From December 16 to 26, 1945, the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain decided at the Moscow meeting that the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Japan should take all necessary measures to implement the conditions for Japanese surrender in the Potsdam Proclamation, including punishing Japanese war criminals.
In accordance with the Cairo Declaration of December 1, 1943, the Potsdam Proclamation of July 26, 1945, the letter of surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, the special notice issued by the general authorized by the allies on December 26, 1945 and the Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East on January 19, 1946, the Allies decided to set up a court in Tokyo to try Japan’s primary war criminals.
When the decision to try war criminals was still in progress during the Second World War, the anti fascist allies repeatedly stated that they would severely punish war criminals and hold them accountable.
After the end of the European war, on August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France signed the agreement on the prosecution and punishment of the main war criminals of the European Axis powers and its annex, the Charter of the European international military tribunal, in London.
In November 1945, the European International Military Tribunal opened in Nuremberg to try the chief war criminals of German Fascism.
In this trial, 11 people were sentenced to hanging, 10 were executed, Goering failed to commit suicide by taking poison, and 9 were sentenced to long-term imprisonment.
The Allies believed that Japanese war criminals should also be treated in the same way as German war criminals.
The Potsdam Proclamation once solemnly pointed out: “we have no intention to enslave the Japanese nation or destroy this country, but we will investigate the legal responsibility and severely punish the prisoners of war, including those who abuse prisoners of war.
” On September 11, 1945, former Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and other 39 war criminals were arrested.
On November 19, Xiaoji Guozhao and other 11 war criminals were arrested.
On December 2 and 16, 68 war criminals, including Kiichiro Hiranuma, hiroda Hongyi and Yukichi wooden, were arrested and detained in Tokyo’s nest duck prison pending trial.
China, the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Canada, New Zealand and India each sent a judge.
Weber of Australia was the chief judge and Joseph Kennan of the United States was the chief prosecutor.
The Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East stipulates that the defendant has the right to choose a defender, but the court may not recognize his chosen defender at any time.
Among the defendants, there was no Japanese head of state and supreme commander of the three armed forces, Emperor Hirohito.
With regard to the criminal responsibility of the head of state for launching aggression, there is a precedent for the treatment of German Emperor William II after the first World War.
The Charter of the European international military court also clearly states: “the official position and status of the defendant, whether the head of state or the responsible officials of various government departments, shall not be a reason for exemption from responsibility and mitigation of punishment.
” However, in order to manage effectively in Japan and prevent Americans from being attacked on the Japanese island, the United States avoided the responsibility of the head of state in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
The charter only said that “the official position and status of the defendant at any time” could not be exempted from responsibility, and the words “head of state” were intentionally deleted.
This foreshadowed Japan’s right wingers’ refusal to admit aggression.
On December 6, 1945, before the 16 member US team of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East left the United States for Tokyo, Kennan told the US press that he believed that Emperor Hirohito should obviously be tried.
After boarding the plane, Kennan received a letter from President Truman instructing Kennan not to sue Yuren and any members of the royal family.
The president adopted the opinion of MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Japan.
MacArthur believed that proceeding from the interests of the United States and the political needs of occupying Japan, the emperor should not be prosecuted for war crimes.
Weber, chief justice of the Tokyo court, once expressed his personal opinion to the press: “the emperor played a great role in the war, but he was exempted from prosecution.
There is no doubt that the exemption from the trial of the emperor was based on the interests of all Member States of the alliance.
” “It is undeniable that one of the main culprits of the declaration has evaded all proceedings.
In any case, the defendants present can only be regarded as accomplices,” said Henry Bernard, France’s representative to the trial of the International Tribunal for the Far East Because the Americans only considered for themselves, the verdict was that Prince Hatoyama of Asaka palace, a member of the royal family and commander of the Japanese invasion force, was not included in the list of defendants.
Ningci Okamura, a war criminal who is deeply hated by the Chinese people, is also at large.
Shiro Ishii, commander of Japan’s “731 germ force”, who conducted all kinds of appalling and cruel experiments in China, was not among the defendants.
On April 29, 1946, Hideki Tojo and other 28 defendants were formally prosecuted.
On May 3, the Tokyo International Far East military court officially opened.
The court is located in the former Japanese army provincial conference hall, and the president’s office is located in Hideki Tojo’s original office.
As Chinese judge Mei RUH argued, the number of judges, in addition to the chief judge, was arranged according to the order of signature of the surrender country of Japan, such as the United States, China, Britain, the Soviet Union, Canada and France.
The trial adopts British and American law, with two stages: Division of evidence and debate.
On the first and second days of the trial, the chief prosecutor read out a 42 page indictment, counted the war crimes of 28 defendants, listed 55 counts and charged them with crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
On May 6, all the defendants in court pleaded that they were “innocent”.
Hideki Tojo said, “I declare my innocence for all the causes of action.
” The defendant cited the legal principles of “legally prescribed crime and punishment”, “innocence if impossible” and “Prohibition of afterwards legislation” in an attempt to evade sanctions.
The tribunal held that the defendant’s crime had long been recognized by international law.
The defense of the defendant also stressed that war is an act of state, a phenomenon between States, and the subject is the state.
International law deals only with the acts of sovereign states.
The court held that the responsibility of a state for violating a treaty and launching a war of aggression was always on the individual.
During the trial, Qin Dechun, Wang lengzhai and others testified by the Chinese side when China issues were involved.
Qin Dechun and Wang lengzhai mainly exposed the crimes of the Japanese army in provoking the Lugouqiao Incident and launching an attack on Beidaying.
Puyi was sent by the Soviet Union from his prison to Tokyo to testify in court.
