that a Japanese attack on British or Dutch soil was "likely," but was "confident that the Japanese would not dare to start hostilities against the United States."[68] The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan declared war on the U.S. and the U.S. likewise declared war on Japan.

Simultaneously with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 (Honolulu time), Japan invaded the British colony of Malaya and bombed Singapore, and began land actions in Hong Kong, without a declaration of war or an ultimatum. Both the United States and United Kingdom were neutral when Japan attacked their territories without explicit warning of a state of war.[69]

The U.S. officially classified all 3,649 military and civilian casualties and destruction of military property at Pearl Harbor as non-combatants as there was no state of war between the U.S. and Japan when the attack occurred.[70][failed verification][71][page range too broad][self-published source] Joseph B. Keenan, the chief prosecutor in the Tokyo Trials, says that the attack on Pearl Harbor not only happened without a declaration of war but was also a "treacherous and deceitful act". In fact, Japan and the U.S. were still negotiating for a possible peace agreement which kept U.S. officials distracted up to the point that Japanese planes launched their attack on Pearl Harbor. Keenan explained the definition of a war of aggression and the criminality of the attack on Pearl Harbor:

The concept of aggressive war may not be expressed with the precision of a scientific formula, or described like the objective data of the physical sciences. Aggressive War is not entirely a physical fact to be observed and defined like the operation of the laws of matter. It is rather an activity involving injustice between nations, rising to the level of criminality because of its disastrous effects upon the common good of international society. The injustice of a war of aggression is criminal of its extreme grosses, considered both from the point of view of the will of the aggressor to inflict injury and from the evil effects which ensue ... Unjust war are plainly crimes and not simply torts or breaches of contracts. The act comprises the willful, intentional, and unreasonable destruction of life, limb, and property, subject matter which has been regarded as criminal by the laws of all civilized peoples ... The Pearl Harbor attack breached the Kellogg–Briand Pact and the Hague Convention III. In addition, it violated Article 23 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, of October 1907 ... But the attack of Pearl Harbor did not alone result in murder and the slaughter of thousands of human beings. It did not eventuate only in the destruction of property. It was an outright act of undermining and destroying the hope of a world for peace. When a nation employs a deceit and treachery, using periods of negotiations and the negotiations themselves as a cloak to screen a perfidious attack, then there is a prime example of the crime of all crimes.[72][73]

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, was fully aware that if Japan lost the war, he would be tried as a war criminal for that attack; [citation needed] as it turned out, he was killed by the USAAF in Operation Vengeance in 1943. At the Tokyo Trials, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, Shigenori Tōgō, then Foreign Minister, Shigetarō Shimada, the Minister of the Navy, and Osami Nagano, Chief of Naval General Staff, were charged with crimes against peace (charges 1 to 36) and murder (charges 37 to 52) in connection with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Along with war crimes and crimes against humanity (charges 53 to 55), Tojo was among the seven Japanese leaders sentenced to death and executed by hanging in 1948, Shigenori Tōgō received a 20-year sentence, Shimada received a life sentence, and Nagano died of natural causes during the Trial in 1947.[64][74]

Over the years, many Japanese nationalists argued that the attack on Pearl Harbor was justified as an act of self-defense in response to the oil embargo imposed by the United States. Most historians and scholars agree that the oil embargo cannot be used as justification for using military force against a foreign nation imposing the embargo because there is a clear distinction between a perception of something being essential to the welfare of the nation-state and a threat sufficiently serious to warrant an act of force in response, which Japan had failed to consider. Japanese scholar and diplomat Takeo Iguchi states that it is "[h]ard to say from the perspective of international law that exercising the right of self-defense against economic pressures is considered valid." While Japan felt that its dreams of further expansion would be brought to a halt by the American embargo, this "need" cannot be considered proportional with the destruction suffered by the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, intended by Japanese military planners to be as devastating as possible.[64]

Mass killings

Japanese soldiers shooting blindfolded Sikh prisoners and then bayonetting them. Photos discovered after the liberation of Singapore.
Xuzhou, China, 1938. A mass grave filled with bodies of Chinese civilians, murdered by Japanese soldiers.[75]
Photo taken in Xuzhou, showing the body of a Chinese woman who was raped and killed by Japanese soldiers

The estimated number of people killed by Japanese troops varies. R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, estimates that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly three to over ten million people, most likely six million Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Malays, Indonesians, Filipinos and Indochinese, among others, including European, American and Australian prisoners of war. According to Rummel, "This democide [i.e., death by government] was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture."[76] According to Rummel, in China alone, from 1937 to 1945, approximately 3.9 million Chinese were killed, mostly civilians, as a direct result of the Japanese operations and a total of 10.2 million Chinese were killed in the course of the war.[77] According to the British historian M. R. D. Foot, civilian deaths were between 10 million and 20 million.[78] British historian Mark Felton claims that up to 30 million people were killed, most of them civilians.:[79]

The Japanese murdered 30 million civilians while "liberating" what it called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere from colonial rule. About 23 million of these were ethnic Chinese. It is a crime that in sheer numbers is far greater than the Nazi Holocaust. In Germany, Holocaust denial is a crime. In Japan, it is government policy. But the evidence against the navy – precious little of which you will find in Japan itself – is damning.[80][81][82]

One of the major atrocities committed during this period was the Nanjing Massacre of 1937–38, when, according to the findings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Japanese Army massacred as many as 260,000 civilians and prisoners of war, though some[who?] have placed the figure as high as 350,000.[83] The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders has the death figure of 300,000 inscribed on its entrance.[84]

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese followed what has been called a "killing policy", including killings committed against minorities such as Hui Muslims in China. According to Wan Lei, "In a Hui clustered village in Gaocheng county of Hebei, the Japanese captured twenty Hui men among whom they only set two younger men free through "redemption", and buried alive the other eighteen Hui men. In Mengcun village of Hebei, the Japanese killed more than 1,300 Hui people within three years of their occupation of that area." Mosques were also desecrated and destroyed by the Japanese, and Hui cemeteries were also destroyed. After the Nanjing Massacre, mosques in Nanjing were found filled with dead bodies.[85] Many Hui Muslims in the Second Sino-Japanese War fought against the Japanese military.[citation needed]

In addition, The Hui Muslim county of Dachang was subjected to massacres by the Japanese military.[86]

Another massacre during this period was the Parit Sulong massacre in Japanese-occupied Malaya, when, according to the findings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Imperial Japanese Army massacred approximately five hundred prisoners of war, although higher estimates exist.[citation needed] A similar crime committed was the Changjiao massacre in China. Back in Southeast Asia, the Laha massacre resulted in the deaths of 705 prisoners of war on Japanese-occupied Indonesia's Ambon Island, and in Japanese-occupied Singapore's Alexandra Hospital massacre, hundreds of wounded Allied soldiers, innocent citizens and medical staff were murdered by Japanese soldiers. [citation needed]

In Southeast Asia, the Manila massacre of February 1945 resulted in the death of 100,000 civilians in the Japanese-occupied Philippines. It is estimated that at least one out of every 20 Filipinos died at the hands of the Japanese during the occupation.[87][88] In Singapore during February and March 1942, the Sook Ching massacre was a systematic extermination of "anti-Japanese" elements among the Chinese population; however, Japanese soldiers did not try to identify who was "anti-Japanese". As a result, the Japanese soldiers engaged in indiscriminate killing.[89] Former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, who was almost a victim of the Sook Ching Massacre, has stated that there were between 50,000 and 90,000 casualties.[90] According to Lieutenant Colonel Hishakari Takafumi, a newspaper correspondent at the time, the plan was to ultimately kill about 50,000 Chinese, and 25,000 had already been murdered when the order was received to scale down the operation.[91]

There were other massacres of civilians, such as the Kalagon massacre. In wartime Southeast Asia, the Overseas Chinese and European diaspora were particular targets of Japanese abuse; in the former case, this was motivated by a Sinophobic resentment of the historic expanse and influence of Chinese culture, and in the latter, by a racist Pan-Asianism and a desire to show former colonial subjects the impotence of their former rulers.[92] The Japanese executed all the Malay Sultans on Kalimantan and wiped out the Malay elite in the Pontianak incidents. In the Jesselton Revolt, the Japanese killed thousands of native civilians during the Japanese occupation of British Borneo and nearly wiped out the entire Suluk Muslim population of the coastal islands. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, when a Moro Muslim juramentado swordsman launched a suicide attack against the Japanese, the Japanese would massacre the man's entire family or village.[citation needed]

50 Moros were vivisected by a Japanese unit, the 33rd coast guard squad in Zamboanga in Mindanao in which Akira Makino served in. Moro guerillas armed with spears were the main enemies of the Japanese in the area.[93][94][95]

Historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta reports that a "Three Alls Policy" (Sankō Sakusen) was implemented in China from 1942 to 1945 and was in itself responsible for the deaths of "more than 2.7 million" Chinese civilians.[96] This scorched earth strategy, sanctioned by Hirohito himself,[96][97] directed Japanese forces to "kill all, burn all, and loot all", which caused many massacres such as the Panjiayu massacre, where 1,230 Chinese people were killed. Additionally, captured Allied servicemen and civilians were massacred in various incidents, including the following:

Human experimentation and biological warfare

Main articles: Unit 731 and Japan and weapons of mass destruction § Bioweapons

A hypothermia experiment, using Chinese prisoners as subjects under surveillance by Japanese soldiers in 731
Shirō Ishii, commander of Unit 731

Special Japanese military units conducted experiments on civilians and POWs in China. The purpose of experimentation was to develop biological weapons that could be used for aggression. Biological agents and gasses developed from these experiments were used against the Chinese Army and civilian population.[11] These included Unit 731 under Shirō Ishii Victims were subjected to experiments including but not limited to vivisection, amputations without anesthesia, testing of biological weapons, horse blood transfusions, and injection of animal blood into their corpses.[100] Anesthesia was not used because it was believed that anesthetics would adversely affect the results of the experiments.[101]

