November 12 - 1948 - The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal Adjourns

The surrender of Japan to Allied forces occasioned many questions about what to do with the leaders of Japan. Following the model of the Nuremberg trials against Nazi German war criminals, which had begun in late 1945, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sought to bring charges of war crimes against the leaders of Imperial Japan during their expansion into China and through World War II. Yet the Japanese trials were much more difficult, because the Nurenberg trials relied on the Nazis brutal efficiency and meticulous record keeping in commitring a genocide. In Tokyo, prosecutors instead argued that men like General Hideki Tojo, who led Japan as Prime Minister from 1941-1944, were so involved in a campaign for aggressive war that they were guilty under the notion of "command responsibility." There were also a number of actual war crimes committed by specific soldiers under specific generals. The prosecutors still had to argue that they were able to bring war crimes against the former leaders of Japan in such a scenario. In the end, seven men were sentenced to death, while a further sixteen were given life sentences when the trial finally adjourned.

William Floyd