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The Allied POWs and POW camps

The Allied POWs and POW camps

By Utsumi Aiko
Translated by Sugahara Kan

The Research Paper >>PDF


On 26 December 1946, a film was put on the screen in court of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (hereinafter referred to as the "Tokyo Trial") in Ichigaya, Tokyo. The film was entitled "Nippon presents," which adduced the evidence of POW atrocities done by the Japanese Forces during the war to the court.

The conditions of the POW camps showed on the screen could only be expressed in the one word "tragic." The POWs were walking skeletons worn to shadows, and looking at the camera in vacant-eyed stares. In all honesty, it was too awful to look at.

At the Tokyo Trial, the International Prosecution Section (IPS) produced a vast amount of documentary evidence on the Japan's POW ill-treatment, including the abovementioned film, and part of the evidence was read in court. The IPS prosecuted the accused who were responsible for the policies and treatment of POWs which had produced such atrocities, and the decision of the court presumed that "the POW atrocities were one of the policies (of Japan)." In the trials for Classes B and C war crimes (conventional war crimes), POW atrocities were severely judged. Of those who had been involved with the POW camps, many were judged as war criminals.

Japan accepted the decision of the war trials by Article 11 of the "Treaty of Peace with Japan," which went into effect as from April 1952.

Japan was severely judged by the war trials, and accepted this decision. However, where were the causes of the POW atrocities, and who were responsible for them?

This writer would like to take up the Asia-Pacific War from the view-point of the POW issues, and consider where the responsibility for the POW atrocities existed, and at the same time, the issues on an individual's responsibility within an organization.

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