To determine the treatment of frostbite, prisoners were taken outside in freezing weather and left with exposed arms, periodically drenched with water until frozen solid. The arm was later amputated; the doctor would repeat the process on the victim's upper arm to the shoulder. After both arms were gone, the doctors moved on to the legs until only a head and torso remained. The victim was then used for plague and pathogens experiments.[102]

A former unit 731 member testified:

As soon as the symptoms were observed, the prisoner was taken from the cell and into the dissection room...he was strapped down, still screaming frightfully. One of the doctors stuffed a towel into his mouth, then with one quick slice of the scalpel he was opened up." Witnesses at vivisections report that the victim usually lets out a horrible scream when the cut is made, and the voice stops soon after.[103]

Furthermore, according to the 2002 International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare, the number of people killed by the Imperial Japanese Army germ warfare and human experiments is around 580,000.[104] Top officers of Unit 731 were not prosecuted for war crimes after the war, in exchange for turning over the results of their research to the Allies. They were also reportedly given responsible positions in Japan's pharmaceutical industry, medical schools and health ministry.[105][106]

While Unit 731 is the most infamous facility, scholars have shown that Japanese biological and chemical warfare units stationed in Beijing (Unit 1855), Nanjing (Unit 1644) and Canton (Unit 1688) also experimented on human subjects.[107]

Unit 731 members spraying a noxious substance onto a victim as part of their research

One case of human experimentation occurred in Japan itself. At least nine of 11 members of Lt. Marvin Watkins' 29th Bomb Group crew (of the 6th Bomb Squadron) survived the crash of their U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 bomber on Kyūshū, on 5 May 1945.[108] The bomber's commander was separated from his crew and sent to Tokyo for interrogation, while the other survivors were taken to the anatomy department of Kyushu University, at Fukuoka, where they were subjected to vivisection or killed.[109][110]

In 1939, Unit 731 launched 100 periodic biological attacks on military and civilian targets. Attacks include contaminating wells with intestinal pathogens, distribution of microbe-laced foods, air drops of plague inflected fleas, and aerial spray of contaminants.[111] Although the effectiveness of the biological attacks is hard to assess, civilian casualties are estimated to be high, with several hundred thousand killed.[112]

Some Japanese physicians killed their victims with potassium cyanide before dissecting them, while others used chloroform. Yoshio Onodera, who conducted human experiments within Unit 1644, testified that his group conducted experiments on roughly 100-150 people. They would then murder their victims by injecting them with chloroform.[113]

On 11 March 1948, 30 people, including several doctors and one female nurse, were brought to trial by American military tribunal. Fukujiro Ishiyama, the doctor most responsible for the experimentation, killed himself before the trial started. Charges of cannibalism were dropped, but 23 people were found guilty of vivisection or wrongful removal of body parts. Five were sentenced to death, four to life imprisonment, and the rest to shorter terms. In 1950, the military governor of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur, commuted all of the death sentences and significantly reduced most of the prison terms. All of those involved in relation to the university vivisection, with the exception of Isamu Yokoyama, the general most responsible for allowing the experimentation to happen, walked free no later than 1958. Yokoyama died in prison in 1952. In 1980, an author found that one of the doctors who was supposed to be executed was still alive and practicing medicine.[114][115]

In China, the Japanese waged ruthless biological warfare against Chinese civilians and soldiers. Japanese aviators sprayed fleas carrying plague germs over metropolitan areas, creating bubonic plague epidemics.[116][117] Japanese soldiers used flasks of diseases-causing microbes, which included cholera, dysentery, typhoid, anthrax and paratyphoid, to contaminate rivers, wells, reservoirs and houses; mixed food with deadly bacteria to infect hungry Chinese civilians; and even passed out chocolate filled with anthrax bacteria to the local children.[118]

During the final months of World War II, Japan had planned to use plague as a biological weapon against U.S. civilians in San Diego, California, during Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night, hoping that the plague would spread terror to the American population, and thereby dissuade America from attacking Japan. The plan was set to launch at night on 22 September 1945, but Japan surrendered five weeks earlier.[119][120][121]

In July 1989, a mass grave of more than one hundred skeletons was unearthed at a construction site in Tokyo, which was the former location of the Army Medical College from 1929 to 1945. Investigators determined that the bones belonged to various ethnic Asian groups of foreign origin, as indicated by the skulls.[122] Investigators also discovered skulls that were marked with scalpels, cut by a sword, or pierced by bullets from a pistol.[122] From these findings, it's inferred that Japanese military physicians conducted experiments on the brains of individuals on the battlefield, and that the evidence was subsequently disposed of and buried at that location.[122]

In 2006, former IJN medical officer Akira Makino stated that he was ordered—as part of his training—to carry out vivisection on about 30 civilian prisoners in the Philippines between December 1944 and February 1945.[123] The surgery included amputations.[124] Most of Makino's victims were Moro Muslims.[125][126][127][128][129] Ken Yuasa, a former military doctor in China, has also admitted to similar incidents in which he was aggressively performing live vivisections on live Chinese victims, blaming the nationalistic indoctrination of his schooling for his conduct and lack of remorse.[130] Yuasa admitted to killing Chinese captives while training others in surgery.[131] He further added that in order to quickly train military physicians for the battlefield, physicians would gather every few months to perform "surgery drills" in China.[131] Surgery drills involved capturing local citizens, shooting them in the thigh with a bullet, and monitoring the amount of time it would take to extract the bullet.[131] The drills were widespread in China, with most instances involving the abduction of local citizens by the military and their subsequent delivery to the Army's medical division.[131]

The Imperial House of Japan was responsible for the human experimentation programs, as members of the imperial family, including Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko, Prince Chichibu, Prince Mikasa and Prince Takeda Tsuneyoshi, participated in the programs in various ways, which included authorizing, funding, supplying, and inspecting biomedical facilities.[132][133]

Use of chemical weapons

See also: Changde chemical weapon attack and Japan and weapons of mass destruction § Chemical weapons

Throughout the war with China from 1937 to 1945, Japan deployed chemical weapons, including poisonous and irritating gases, against both Chinese military personnel and civilians. This action was denounced by the League of Nations in May 1938.[134]

According to Walter E. Grunden, history professor at Bowling Green State University, the Japanese incorporated gas warfare into many aspects of their army's combat missions in China because they concluded that Chinese forces were unable to retaliate in kind. Their utilization of gas warfare involved deploying specialized gas troops, as well as infantry, artillery, engineers, and air force units.[135] He further added that "from 1937 to 1945, the military services of Japan used chemical weapons on over 2000 occasions, primarily in the China Theater of Operations."[135]

The Narashino Military Academy near Tokyo had assembled a compilation of fifty-six case studies detailing the use of chemical weapons by Japan in China during World War II. This collection included information on lethal agents like Yperite, commonly known as mustard gas.[136] The document was discovered at the National Archives and Records Administration by a Japanese historian.[137]

According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Kentaro Awaya, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, gas weapons, such as tear gas, were sporadically used in 1937, but in early 1938, the Imperial Japanese Army resorted to the full-scale use of phosgene, chlorine, Lewisite and nausea gas (red), and from mid-1939, mustard gas (yellow) was used against both Kuomintang and Communist Chinese troops.[138][139]

In 2004, Yoshimi and Yuki Tanaka discovered documents in the Australian National Archives which state that cyanide gas was tested on Australian and Dutch prisoners in November 1944 on Kai Islands (Indonesia).[140]

According to Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Emperor Hirohito signed orders which specified the use of chemical weapons in China.[141] For example, during the Battle of Wuhan from August to October 1938, the Emperor authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions, despite the 1899 Hague Declaration IV, 2 – Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases[142] and Article 23 (a) of the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land.[27][143] A resolution adopted by the League of Nations on 14 May condemned the use of poison gas by Japan.

According to Prince Mikasa, a member of the imperial family of Japan, he watched an army film that showed Japanese troops gassing Chinese prisoners who were tied to stakes.[144]

Another incident of chemical warfare occurred during the Battle of Yichang in October 1941, during which the 19th Artillery Regiment helped the 13th Brigade of the IJA 11th Army by launching 1,000 yellow gas shells and 1,500 red gas shells at the Chinese National Revolutionary Army. The area was crowded with Chinese civilians unable to evacuate. Some 3,000 Chinese soldiers were in the area and 1,600 were affected. The Japanese report stated that "the effect of gas seems considerable".[145]

In 2004, Yoshimi Yoshiaki published the most comprehensive study of Japan's military use of poisonous gases in China and Southeast Asia. Yoshimi discovered a battle report by a Japanese Infantry Brigade that detailed its use of mustard gas in a major operation against the Communist-led Eighth Route Army in Shanxi Province in the winter of 1942. The unit which carried out the operation noted the severity of the mustard gas attack, and it also commented about the anti-Japanese sentiment which existed among the members of the civilian population who were affected by the mustard gas.[146]

Torture of prisoners of war

See also: Bamboo torture and Effectiveness of torture for interrogation

A burial detail of American and Filipino POWs killed during the Bataan Death March, 1942

Japanese imperial forces employed widespread use of torture on prisoners of war, usually in an effort to gather military intelligence quickly.[147] Tortured POWs were often later executed. A former Japanese Army officer who served in China, Uno Shintaro, stated:

The major means of getting intelligence was to extract information by interrogating prisoners. Torture was an unavoidable necessity. Murdering and burying them follows naturally. You do it so you won't be found out. I believed and acted this way because I was convinced of what I was doing. We carried out our duty as instructed by our masters. We did it for the sake of our country. From our filial obligation to our ancestors. On the battlefield, we never really considered the Chinese humans. When you're winning, the losers look really miserable. We concluded that the Yamato [Japanese] race was superior.[148]

After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II, the Japanese secret police tortured a captured American P-51 fighter pilot named Marcus McDilda to discover how many atomic bombs the Allies had and what the future targets were. McDilda, who had originally told his captors he knew nothing about the atomic bomb (and who indeed knew nothing about nuclear fission), "confessed" under further torture that the US had 100 atomic bombs and that Tokyo and Kyoto were the next targets:

As you know, when atoms are split, there are a lot of pluses and minuses released. Well, we've taken these and put them in a huge container and separated them from each other with a lead shield. When the box is dropped out of a plane, we melt the lead shield and the pluses and minuses come together. When that happens, it causes a tremendous bolt of lightning and all the atmosphere over a city is pushed back! Then when the atmosphere rolls back, it brings about a tremendous thunderclap, which knocks down everything beneath it.