He told how he was hijacked by Tu feiyuan from Tianjin to the northeast, how ban yuan ordered people to poison his own wife and forced him to marry a Japanese woman.
On April 16, 1948, the court adjourned to discuss and make a final judgment.
During the discussion, the judges were deciding whether war criminals such as Hideki Tojo should be sentencedThere were major differences on the issue of hanging.
President Weber advocated exile.
The US judge advocated that only war criminals who launched the Pacific War and abused us prisoners of war should be sentenced to death.
The Chinese judge demanded that Kenji toyohara and ishigen Matsui be severely punished.
From such a difference, we can see that although judges from various countries are members of the allies, they represent different national interests and have different judgment results for war criminals.
In the end, the court handed down the death sentence by a narrow majority of 6 votes to 5.
On November 4, the court began to read the 1231 page judgment.
By the end of the reading on November 12, the judgment of 25 defendants in court was as follows: 7 people were sentenced to hanging: Kenji toyohara, hiroda Hongyi, shihiro Ishihara, Takemura, Hideki Tojo.
16 persons were sentenced to life imprisonment: sada Araki, X JunLiu, Zhilin Xingye, Yukichi Kimo, Kiichiro Hiranuma, Kojiki, nanjiro, Oka Jingchun, Oshima Hiro, Kenji Sato, fantaro Shimada, sadaki Suzuki, shingoro Matsumoto, xingxuan kawaka, Mino bainiao, meijiro Meijin.
Sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of 20 years, one person: Dongxiang maode.
Sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of 7 years, one person: Chongguang Kui.
During the trial, the defendant’s former foreign minister yoyo Matsuoka and Navy General Yukio Nagano died of illness and illness.
The Japanese aggression theorist Akira Okawa was suspended from trial due to madness, and 25 defendants actually appeared in court.
On November 12, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East closed.
According to the Charter of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Japan MacArthur approved all the judgments of the Tribunal on November 22, 1948.
However, MacArthur did not immediately execute the judgment in accordance with the regulations of the Charter of the court, but handed the appeals of toyohara, Hirota, Kimo, Sato, Shimada and Dongxiang to the United States Supreme Court, thus delaying the execution of the judgment on all defendants.
On December 6, the United States Supreme Court decided to accept the appeal and was scheduled to analyze the case on December 16, 1948.
When the news came out, there was a great uproar in world public opinion.
Mei Ru h, a Chinese judge of the Tokyo court, pointed out: “if the decision made by the International Court representing 11 countries needs to be retried by the court of a certain country, no matter how high the court is, it will certainly cause people to worry that any international decision and behavior will also be retried and changed by a country.
” Dutch judge Luo Xiu of the Tokyo court claimed that the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court was a “shocking mistake”.
A prosecutor criticized MacArthur and said: “he has exceeded his authority and will not distinguish between the responsibilities of the commander of the Far East and the commander of the Allied forces.
” Under the pressure of world public opinion, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of justice wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that it had no right to interfere with the judgment of the Tokyo court.
The Supreme Court of the United States decided to postpone the hearing of the “appeal” on December 16, and finally made a decision of rejection on December 20.
On December 23, 40 days after the Far East International Military Court sentenced, Hideki Tojo and other war criminals were hanged in Tokyo’s nest duck prison.
The rest of the war criminals sentenced served their sentences in prison.
The solemn verdict on these heinous Japanese war criminals has been welcomed by world public opinion.
Due to the changes in the world situation, the cold war between the two groups has taken shape, especially the outbreak of the Korean War, and the United States is eager to find an anti Communist alliance in Asia.
Therefore, there has been a significant change in its attitude towards Japanese war criminals.
In November 1950, Chung Kwai was released and served in the Japanese government.
During this period, other Japanese war criminals in custody also “swore out of prison”.
This is in sharp contrast to the results of dealing with Nazi war criminals.
At that time, people did not seem to notice that in Khabarovsk, another city in the Far East, the Soviet government was trying 12 doctors and officers of Japan’s 731 army.
The people were not enthusiastic about the trial at first.
On the first day of the morning, the whole trial was over.
Why do people care so much about it? It turned out that people were shocked by the facts revealed by the trial: a group of graduates of Japan’s first-class medical school injected typhoid, cholera, syphilis and other bacteria into the victims in order to manufacture biochemical weapons and spread them to nearby Chinese villages.
About 10000 people died in 26 laboratories across Asia in Japan, In the field test of biological and chemical warfare, an estimated 250000 people were killed, including the Soviets.
Japan’s 731st army was established in the 1930s for biological warfare under the personal decree of emperor Showa.
The emperor’s brother also visited the 731 headquarters in person and watched the film of Chinese Prisoners “marching” in a poison gas war experimented with living people.
After the war, when the Soviet Union was ready to try the war criminals of Unit 731, MacArthur secretly pardoned the war criminals of Unit 731 among the Japanese prisoners of war captured by the US Army, on the condition that he helped the United States obtain the “scientific research achievements” of biological weapons of Unit 731.
When there was evidence that American pilots became such living specimens after being captured, MacArthur immediately seized the evidence.
Naturally, the Soviet Union also gave these war criminals light sentences: most war criminals were sentenced to only 20 to 25 years’ imprisonment, one for only two years and the other for three years.
A few years later, except for one criminal who committed suicide in prison, the rest were quietly released back to Japan in 1956, and most of them entered the upper class of Japan.
Analysts pointed out that, like the Americans, the most likely reason for the light sentence of war criminals in the Soviet Union is that the Soviet Union also exchanged light punishment for biological weapons intelligence.
It is really sad that Japanese war criminals who have committed heinous crimes against the people of the world are at large due to the shielding and connivance of the US and Soviet governments.