Japanese war crimes

Of Japanese forces numerous war crimes in China, the Pacific, Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago were committed during the Second World War. While millions of civilians and prisoners of war were deliberately murdered. These war crimes are also known as “Asian Holocaust” and found about the same time as the crimes of National Socialism in Europe instead.

Sometimes Japanese war crimes to be added that were committed during the occupation of Manchuria in 1931 and the inclusion of Korea before the Second World War.


The Empire of Japan was at the beginning of the 20th Century the only industrialized nation in Asia and played a major role in world politics in comparison to its neighbor China. So it was in 1905 emerged from the Russian-Japanese War victory and fought in both the First World War on the side of the Entente Cordiale, and in the Russian Civil War on the side of the White Army. In this case (for over one hundred years as) the Imperial army lost not a single major battle. The resulting sense of superiority, mingled together with Japan’s growing need for raw materials to a growing nationalism. By previous wars and conflicts (including with China) it was the Empire has managed to incorporate significant areas (Taiwan, South Sakhalin, Korea). At the Treaty of Versailles had large parts of the German colony of German New Guinea get awarded.

On 18 September 1931 perpetrated Japanese officers a bomb attack on Mukden Railway in Manchuria (see Mukden Incident). Chinese were blamed for the attack, and he served as a pretext to invade in addition to the already standing in northeast China Japanese troops finally into Manchuria. At this time, there was the first war crimes (massacres of Pingdingshan).

The crimes occurred for different reasons and often took place at the direction of the regime of the Japanese empire, or were committed by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army on site. In Japanese invasions of the resulting cities there were large massacres like in 1937 Nanking (Nanjing Massacre) or in the course of struggles as 1945 in Manila at the direction of Tokyo. In other cases, ethnic groups were targeted the goal of mass murder, such as the Chinese, the Malay Peninsula Sook Ching massacre, or were in the partisan enbekämpfung vast areas depopulated preventive. After the first U.S. air raid on Japan, the Doolittle Raid, threw some of the pilot of a country occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army part of China now and were hidden from the public. Then put the Japanese air force and special forces of the army in retaliation action, a biological warfare agents in the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi. Estimated 250,000 civilians while were killed. According to others, were killed in the search and retaliation over a million civilians. In addition, millions of people died in forced labor slagern and – through the Japanese occupation system caused – famine n (mainly in Indonesia and Indochina).

Furthermore, were of Japanese army units (for example, the unit 731) numerous human experiments performed, including the testing of biological and chemical weapons from living people. Others of these crimes were racially motivated as the Sook Ching massacre.

This was due to the fact that in the Meiji period in Japan, the idea arose that one’s “race” superior than all the others. The other Asian nations were perceived serving as inferior (under its own standing) and only the benefits.


There are from country to country differences in the definition of Japanese war crimes. War crimes can be largely defined by the Nuremberg Charter as “violations of the laws or customs of war”, which were caused by an unscrupulous behavior by a government or military forces, against enemy civilians or enemy combatants. For the implementation of a number of human rights violations against civilians and prisoners of war in all of East Asia and the Western Pacific military personnel of the Empire Japan was sentenced in court. These events reached their climax during the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 and the Asian and Pacific campaigns of World War II (1941-1945).

In Japan, even the individual events or details of war crimes, often by Japanese nationalists like Tsukurukai (Society for History Textbook Reform) will be paid. Such organizations and their activities are the subject of controversy of historical revisionism, especially in the “textbook controversy”.

International Law

Although the Empire of Japan, the Geneva Conventions, which set the standard definition of war crimes since 1864, not signed, it is still bound with regard to the war crimes of international and Japanese law. Many of the alleged crimes committed by the imperial forces were also punishable under the Japanese code of martial law, which was but either ignored by the Japanese authorities or not enforced. The Empire of Japan also broke the Treaty of Versailles as Article 171, which prohibits the use of poison gas (chemical weapons). Were likewise other international agreements such as the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which includes the protection of prisoners of war, and was also signed by Japan, disregarded. According to historian Akira Fujiwara ratified on 5 August 1937 the Japanese Emperor Hirohito personally the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, where he was removed from his Chief of Staff of the Army Prince Kanin a sentence about the treatment of Chinese prisoners to work around the limitation of this Convention.

International treaties of Japan

In Japan, “Japanese war crimes” generally refers the term to cases that were tried and sentenced to charge the Japanese Imperial Army by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as Tokyo processes known after the end of the Pacific War. Against war crimes that were committed by officers and non-commissioned officers or soldiers, according to the B-and C-classification of war crimes, where the Tokyo processes no accusations. These procedures have been all over Asia before the courts-martial or military commissions dealt with separately.