— Marcus McDilda, [149]

According to many historians, one of the favorite techniques of Japanese torturers was "simulated drowning", in which water was poured over the immobilized victim's head, until they suffocated and lost consciousness. They were then resuscitated brutally (usually with the torturer jumping on their abdomen to expel the water) and then subjected to a new session of torture. The entire process could be repeated for about twenty minutes.[a]

Execution and killing of captured Allied airmen

A blindfolded Doolittle Raider taken captive in 1942

Many Allied airmen captured by the Japanese on land or at sea were executed in accordance with official Japanese policy. During the Battle of Midway in June 1942, three American airmen who were shot down and landed at sea were spotted and captured by Imperial Japanese Navy warships. After being tortured, machinist mate first class Bruno Gaido and his pilot Ensign Frank O'Flaherty, were tied to five-gallon kerosene cans filled with water and dumped overboard from the Japanese destroyer Makigumo;[153] a third airman, Ensign Wesley Osmus, was fatally wounded with an axe before being pushed into the sea from the stern of the Arashi.[154][155]

On 13 August 1942, Japan passed the Enemy Airmen's Act, which stated that Allied pilots who bombed non-military targets in the Pacific Theater and were captured by Japanese forces were subject to trial and punishment, despite the absence of any international law containing provisions regarding aerial warfare.[156] This legislation was passed in response to the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, in which American B-25 bombers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle bombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities. According to the Hague Convention of 1907 (the only convention Japan had ratified regarding the treatment of prisoners of war), any military personnel captured on land or at sea by enemy troops were to be treated as prisoners of war and not punished for simply being lawful combatants. Eight Doolittle Raiders captured upon landing in China (four months before the passage of the Act) were the first Allied aircrew to be brought before a kangaroo court in Shanghai under the act, charged with alleged (but unproven) strafing of Japanese civilians during the Doolittle Raid. The eight aircrew were forbidden to present any defense and, despite the lack of legitimate evidence, were found guilty of participating in aerial military operations against Japan. Five of the eight sentences were commuted to life imprisonment; the other three airmen were taken to a cemetery outside Shanghai, where they were executed by firing squad on 14 October 1942.[157][158]

The Enemy Airmen's Act contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Allied airmen throughout the Pacific War. An estimated 132 Allied airmen shot down during the bombing campaign against Japan in 1944–1945 were summarily executed after short kangaroo trials or drumhead courts-martial. Imperial Japanese military personnel deliberately killed 33 American airmen at Fukuoka, including fifteen who were beheaded shortly after the Japanese Government's intention to surrender was announced on 15 August 1945.[159][full citation needed] Mobs of civilians also killed several Allied airmen before the Japanese military arrived to take the airmen into custody.[160] Another 94 airmen died from other causes while in Japanese custody, including 52 who were killed when they were deliberately abandoned in a prison during the bombing of Tokyo on 24–25 May 1945.[161][162]

Execution and killing of captured Allied seamen

Using Allied nationals as human shields

The prohibition of using enemy nationals as human shields is based on Article 23 under Section II of the 1907 Fourth Hague Convention, which states: "A belligerent is […] forbidden to compel the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country".[177] A World War I-era 1915 Belgian report stated "[i]f it be not permissible to compel a man to fire on his fellow citizens, neither can he be forced to protect the enemy and to serve as a living screen."[178]

The application is limited to only enemy nationals and it does not apply to the same persons exposed to dangers from aerial and naval attack since the Fourth Hague Convention only governs land warfare. The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits parties to the international conflict from using protected persons regardless of nationality as human shields against any type of enemy attacks,[179] closing the gaps mentioned in the preceding sentence.[180]

Battle of Manila (1945)

During the Battle of Manila in 1945, Japanese forces used Filipino civilians as human shields to protect their positions against the liberating American troops.[181] Author Damien Lewis wrote "The Japanese defenders had taken thousand of Filipinos–men, females and children alike–hostage, and were holding them as human shields. Many died in the bombardment and subsequent battles that followed, as the walled city was cleared in bitter street-to-street fighting."[182] Alec Wahlman wrote:[183]

Unlike US forces, the Japanese in Manila did not allow the presence of the civilian population to interfere with their operations. In fact, they actively used the population as both shields and targets . . . On one occasion, an American forward observer spotted some Japanese moving supplies, while twenty Filipinos were held at gunpoint nearby, including a Filipino girl tied naked to a tree, to avoid drawing American artillery fire.

An American WWII veteran who fought in the 1945 Battle of Manila stated "the Japanese would use Philippine civilians as human shields when they were trying to get away. The Japs would grab them and drag them in front of them. We couldn't shoot at the Japanese when they had the civilians in front of them."[184] When American forces reached Intramuros, they realized 4,000 Filipino civilians were held hostage within the wall, most of whom were rounded up by the Japanese and used as human shields. U.S. commanders demanded the Japanese soldiers to surrender or release the hostages but were met in response with silence. American artillery and infantry assaults on the wall began as a result, killing over 1,000 Japanese and taking 25 prisoners, but the ensuing fight with the Japanese defenders also caused considerable and collateral damage along the way.[185][186]

The American assault on Intramuros weakened Japanese defenses, and the Japanese decided to release 3,000 hostages, most of them females and children, because most of the men under Japanese captivity were murdered. At the end, the use of human shields along with the Manila massacre by the Japanese resulted in the deaths of 100,000 civilians in the battle.[185]

Cannibalism

Many written reports and testimonies which were collected by the Australian War Crimes Section of the Tokyo tribunal, and investigated by prosecutor William Webb (the tribunal's future Judge-in-Chief), indicate that Japanese personnel committed acts of cannibalism against Allied prisoners of war in many parts of Asia and the Pacific. In many cases, these acts of cannibalism were inspired by ever-increasing Allied attacks on Japanese supply lines, and the death and illness of Japanese personnel which resulted from hunger. According to historian Yuki Tanaka: "cannibalism was often a systematic activity which was conducted by whole squads which were under the command of officers".[187] This frequently involved murder for the purpose of securing bodies. For example, an Indian POW, Havildar Changdi Ram, testified that "[on November 12, 1944] the Kempeitai beheaded [an Allied] pilot. I saw this from behind a tree and watched some of the Japanese cut flesh from his arms, legs, hips, buttocks and carry it off to their quarters ... They cut it [into] small pieces and fried it."[188][189]

In some cases, flesh was cut from living people: another Indian POW, Lance Naik Hatam Ali (later a citizen of Pakistan), testified in New Guinea and stated:

... the Japanese started selecting prisoners and every day one prisoner was taken out and killed and eaten by the soldiers. I personally saw this happen and about 100 prisoners were eaten at this place by the Japanese. The remainder of us were taken to another spot 50 miles [80 km] away where 10 prisoners died of sickness. At this place, the Japanese again started selecting prisoners to eat. Those selected were taken to a hut where their flesh was cut from their bodies while they were alive and they were thrown into a ditch where they later died.[190]

According to another account by Jemadar Abdul Latif of 4/9 Jat Regiment of the Indian Army who was rescued by the Australian Army at the Sepik Bay in 1945:

At the village of Suaid, a Japanese medical officer periodically visited the Indian compound and selected each time the healthiest men. These men were taken away ostensibly for carrying out duties, but they never reappeared.[191]

Perhaps the most senior officer convicted of cannibalism was Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana (立花芳夫,Tachibana Yoshio), who with 11 other Japanese personnel was tried in August 1946 in relation to the execution of U.S. Navy airmen, and the cannibalism of at least one of them, during August 1944, on Chichi Jima, in the Bonin Islands. The airmen were beheaded on Tachibana's orders. Because military and international law did not specifically deal with cannibalism, they were tried for murder and "prevention of honorable burial". Tachibana was sentenced to death, and hanged.[192]

Avoidable hunger

Australian and Dutch prisoners of war at Tarsau in Thailand, 1943

Deaths caused by the diversion of resources to Japanese troops in occupied countries were also considered war crimes,[193][194] because Article 52 under Section III of the 1907 Fourth Hague Convention states that "Requisitions in kind and services ... shall be in proportion to the resources of the country".[195] Millions of civilians in Southeast Asia – especially in Vietnam and Dutch East Indies, which were major producers of rice – died during the avoidable hunger in 1944–45.[196]

In the Vietnamese Famine of 1945 one to two million Vietnamese starved to death in the Red River delta of northern Vietnam due to the Japanese, as the Japanese seized Vietnamese rice without paying for it. In Phat Diem the Vietnamese farmer Di Ho was one of the few survivors who saw the Japanese steal grain.[197] The North Vietnamese government accused both France and Japan of the famine and said 1–2 million Vietnamese died.[198][199] Võ An Ninh took photographs of dead and dying Vietnamese during the great famine.[200][201][202] Starving Vietnamese were dying throughout northern Vietnam in 1945 due to the Japanese seizure of their crops. By the time the Chinese came to disarm the Japanese forces, Vietnamese corpses were on the streets of Hanoi and had to be cleaned up by students.[203]

Forced labor

Main article: Slavery in Japan

Japanese soldiers escorting Chinese forced-labour farm workers, 1937

The Japanese military's use of forced labor, by Asian civilians and POWs, also caused many deaths. According to a joint study by historians including Zhifen Ju, Mitsuyoshi Himeta, Toru Kubo and Mark Peattie, more than 10 million Chinese civilians were mobilised by the Kōa-in (Japanese Asia Development Board) to perform forced labour.[204] More than 100,000 civilians and POWs died in the construction of the Burma-Siam Railway.[205]

The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java the Japanese military forced between four and ten million romusha (Japanese: "manual laborers") to work.[206] About 270 000 of these Javanese laborers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in Southeast Asia, but only 52 000 were repatriated to Java, likely indicating an eighty percent death rate.

According to historian Akira Fujiwara, Emperor Hirohito personally ratified the decision to remove the constraints of international law (The Hague Conventions) on the treatment of Chinese prisoners of war in the directive of 5 August 1937. This notification also advised staff officers to stop using the term "prisoners of war".[207] The Geneva Convention exempted POWs of sergeant rank or higher from manual labour, and stipulated that prisoners performing work should be provided with extra rations and other essentials. Japan was not a signatory to the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Prisoners of War at the time, and Japanese forces did not follow the convention, although they ratified the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Sick And Wounded.[24][208]

Shortly after the war, Japan's Foreign Ministry wrote a comprehensive report about Chinese laborers. The report estimated that of some 40,000 Chinese laborers taken to Japan, nearly 7,000 had died by the end of the war. The Japanese burned all copies except for one for the fear of that it might become incriminating evidence at the war crimes trials.[209] In 1958, a Chinese man was discovered hiding in the mountains of Hokkaido. The man did not know that the war was over, and he was one of thousands of laborers who were taken to Japan. This specific event brought attention to Japan's use of forced Asian labor during the war.[210]

Korean men and women were the largest group forced into labor in wartime Japan, and many were not able to return to Korea afterwards.[209]

Rape

See also: Comfort women

The expressions ianfu (慰安婦, "comfort women") or jūgun ianfu (従軍慰安婦, "women of military comfort") are euphemisms for women used in military brothels in occupied countries, many of whom were forcefully recruited or recruited through fraud, and who are considered victims of sexual assault and/or sexual slavery.[211][212]

In addition to the systematic use of comfort women, Japanese troops engaged in wholesale rape in Nanjing, China. John Rabe, the leader of a Safety Zone in Nanjing, China, kept a diary during the Nanjing Massacre, and wrote about the Japanese atrocities committed against the people in the Safety Zone.[213]

Japanese soldiers committed mass rapes in Manila massacre in the Philippines. Japanese soldiers in Bayview Hotel, Manila, raped hundreds of Italian, Russian, Spanish, British, American and Filipino women.[214]

In 1992, historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi published material based on his research in archives at Japan's National Institute for Defense Studies. Yoshimi claimed that there was a direct link between imperial institutions such as the Kōain and "comfort stations". When Yoshimi's findings were published in the Japanese news media on 12 January 1993, they caused a sensation and forced the government, represented by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi, to acknowledge some of the facts that same day. On 17 January, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa presented formal apologies for the suffering of the victims, during a trip in South Korea. On 6 July and 4 August, the Japanese government issued two statements by which it recognised that "Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military of the day", "The Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women", and that the women were "recruited in many cases against their own will through coaxing and coercion".[215]

Japanese veteran Yasuji Kaneko admitted to The Washington Post that the women "cried out, but it didn't matter to us whether the women lived or died. We were the emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance."[19]

The Bahay na Pula in the Philippines was an example of a military-operated garrison where local women were raped.[216]

On 17 April 2007, Yoshimi and another historian, Hirofumi Hayashi, announced the discovery, in the archives of the Tokyo Trials, of seven official documents suggesting that Imperial military forces, such as the Tokkeitai (naval secret police), directly coerced women to work in frontline brothels in China, Indochina and Indonesia. These documents were initially made public at the war crimes trial. In one of these, a lieutenant is quoted as confessing having organized a brothel and having used it himself. Another source refers to Tokkeitai members having arrested women on the streets, and after enforced medical examinations, putting them in brothels.[217]

On 12 May 2007, journalist Taichiro Kaijimura announced the discovery of 30 Dutch government documents submitted to the Tokyo tribunal as evidence of a forced massed prostitution incident in 1944 in Magelang.[218]

In other cases, some victims from East Timor testified they were dragged from their homes and forced into prostitution at military brothels even when they were not old enough to have started menstruating and were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers "night after night".[219]

A Dutch-Indonesian comfort woman, Jan Ruff O'Herne (who later lived in Australia until her death), who gave evidence to the U.S. committee, said the Japanese Government had failed to take responsibility for its crimes, that it did not want to pay compensation to victims, and that it wanted to rewrite history. Ruff O'Herne said that she had been raped "day and night" for three months by Japanese soldiers when she was 21.[220]

On 26 June 2007, the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution asking that Japan "should acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its military's coercion of women into sexual slavery during the war".[221] On 30 July 2007, the House of Representatives passed the resolution. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said this decision was "regrettable".[221]

Scholars have stated that there were as many as 200,000 comfort women, mostly from Korea,[222] and some other countries such as China, Philippines, Burma, the Dutch East Indies,[223][224][225][226][227][228][excessive citations] Netherlands,[229] and Australia[230] were forced to engage in sexual activity.[231][232][233][234][excessive citations]

Japanese use of Malays, Javanese[235] Thai, Burmese, Filipino and Vietnamese women as comfort women was corroborated by testimonies. As a result of the rape, many women were infected with sexually transmitted diseases.[236][237][238][239][240][excessive citations] There were comfort women stations in Malaya, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Korea.[241][242]

After the defeat of Japan, some of the non-European victims received no compensation or apology[243] and the exploitation of them was ignored.[244][245][246]

As the Dutch implemented a war of attrition and scorch earth, they forced Chinese on Java to flee inland, and the Dutch destroyed all important assets, including Chinese factories and property. Local Indonesians joined in on the Dutch violence against the Chinese, looting Chinese property and trying to attack Chinese citizens. However, when the Japanese troops landed and seized control of Java from the Dutch, to people's surprise, the Japanese forced the native Indonesians to stop looting and attacking Chinese and warned the Indonesians they would not tolerate anti-Chinese violence in Java. The Japanese viewed the Chinese in Java and their economic power specifically as important and vital to the Japanese war effort, so they did not physically harm the Chinese of Java, and no known execution or torture of Chinese citizens took place (unlike in other places). There was no violent confrontation between Japanese and Chinese on Java, unlike in British Malaya. The Japanese also allowed Chinese of Java in the Federation of Overseas-Chinese Associations (Hua Chiao Tsung Hui) to form the Keibotai, their own armed Chinese defence corps for protection with Japanese military instructors training them how to shoot and use spears. The Chinese viewed this as important to defending themselves from local Indonesians. The majority of Chinese of Java did not die in the war. It was only after the war ended when Japanese control fell and then the native Indonesians again started attacks against the Chinese of Java when the Japanese were unable to protect them.[247]

In Java, the Japanese heavily recruited Javanese girls as comfort women and brought them to New Guinea, Malaya, Thailand and other areas foreign to Indonesia besides using them in Java itself. The Japanese brought Javanese women as comfort women to Buru island, and Kalimantan. The Japanese recruited help from local collaborator police of all ethnicities to recruit Javanese girls, with one account accusing Chinese recruiters of tricking a Javanese regent into sending good Javanese girls into prostitution for the Japanese in May 1942. The Japanese also lied to the Javanese telling them that their girls would become waitresses and actresses when recruiting them.[248] The Japanese brought Javanese women as comfort women prostitutes to Kupang in Timor while in East Timor the Japanese took local women in Dili. In Bali, the Japanese sexually harassed Balinese women when they came and started forcing Balinese women into brothels for prostitution, with Balinese men and Chinese men used as recruiters for the Balinese women. All of the brothels in Bali were staffed by Balinese women.[249] In brothels in Kalimantan, native Indonesian women made up 80% of the prostitutes.[250] Javanese girls and local girls were used in a Japanese brothel in Ambon in Batu Gantung. European Dutch women were overrepresented in documents on Dutch East Indies comfort women which did not reflect the actual reality because the Dutch did not care about native Indonesian women being victimised by Japan, refusing to prosecute cases against them since Indonesia was not a UN member at the time.[251] Javanese comfort women who were taken by Japanese to islands outside Java were treated differently depending on whether they stayed on those islands or returned to Java. Since Javanese society was sexually permissive and they kept it secret from other Javanese, the Javanese women who returned to Java fared better, but the Javanese women who stayed on the islands like Buru were treated harsher by their hosts since they locals in Buru were more patriarchal.[252] The Japanese murdered Christians and forced girls into prostitution in Timor and Sumba, desecrating sacred vessels and vestments in churches and using the churches as brothels. Javanese girls were brought as prostitutes by the Japanese to Flores and Buru.[253] Eurasians, Indians, Chinese, Dutch, Menadonese, Bataks, Bugis, Dayaks, Javanese, Arabs and Malays were arrested and massacred in the Mandor affair.[254]

The Japanese brought Indonesian Javanese girls to British Borneo as comfort women to be raped by Japanese officers at the Ridge road school and Basel Mission Church, and the Telecommunication Center Station (former rectory of the All Saints Church) in Kota Kinabalu as well as ones in Balikpapan and Beaufort. Japanese soldiers raped Indonesian women and Dutch women in the Netherlands East Indies. Many of the women were infected with STDs as a result.[255][256] Sukarno prostituted Indonesian girls from ethnic groups like Minangkabau to the Japanese.[257][258][259][260][261] The Japanese destroyed many documents related to their rape of Indonesian Javanese girls at the end of the war so the true extent of the mass rape is uncountable, but testimony witnesses records the names and accounts of Indonesian Javanese comfort women.[262]

Japanese in one instance tried to disguise the Javanese comfort girls they were raping as red cross nurses with red cross armbands when they surrendered to Australian soldiers in Kupang, Timor.[263][264][265][266][267][268]

In addition to disguising the Java girls with Red Cross armbands some Dutch girls were also brought to Kupang and native girls from Kupang were also kidnapped by the Japanese while the native men were forced into hard labour.[269]

Indian and Javanese captives in Biak were freed from Japanese control by Allied forces.[270]

Only 70,000 Javanese survived out of 260,000 Javanese forced to labour on the death railway between Burma and Thailand.[271][272]

In August 1945, the Japanese were getting ready to execute female European internees by shooting in the Dutch East Indies and their plans were only stopped by the atomic bomb with the plans and list of detainees already written down.[273]

Francis Stanley (Frank) Terry, an Australian sailor on a naval vessel, participated in the repatriation of Indonesian Javanese comfort women from islands across Indonesia back to their home.[274][275][276]

The Dutch royal family and government seized the money from Japanese comfort women prostitution in the Dutch East Indies territory for itself instead of compensating the women.[277][278]

The Japanese forced Javanese women to work in brothels and Javanese men to become forced labour at airstrips in Labuan, Borneo. The Javanese men were worked to starvation, resembling skeletons, barely able to move and were sick with beri beri by the time they were freed in June 1945 by Australians.[279][280] The Japanese reserved a house as a brothel and officer's club on Fox Road in Labuan.[281]

On 28 August 1945, the British and Australians gave medical treatment to 300 Javanese and Malay men slaves of the Japanese who were malnourished and starving from forced labour.[282][283]

Many Indonesian comfort females were reluctant to talk about their experiences due to shame. A 10-year-old Indonesian girl named Niyem from Karamangmojo in Yogyakarta was repeatedly raped for two months by Japanese soldiers along with other Indonesian girls in West Java. She did not tell her parents what the Japanese did to her when she managed to flee.[284][285][286][287][288]

The Japanese killed four million Indonesians.[289] After the defeat of Japan, the Dutch generally did not care about Japanese rape of non-white, native Indonesian Muslim girls and most of the time they only charged Japanese war criminals for rape of white Dutch women.[290][291][292]

Suharto silenced public discussion in Indonesian on Japanese war crimes in Indonesia in order to stop anti-Japanese sentiment building up but it happened regardless when the movie Romusha came out in 1973 and the Peristiwa Malari (Malari affair) riots broke out in Indonesia in 1974 against Japan. Suharto also sought to silence discussion on Japanese war crimes due to Indonesia's own war crimes in East Timor after 1975, but Indonesians started talking about Indonesian comfort women in the 1990s following the example of Korea. Mardyiem, a Javanese Indonesian comfort woman talked about what happened to her after Indonesian comfort women were interviewed by Japanese lawyers, after decades of being forced to stay silent.[293]

Three major revolts happened against Japan by Indonesians in Java. Japanese forced Indonesians of West Java in Cirebon to hand over a massive quota of rice to the Japanese military with Japanese officers using brutality to extract even more than the official quota. The Indonesians in Cirebon rebelled twice and targeted Indonesian collaborator bureaucrats and Japanese officers in 1944. Japan killed a lot of Indonesian rebels while crushing them with deadly force. In Sukmana, Singapurna, the Tasikmalaya regency, the conservative religious teacher Kiai Zainal Mustafa told his followers that in the month when Muhammad was born they would gain divine protection when he gave a sign. In February 1943, Japanese Kempeitai caught wind of what was happening and came to the area but the roads were blocked to stop them. The Indonesian villagers and students began to fight the Japanese and seized the sabre of the Japanese chief to kill him. More Japanese arrived and 86 Japanese and 153 Indonesian villagers died in the fighting. The Japanese then arrested Zainal and 22 others for execution. Supriyadi lead a Peta mutiny against the Japanese in February 1945.[294]

Japanese raped Malay comfort women but UMNO leader Najib Razak blocked all attempts by other UMNO members like Mustapha Yakub at asking Japan for compensation and apologies.[295]

The threat of Japanese rape against Chitty girls led Chitty families to let Eurasians, Chinese and full blooded Indians to marry Chitty girls and stop practicing endogamy.[296]

Japanese soldiers gang raped Indian Tamil girls and women they forced to work on the Burma railway and made them dance naked.[297][298] 150,000 Tamils were killed on the railway by Japanese brutality.[299][300][301][302] Tamils who got sick from cholera were executed by the Japanese.[303] As Tamil women got raped by Japanese, the Japanese soldiers contracted venereal disease like soft sore, syphilis and gonorrhoea and Thai women also spread those diseases to coolies on the railroad.[304]

Looting and destruction of heritage

Several scholars have claimed that the Japanese government, along with Japanese military personnel, engaged in widespread looting during the period of 1895 to 1945.[305][306] The stolen property included private land, as well as many different kinds of valuable goods looted from banks, depositories, vaults, temples, churches, mosques, art galleries, commercial offices, libraries (including Buddhist monasteries), museums and other commercial premises, as well as private homes.[307]

In China, an eyewitness, journalist F. Tillman of The New York Times, sent an article to his newspaper where he described the Imperial Japanese Army's entry into Nanjing in December 1937: "The plunder carried out by the Japanese reached almost the entire city. Almost all buildings were entered by Japanese soldiers, often in the sight of their officers, and the men took whatever they wanted. Japanese soldiers often forced Chinese to carry the loot."[308][full citation needed]

In Korea, it is estimated that about 100,000 priceless artifacts and cultural goods were looted by Japanese colonial authorities and private collectors during the nearly fifty years of military occupation. The Administration claims that there are 41,109 cultural objects which are located in Japan but remain unreported by the Japanese authorities. Unlike the works of art looted by Nazis in Europe, the return of property to its rightful owners, or even the discussion of financial reparations in the post-war period, met with strong resistance from the American government, particularly General Douglas MacArthur.[309][full citation needed]

According to several historians, MacArthur's disagreement was not based on issues of rights, ethics or morals, but on political convenience. He spoke on the topic in a radio message to the U.S. Army in May 1948, the transcript of which was found by the magazine Time in the U.S. National Archives. In it, MacArthur states: "I am completely at odds with the minority view of replacing lost or destroyed cultural property as a result of military action and occupation". With the advent of the Cold War, the general feared "embittering the Japanese people towards us and making Japan vulnerable to ideological pressures and a fertile ground for subversive action".[309]

Kyoichi Arimitsu, one of the last living survivors of the Japanese archeological missions which operated on the Korean peninsula, which started early in the twentieth century, agrees that the plunder in the 1930s was out of control, but that researchers and academics, such as himself, had nothing to do with it. However, he recognizes that the excavated pieces which were deemed to be most historically significant were sent to the Japanese governor-general, who then decided what would be sent to Emperor Hirohito.[309]

In 1965, when Japan and South Korea negotiated a treaty to reestablish diplomatic relations the issue of returning the cultural artifacts was raised. However, the then South Korean dictator, Park Chung Hee, preferred to receive cash compensation that would allow him to build highways and steelworks; works of art and cultural goods were not a priority. As a result, at the time the Koreans had to settle for the return of only 1,326 items, including 852 rare books and 438 ceramic pieces. The Japanese claim that this put an end to any Korean claim regarding reparation for cultural goods (or of any other nature).[309][310] American journalist Brad Glosserman has stated that an increasing number of South Koreans are raising the issue of the repatriation of stolen cultural artifacts from Japan due to rising affluence among the general populace as well as increased national confidence.[310]

Hundreds of Utsul Muslim houses and mosques in Sanya, Hainan were destroyed by the Japanese in order to build an airport.[311]

Perfidy

Throughout the Pacific War, Japanese soldiers often feigned injury or surrender to lure approaching American forces before attacking them. An alleged example of this was the "Goettge Patrol" during the early days of the Guadalcanal Campaign in August 1942. After the patrol believed they saw a white flag displayed on the west bank of Matanikau River, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Frank Goettge assembled 25 men, primarily consisting of intelligence personnel, to search the area. Unknown to the patrol, the white flag was actually a Japanese flag with the Hinomaru disc insignia obscured. A Japanese prisoner was plied with alcohol and in his drunken state mistakenly revealed that there were a number of Japanese soldiers west of the Matanikau River who wanted to surrender.[312] The Goettge Patrol landed by boat west of the Lunga Point perimeter, between Point Cruz and the Matanikau River, on a reconnaissance mission to contact a group of Japanese troops that American forces thought was willing to surrender. The Japanese soldiers were not in fact about to surrender and soon after the patrol landed the group of Japanese naval troops ambushed and almost completely wiped out the patrol. Goettge was among the dead. Only three Americans made it back to American lines in the Lunga Point perimeter alive.

News of the killing and supposed treachery by the Japanese outraged the American Marines:

This was the first mass killing of the Marines on Guadalcanal. We were shocked. Shocked ... because headquarters had believed anything a Jap had to say ... The loss of this patrol and the particularly cruel way in which they had met death, hardened our hearts toward the Japanese. The idea of taking prisoners was swept from our minds. It was too dangerous.[313]

Second Lieutenant D. A. Clark of the 7th Marines told a similar story while patrolling Guadalcanal:

I was on my first patrol here, and we were moving up a dry stream bed. We saw 3 Japs come down the river bed out of the jungle. The one in front was carrying a white flag. We thought they were surrendering. When they got up to us they dropped the white flag and then all 3 threw hand grenades. We killed 2 of these Japs, but 1 got away. Apparently they do not mind a sacrifice to get information.[312]

Samuel Eliot Morison, in his book, The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War, wrote:

There were innumerable incidents such as a wounded Japanese soldier at Guadalcanal seizing a scalpel and burying it in the back of a surgeon who was about to save his life by an operation; and a survivor of the Battle of Vella Lavella, rescued by [torpedo boat] PT-163, pulling a gun and killing a bluejacket [enlisted sailor] in the act of giving a Japanese sailor a cup of coffee.[314]

These incidents, along with many other perfidious actions of the Japanese throughout the Pacific War, led to an American tendency to shoot dead or wounded Japanese soldiers and those attempting to surrender and not readily take them as prisoners of war. Two Marines of Iwo Jima told cautionary tales. One confided:

They always told you take prisoners but we had some bad experiences on Saipan taking prisoners, you take them and then as soon as they get behind the lines they drop grenades and you lose a few more people. You get a little bit leery of taking prisoners when they are fighting to the death and so are you.

Another reported,

Very few of them came out on their own; when they did, why, usually one in the front he'd come out with his hands up and one behind him, he'd come out with a grenade.[315][316][317]

Attacks on hospital ships

Hospital ships are painted white with large red crosses to show they are not combat ships but vessels carrying wounded people and medical staff. Japan had signed the Hague Convention X of 1907 that stated attacking a hospital ship is a war crime.[318][319]

War crimes in Vietnam

The Viet Minh had begun fighting the Vichy French in 1944, then began attacking the Japanese in early 1945 after Japan replaced the French government on 9 March 1945.[332][333][full citation needed] After the Viet Minh rejected Japanese demands to cease fighting and support Japan, the Japanese implemented the Three Alls policy (San Kuang) against the Vietnamese, pillaging, burning, killing, torturing, and raping Vietnamese women.

Japanese officers ordered their soldiers to behead and burn Vietnamese. Some claimed that Taiwanese and Manchurian soldiers in the Japanese army were participating in atrocities against the Vietnamese.[citation needed]

The Japanese on occasion attacked Vietnamese while masquerading as Viet Minh. They also tried to play the Vietnamese against the French by spreading false rumours that the French were massacring Vietnamese at the time to distract the Vietnamese from Japanese atrocities. Similarly, they attempted to play the Laotians against the Vietnamese by inciting Lao people to kill Vietnamese, as Lao murdered seven Vietnamese officials in Luang Prabang and Lao youths were recruited to an anti-Vietnam organization by the Japanese when they took over Luang Prabang.[citation needed]

The Japanese also started openly looting the Vietnamese. In addition to taking French-owned properties Japanese soldiers stole watches, pencils, bicycles, money and clothing.

Vietnam was in the grip of a famine in 1945 caused in part by Japanese requisition of food without payment; the Japanese beheaded Vietnamese who stole bread and corn while they were starving.[334][335][full citation needed] The Vietnamese professor Văn Tạo and Japanese professor Furuta Moto both conducted a study in the field on the Japanese induced famine of 1945 admitting that Japan killed two million Vietnamese by starvation.

On 25 March 2000, the Vietnamese journalist Trần Khuê wrote an article "Dân chủ: Vấn đề của dân tộc và thời đại"(transl. Democracy: A problem of the nation and the times) in which he harshly criticized ethnographers and historians in Ho Chi Minh City's Institute of Social Sciences such as Dr. Đinh Văn Liên and Professor Mạc Đường for trying to whitewash Japan's atrocities against the Vietnamese by, among other things, changing the death toll of two million Vietnamese dead at the hands of the Japanese famine to one million, calling the Japanese invasion as a presence and calling Japanese fascists as simply Japanese at the Vietnam-Japan international conference.[336]

War crimes trials

General Tomoyuki Yamashita (2nd right) on trial in 1945 by a U.S. military commission for the Manila massacre and other violations in Singapore. He was sentenced to death. The case set a precedent (the "Yamashita Standard") on the responsibility of commanders for war crimes.

Soon after the war, the Allied powers indicted 25 persons as Class-A war criminals, and 5,700 persons were indicted as Class-B or Class-C war criminals by Allied criminal courts. Of these, 984 were initially condemned to death, 920 were actually executed, 475 received life sentences, 2,944 received prison terms, 1,018 were acquitted, and 279 were not sentenced or not brought to trial. These indicted war criminals included 178 ethnic Taiwanese and 148 ethnic Koreans people.[337] Class A criminals were all tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as "the Tokyo Trials". Other courts were held in numerous places across Asia and the Pacific.

Tokyo Trials

Main article: International Military Tribunal for the Far East

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East was formed to try accused people in Japan itself.

High-ranking officers who were tried included Kōichi Kido and Sadao Araki. Three former (unelected) prime ministers: Kōki Hirota, Hideki Tojo and Kuniaki Koiso were convicted of Class-A war crimes. Many military leaders were also convicted. Two people convicted as Class-A war criminals later served as ministers in post-war Japanese governments.

Hirohito and all members of the Imperial House of Japan implicated in the war such as Prince Chichibu, Prince Asaka, Prince Takeda and Prince Higashikuni were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by Douglas MacArthur, with the help of Bonner Fellers who allowed the major criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment.[338]

Some historians criticize this decision. According to John Dower, "with the full support of MacArthur's headquarters, the prosecution functioned, in effect, as a defense team for the emperor"[339] and even Japanese activists who endorse the ideals of the Nuremberg and Tokyo charters, and who have labored to document and publicize the atrocities of the Showa regime "cannot defend the American decision to exonerate the emperor of war responsibility and then, in the chill of the Cold War, release and soon afterwards openly embrace accused right-winged war criminals like the later prime minister Nobusuke Kishi."[340] For Herbert Bix, "MacArthur's truly extraordinary measures to save Hirohito from trial as a war criminal had a lasting and profoundly distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war."[341]

MacArthur's reasoning was that if the emperor were executed or sentenced to life imprisonment, there would be a violent backlash and revolution from the Japanese from all social classes, which would interfere with his primary goal to change Japan from a militarist, semi-feudal society to a pro-Western modern democracy. In a cable sent to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in February 1946, MacArthur said executing or imprisoning the emperor would require the use of one million occupation soldiers to keep the peace.[342]

Other trials

Main articles: Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, and Yokohama War Crimes Trials

Sergeant Hosotani Naoji of the Kempeitai unit at Sandakan (North Borneo), is interrogated on 26 October 1945, by Squadron Leader F.G. Birchall of the Royal Australian Air Force, and Sergeant Mamo (a Nisei interpreter). Naoji confessed to shooting two Australian POWs and five ethnic Chinese civilians.
In Singapore, a hooded Lieutenant Nakamura is led to the scaffold after being convicted of beheading an Indian soldier on the Palau Islands, March 1946.

Between 1946 and 1951, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, the Soviet Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the Philippines all held military tribunals to try Japanese indicted for Class B and Class C war crimes. Some 5,600 Japanese personnel were prosecuted in over 2,200 trials outside Japan. Class B defendants were accused of having committed such crimes themselves; class C defendants, mostly senior officers, were accused of planning, ordering or failing to prevent them.[citation needed]

The judges presiding came from the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, France, the Soviet Union, New Zealand, India and the Philippines. Additionally, the Chinese Communists also held a number of trials for Japanese personnel. More than 4,400 Japanese personnel were convicted and about 1,000 were sentenced to death.[citation needed]

The largest single trial was that of 93 Japanese personnel charged with the summary execution of more than 300 Allied POWs in the Laha massacre (1942). The most prominent ethnic Korean convicted was Lieutenant General Hong Sa Ik, who orchestrated the organisation of prisoner of war camps in Southeast Asia. In 2006, the South Korean government "pardoned" 83 of the 148 convicted Korean war criminals.[36] One hundred-sixty Taiwanese who had served in the forces of the Empire of Japan were convicted of war crimes; 11 were executed.[35]

Post-war events and reactions

The parole-for-war-criminals movement

In 1950, after most Allied war crimes trials had ended, thousands of convicted war criminals sat in prisons across Asia and across Europe, detained in the countries where they were convicted. Some executions were still outstanding as many Allied courts agreed to reexamine their verdicts, reducing sentences in some cases and instituting a system of parole, but without relinquishing control over the fate of the imprisoned (even after Japan had regained its status as a sovereign country).[citation needed]

An intense and broadly supported campaign for amnesty for all imprisoned war criminals ensued (more aggressively in Germany than in Japan at first), as attention turned away from the top wartime leaders and towards the majority of "ordinary" war criminals (Class B/C in Japan), and the issue of criminal responsibility was reframed as a humanitarian problem.

The British authorities lacked the resources and will to fully commit themselves to pursuing Japanese war criminals.[60]

On 7 March 1950, MacArthur issued a directive that reduced the sentences by one-third for good behavior and authorized the parole of those who had received life sentences after fifteen years. Several of those who were imprisoned were released earlier on parole due to ill-health.[citation needed]

The Japanese popular reaction to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal found expression in demands for the mitigation of the sentences of war criminals and agitation for parole. Shortly after the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in April 1952, a movement demanding the release of B- and C-class war criminals began, emphasizing the "unfairness of the war crimes tribunals" and the "misery and hardship of the families of war criminals". The movement quickly garnered the support of more than ten million Japanese. In the face of this surge of public opinion, the government commented that "public sentiment in our country is that the war criminals are not criminals. Rather, they gather great sympathy as victims of the war, and the number of people concerned about the war crimes tribunal system itself is steadily increasing."[citation needed]

The parole-for-war-criminals movement was driven by two groups: those from outside who had "a sense of pity" for the prisoners; and the war criminals themselves who called for their own release as part of an anti-war peace movement. The movement that arose out of "a sense of pity" demanded "just set them free (tonikaku shakuho o) regardless of how it is done".

On 4 September 1952, President Truman issued Executive Order 10393, establishing a Clemency and Parole Board for War Criminals to advise the President with respect to recommendations by the Government of Japan for clemency, reduction of sentence, or parole, with respect to sentences imposed on Japanese war criminals by military tribunals.[343]

On 26 May 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles rejected a proposed amnesty for the imprisoned war criminals but instead agreed to "change the ground rules" by reducing the period required for eligibility for parole from 15 years to 10.[344]

By the end of 1958, all Japanese war criminals, including A-, B- and C-class were released from prison and politically rehabilitated. Kingorō Hashimoto, Shunroku Hata, Jirō Minami and Oka Takazumi were all released on parole in 1954. Sadao Araki, Kiichirō Hiranuma, Naoki Hoshino, Okinori Kaya, Kōichi Kido, Hiroshi Ōshima, Shigetarō Shimada and Teiichi Suzuki were released on parole in 1955. Satō Kenryō, whom many, including Judge B.V.A. Röling regarded as one of the convicted war criminals least deserving of imprisonment, was not granted parole until March 1956, the last of the Class A Japanese war criminals to be released. On 7 April 1957, the Japanese government announced that, with the concurrence of a majority of the powers represented on the tribunal, the last ten major Japanese war criminals who had previously been paroled were granted clemency and were to be regarded henceforth as unconditionally free from the terms of their parole.[citation needed]

Official apologies

Further information: List of war apology statements issued by Japan

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Several Japanese government officials and former Japanese emperors have acknowledged Japanese war atrocities committed in China.[345] The Japanese government considers that the legal and moral positions in regard to war crimes are separate. Therefore, while maintaining that Japan violated no international law or treaties, Japanese governments have officially recognised the suffering which the Japanese military caused, and numerous apologies have been issued by the Japanese government. For example, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, in August 1995, stated that Japan "through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations", and he expressed his "feelings of deep remorse" and stated his "heartfelt apology". Also, on 29 September 1972, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka stated: "[t]he Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself."[346]

However, apologizes made by Japanese officials have been criticized as insincere.[347] For example, in the Kono Statement, while Japanese officials acknowledge the japanese military's involvement in the comfort women system, they denied the coercion and forced transportation of the woman and refused to offer compensation to the victims.[347]

The official apologies are widely viewed as inadequate or only a symbolic exchange by many of the survivors of such crimes or the families of dead victims. In October 2006, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed an apology for the damage caused by its colonial rule and aggression, more than 80 Japanese lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party paid visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. Many people aggrieved by Japanese war crimes also maintain that no apology has been issued for particular acts or that the Japanese government has merely expressed "regret" or "remorse".[348] On 2 March 2007, the issue was raised again by Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe, in which he denied that the military had forced women into sexual slavery during World War II. He stated, "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion." Before he spoke, a group of LDP lawmakers also sought to revise the Kono Statement.[19][20] This provoked negative reaction from Asian and Western countries.

Emperor Showa initiated an official boycott of the Yasukuni Shrine after learning that Class-A war criminals had been covertly enshrined there after the war. This boycott remained in place from 1978 until his death and has been upheld by his successors, Akihito and Naruhito.[349]

On 31 October 2008, the chief of staff of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force Toshio Tamogami was dismissed with a 60 million yen allowance[350] due to an essay he published, arguing that Japan was not an aggressor during World War II, that the war brought prosperity to China, Taiwan and Korea, that the Imperial Japanese Army's conduct was not violent and that the Greater East Asia War is viewed in a positive way by many Asian countries and criticizing the war crimes trials which followed the war.[351] On 11 November, Tamogami added before the Diet that the personal apology made in 1995 by former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama was "a tool to suppress free speech".[350]

Some in Japan have asserted that what is being demanded is that the Japanese Prime Minister or the Emperor perform dogeza, in which an individual kneels and bows his head to the ground—a high form of apology in East Asian societies that Japan appears unwilling to do.[352] Some point to an act by West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who knelt at a monument to the Jewish victims of the Warsaw Ghetto, in 1970, as an example of a powerful and effective act of apology and reconciliation similar to dogeza.[353]

On 13 September 2010, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada met in Tokyo with six former American POWs of the Japanese and apologized for their treatment during World War II. Okada said: "You have all been through hardships during World War II, being taken prisoner by the Japanese military, and suffered extremely inhumane treatment. On behalf of the Japanese government and as the foreign minister, I would like to offer you my heartfelt apology."[354]

On 29 November 2011, Japanese Foreign Minister Kōichirō Genba apologized to former Australian POWs on behalf of the Japanese government for pain and suffering inflicted on them during the war.[355]

Compensation

The Japanese government, while admitting no legal responsibility for comfort women, set up the Asian Women's Fund in 1995, which gives money to people who were forced into prostitution during the war. Though the organisation was established by the government, legally, it has been created such that it is an independent charity. The activities of the fund have been controversial in Japan, as well as with international organisations supporting the women concerned.[citation needed]

Some argue that such a fund is part of an ongoing refusal by the Japanese government to face up to its responsibilities, while others say that the Japanese government has long since finalised its responsibility to individual victims and is merely correcting the failures of the victims' own governments. California Congressman Mike Honda, speaking before U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the women, said that "without a sincere and unequivocal apology from the government of Japan, the majority of surviving Comfort Women refused to accept these funds. In fact, as you will hear today, many Comfort Women returned the Prime Minister's letter of apology accompanying the monetary compensation, saying they felt the apology was artificial and disingenuous."[356]

Compensation under the San Francisco Treaty

Main article: Treaty of San Francisco

Compensation from Japanese overseas assets
Japanese overseas assets in 1945
Country/region Value (1945, ¥15=US$1) 2024 US dollars[357]
North East China 146,532,000,000 $165 billion
Korea 70,256,000,000 $79.3 billion
North China 55,437,000,000 $62.5 billion
Taiwan 42,542,000,000 $48 billion
Central South China 36,718,000,000 $41.4 billion
Others 28,014,000,000 $31.6 billion
Total ¥379,499,000,000 $428 billion

"Japanese overseas assets" refers to all assets which were owned by the Japanese government, firms, organizations and private citizens, in colonized or occupied countries. In accordance with Clause 14 of the San Francisco Treaty, Allied forces confiscated all Japanese overseas assets, except those in China, which were dealt with under Clause 21.

Compensation to Allied POWs

According to historian Linda Goetz Holmes, many funds used by the government of Japan were not Japanese funds but relief funds contributed by the governments of the US, the UK and the Netherlands and sequestered in the Yokohama Specie Bank during the final year of the war.[358]

Allied territories occupied by Japan
Japanese compensation to countries occupied during 1941–45
Country Amount in Yen Amount in US$ 2024 US dollars[357] Date of treaty
Burma 72,000,000,000 200,000,000 $2.27 billion 5 November 1955
Philippines 198,000,000,000 550,000,000 $6.16 billion 9 May 1956
Indonesia 80,388,000,000 223,080,000 $2.36 billion 20 January 1958
South Vietnam 14,400,000,000 38,000,000 $397 million 13 May 1959
Total ¥364,348,800,000 US$1,012,080,000

Clause 14 of the treaty stated that Japan would enter into negotiations with the Allied nations whose territories were occupied and suffered damage by Japanese forces, with a view to Japan compensating those countries for the damage.

Historical Negationism and Denialism in Japan

In numerous historical debates within the region, Japan has been criticized for its failure to adequately address its imperial past.[359] Key issuess include the visits of Japanese prime ministers to the contentious Yasukuni Shrine, ongoing denials of state involvement in the system of forced wartime prostitution, efforts to justify the Asia-Pacific War, legal rulings rejecting state compensation for forced labor, and the positive assessments of Japan's colonial period.[359] These issues have periodically strained Japan's relations with its crucial neighbors, particularly the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea.[359]

Nippon Kaigi is an influential ultra-right-wing lobby group that wields considerable power in shaping Japanese politics. As of 2015, its membership boasts prominent figures such as former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, approximately 80% of the cabinet, and nearly half of the country's parliamentarians.[360] This organization is infamous for its historical negationism and denial of certain war crimes[360] The organization denies the Nanjing Massacre, labelling it as exaggerated or fabricated.[361] Historical negationism concerning the comfort women issue has been predominantly led by the Nippon Kaigi since the mid-1990s, with significant efforts notably observed during both the initial and second Abe administration.[362]

Following a Cabinet meeting during Shinzo Abe's initial tenure as prime minister in 2007, the administration said that there was no documented evidence supporting the coerced recruitment of comfort women. This stance was the official position of the administration and is reinforced through collaboration with Japanese right-wing media outlets.[362]

Textbook controversy

The existing regulations regarding textbooks grant the government absolute authority to determine which textbooks should be adopted by local schools.[363] School boards, teacher unions and local citizens, traditionally more left-leaning groups that have opposed government-approved books, have experienced a significant erosion of their autonomy in selecting textbooks, compelling them to adopt government-censored textbooks.[363]

In 1952, the Japanese government instructed Japanese historian Ienaga Saburo to eliminate information and references from his textbook regarding Unit 731, despite having his claims corroborated by other scholars.[364] While Ienaga's legal action against the Japanese government initially compelled them to publish his textbooks detailing Japanese war crimes, the Japanese Supreme Court overturned this decision in 1993.[365] The Supreme Court's 1993 ruling affirmed the government's authority to compel Mr. Ienaga to remove unsettling specifics concerning the Japanese invasions of Machuria and Korea, as well as the rapes and killings committed by Japanese military personnel during their occupation of East and Southeast Asia.[365]

Textbooks approved for junior high schools in 1997 typically presented relatively high estimates of the number of victims, but those published in 2005 often refrained from providing specific numbers altogether. Similarly, the term "massacre" was largely replaced with the term "incident."[366]

In 2014, the Japanese government attempted to pressure McGraw Hill, an American publishing company, to remove two paragraphs addressing the issue of comfort women from one of their textbooks. McGraw Hill rejected the demands from the Japanese government, and American historians condemned Japan's attempt to alter the historical account of comfort women.[367]

In 2015, other alterations involve six out of seven textbooks reducing the criticism of the Japanese military's role in mass suicides among Okinawans in 1945. Additionally, only one textbook addressed the topic of comfort women.[363]

In 2022, the Japanese government made changes to 14 textbooks covering Japanese and world history. The ministry replaced the words "forced arrest" and "forced conscription" with "mobilization" and "conscription" when recounting the history of forced laborers in Japan, including Koreans during the period of Japanese annexation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.[368]

Later investigations

As with investigations of Nazi war criminals, official investigations and inquiries are still ongoing.[as of?] During the 1990s, the South Korean government started investigating some people who had allegedly become wealthy while collaborating with the Japanese military.[369][370] In South Korea, it is also alleged that during the political climate of the Cold War, many such people or their associates or relatives were able to acquire influence with the wealth they had acquired collaborating with the Japanese and assisted in the covering-up, or non-investigation, of war crimes in order not to incriminate themselves. With the wealth they had amassed during the years of collaboration, they were able to further benefit their families by obtaining higher education for their relatives.[370]

Further evidence has been discovered as a result of these investigations. It has been claimed that the Japanese government intentionally destroyed the reports on Korean comfort women.[371][372] Some have cited Japanese inventory logs and employee sheets on the battlefield as evidence for this claim. For example, one of the names on the list was of a comfort woman who stated she was forced to be a prostitute by the Japanese. She was classified as a nurse along with at least a dozen other verified comfort women who were not nurses or secretaries. Currently, the South Korean government is looking into the hundreds of other names on these lists.[373]

In 2011, it was alleged in an article published in the Japan Times newspaper by Jason Coskrey that the British government covered up a Japanese massacre of British and Dutch POWs to avoid straining the recently re-opened relationship with Japan, along with their belief that Japan needed to be a post-war bulwark against the spread of communism.[374]

Tamaki Matsuoka's 2009 documentary Torn Memories of Nanjing includes interviews with Japanese veterans who admit to raping and killing Chinese civilians.[375]

Concerns of the Japanese Imperial Family

Potentially in contrast to Prime Minister Abe's example of his Yasukuni Shrine visits, by February 2015, some concern within the Imperial House of Japan — which normally does not issue such statements – over the issue was voiced by then-Crown Prince Naruhito,[376] who succeeded his father on 1 May 2019. Naruhito stated on his 55th birthday (23 February 2015) that it was "important to look back on the past humbly and correctly", in reference to Japan's role in World War II-era war crimes, and that he was concerned about the ongoing need to "correctly pass down tragic experiences and the history behind Japan to the generations who have no direct knowledge of the war, at the time memories of the war are about to fade".[377] Two visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in the second half of 2016 by Japan's former foreign minister, Masahiro Imamura, were again followed by controversy that still showed potential for concern over how Japan's World War II history may be remembered by its citizens[378][379] as it entered the Reiwa era.

Emperor Shōwa upheld an official boycott of Yasukuni Shrine after he discovered that Class-A war criminals had been secretly enshrined after the war. This boycott lasted from 1978 until his death, and his successors, Akihito and Naruhito, have continued the boycott.[380]

List of major crimes

See also

Japanese movements
Agreements

Notes

  1. ^ "Interestingly, although the United States condemned these practices, notably during the Tokyo Trial, its armed forces used the same technique several times in the context of the War on Terror. They then proceeded to deny that simulated drowning was torture, an opinion shared by at least The Wall Street Journal which, on 12 November 2005, commenting on the torture of alleged terrorists of Al-Qaeda, published an editorial denying that the technique had "any proximity to torture".[150] During the presidential elections in the United States in 2008, these interpretations were the subject of controversy, with candidates John McCain and Barack Obama[151] considering the practice as torture, as opposed to other republican candidates.[152]

References

  1. ^ Rigg, Bryan Mark (2024). Japan's Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan's Mass Murder and Rape During World War II. Knox Press. pp. 13–14, 23, 54, 190–191, 289. ISBN 9781637586884.
  2. ^ http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=9196
  3. ^ Rigg, Bryan Mark (2024). Japan's Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan's Mass Murder and Rape During World War II. Knox Press. pp. 190–191, 276, 312. ISBN 9781637586884.
  4. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (7 March 1999). "The World: Revisiting World War II Atrocities; Comparing the Unspeakable to the Unthinkable". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2008.
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  6. ^ Rigg, Bryan Mark (2024). Japan's Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan's Mass Murder and Rape During World War II. Knox Press. pp. 13–14, 282, 294. ISBN 9781637586884.
  7. ^ Rigg, Bryan Mark (2024). Japan's Holocaust: History of Imperial Japan's Mass Murder and Rape During World War II. Knox Press. p. 93. ISBN 9781637586884.
  8. ^ "Japanese War Crimes". The National Archives (U.S.). 15 August 2016. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  9. ^ "Pacific Theater Document Archive". War Crimes Studies Center, University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009.
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Sources

Further reading

  • Barnaby, Wendy. The Plague Makers: The Secret World of Biological Warfare, Frog Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1-883319-85-4 ISBN 0-7567-5698-7 ISBN 0-8264-1258-0 ISBN 0-8264-1415-X
  • Bass, Gary Jonathan. Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Trials. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Bayly, C. A. & Harper T. Forgotten Armies. The Fall of British Asia 1941-5 (London: Allen Lane) 2004
  • Bergamini, David. Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, William Morrow, New York, 1971.
  • Brackman, Arnold C.: The Other Nuremberg: the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1987. ISBN 0-688-04783-1
  • Dower, John W. (1987). War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York: Pantheon. ISBN 0-394-75172-8.
  • Endicott, Stephen and Edward Hagerman. The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, Indiana University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-253-33472-1
  • Felton, Mark (2007). Slaughter at Sea: The Story of Japan's Naval War Crimes. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-263-8.
  • Frank, Richard B. (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Gold, Hal. Unit 731 Testimony, Charles E Tuttle Co., 1996. ISBN 4-900737-39-9
  • Handelman, Stephen and Ken Alibek. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It, Random House, 1999. ISBN 0-375-50231-9 ISBN 0-385-33496-6
  • Harries, Meirion; Harries, Susie (1994). Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-75303-6.
  • Harris, Robert and Jeremy Paxman. A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret History of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Random House, 2002. ISBN 0-8129-6653-8
  • Harris, Sheldon H. Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932–45 and the American Cover-Up, Routledge, 1994. ISBN 0-415-09105-5 ISBN 0-415-93214-9
  • Holmes, Linda Goetz (2001). Unjust Enrichment: How Japan's Companies Built Postwar Fortunes Using American POWs. Mechanicsburg, PA, USA: Stackpole Books.
  • Holmes, Linda Goetz (2010). Guests of the Emperor: The Secret History of Japan's Mukden POW Camp. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-377-2.
  • Horowitz, Solis. "The Tokyo Trial" International Conciliation 465 (November 1950), 473–584.
  • Kratoksa, Paul (2005). Asian Labor in the Wartime Japanese Empire: Unknown Histories. M.E. Sharpe and Singapore University Press. ISBN 0-7656-1263-1.
  • Lael, Richard L. (1982). The Yamashita Precedent: War Crimes and Command Responsibility. Wilmington, Del, USA: Scholarly Resources.
  • Latimer, Jon, Burma: The Forgotten War, London: John Murray, 2004. ISBN 0-7195-6576-6
  • MacArthur, Brian (2005). Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East, 1942–45. Random House. ISBN 1-4000-6413-9.
  • Lingen, Kerstin von, ed. War Crimes Trials in the Wake of Decolonization and Cold War in Asia, 1945-1956. (Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2016) online Archived 8 March 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  • Minear, Richard H. (1971). Victor's Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes Trial. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
  • Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2177-9.
  • Neier, Aryeh. War Crimes: Brutality, Genocide, Terror and the Struggle for Justice, Times Books, Random House, New York, 1998.
  • O'Hanlon, Michael E. The Senkaku Paradox: Risking Great Power War Over Small Stakes (Brookings Institution, 2019) online review Archived 17 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  • Piccigallo, Philip R. (1979). The Japanese on Trial: Allied War Crimes Operations in the East, 1945–1951. Austin, Texas, USA: University of Texas Press.
  • Rees, Laurence. Horror in the East, published 2001 by the British Broadcasting Company
  • Seagrave, Sterling & Peggy. Gold Warriors: America's secret recovery of Yamashita's gold. Verso Books, 2003. ISBN 1-85984-542-8
  • Sherman, Christine (2001). War Crimes: International Military Tribunal. Turner Publishing Company. ISBN 1-56311-728-2. Detailed account of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East proceedings in Tokyo
  • Trefalt, Beatrice . "Japanese War Criminals in Indochina and the French Pursuit of Justice: Local and International Constraints." Journal of Contemporary History 49.4 (2014): 727–742.
  • Tsurumi, Kazuko (1970). Social Change and the Individual: Japan before and after defeat in World War II. Princeton, USA: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09347-4.
  • Williams, Peter. Unit 731: Japan's Secret Biological Warfare in World War II, Free Press, 1989. ISBN 0-02-935301-7
  • Wilson, Sandra; et al. (2017). Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice After the Second World War. New York City: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231179225.
  • Yamamoto, Masahiro (2000). Nanking: Anatomy of an Atrocity. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-96904-5. A rebuttal to Iris Chang's book on the Nanking massacre.

Audio/visual media

  • Minoru Matsui (2001), Japanese Devils, a documentary which is based on interviews which were conducted with veteran soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army (Japanese Devils sheds light on a dark past) CNN
  • The History Channel (2000). Japanese War Crimes: Murder Under The Sun (Video documentary (DVD & VHS)). A & E Home Video.