The Japanese government argues that Japan is not among the signatories to the Geneva Conventions and did not therefore violate international law. Furthermore, it considers that the Allied nations have failed to act against Japanese civilians and prisoners of war, including the internment of ethnic Japanese and the bombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not against the Geneva Convention.

The Japanese government has signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact in April, 1929, in the particular guided by national interests aggressive war was declared illegal. The result was that Japan was indicted for his actions from 1937 to 1945 for “crimes against peace”. This charge was introduced at the Tokyo processes to enable the pursuit of so-called “A-class war criminals”, where all crimes against peace were accused. The division into A-, B-and C-class war goes back to the London Agreement of the Allies in August 1945. As war criminals of the A-Class, the so-called major war, the political and military leadership of Japan, were classified, having all of them accused of “crimes against peace” before an international panel tribunal. B-and C-class war criminals, however, were usually because conventional war crimes (murder, rape and ill-treatment of prisoners of war and non-combatants and other violations of the Hague Regulations, the customary laws of war and the like) against conventional military courts of the Allies or the Asian countries, the scene of their crimes, were indicted. By the Japanese government but no convictions have been recognized for such crimes as the Kellogg-Briand Pact contains no enforcement clause provides for penalties in the event of a breach of contract.

With the signing of the unconditional surrender of the Japanese forces on 2 September 1945 accepted the Japanese government, the terms of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 Juli 1945. This results in accordance with Article 10 of the Declaration, that the Japanese nation neither destroyed nor the Japanese people is enslaved, but war criminals would be punished. Democracy and human rights would have to be introduced in Japan.

Japanese Law

Japan had (1931-1945) led the Asia-Pacific War in East and later in Southeast Asia as a total war largely without regard to the international standards of martial law. The military conflict with China was guided by both sides without any formal declaration of war, what is considered “Chinese incident” in conscious distinction made ​​clear both the Japanese term for the conflict from 1937 to war with its international legal implications as well as formal legal non-application of the law of war, according to Hague Convention and Geneva Convention legitimate.

A – particularly selective – prosecution of war crimes took place only in the first phase of the occupation and led to the Tokyo trial of the war criminals of category A, which was led by 1946 until 1948. The legal treatment was thereby dominated by political and strategic considerations, in particular the leading occupation forces United States. With the escalating Cold War and the “reverse course” whose long-term goal was the inclusion of the former war adversary Japan in the Western camp, vanished the interest of Americans, Japanese war crimes continue to address or to pursue all. According to 1948, according to the verdicts of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, no follow-up processes that were originally planned analogous to Nuremberg performed. The already incarcerated for these subsequent processes suspects were released without trial. Since the Japanese criminal law contained no offense of war crime, led the Japanese judicial authorities even after the recovery of full sovereignty with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, no prosecution of war criminals in. Nevertheless recognized Japan, according to the 11th Article of the Treaty of San Francisco, the verdicts of the Tokyo processes. With the end of the occupation, the rehabilitation of the executed war criminals by the Japanese government was also formally sealed legal – the authorities recognize them ever since, legally backed by the “Act to provide financial assistance to the survivors and war veterans”, as “public servants” deceased persons.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has advocated the position that Japan accepted the Tokyo tribunal and its judgments as a condition for ending the war, but that its verdicts have no relation to domestic law. According to this view are those who are convicted of war crimes, not criminals under Japanese law. In the opinion of Shinzo Abe stood for crimes against peace and humanity before a court, which sentenced to a concept that was created by the Allies after the war and is not enshrined in law.

Historical and geographical extent

Outside Japan use different societies different periods in the definition of Japanese war crimes. For example, the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 by the deprivation of civil liberties and exploitation was evaluated against the Korean people as a war crime. The resolution of the independence movement from the first of March in 1919 by use of force or the assassination of Queen Myeongseong, which was conducted by assassination of the Gen’yōsha as the Empress was involved in the attempts to reduce Japanese influence in Korea, valid in North and South Korea as a war crime. In comparison, the United States have until 1941 been in a military conflict with Japan, so only the period from 1941 to 1945 are considered for the Japanese war crimes in the United States.

A complicating factor for the international definition of Japanese war crimes is that only a minority of the population of the conquered by the Japanese, Asian and Pacific countries has cooperated with the occupying power. It was used for a variety of reasons, such as economic hardship, coercion, or antipathy to other imperialist powers, even in the Japanese armed forces. Many Koreans served in the imperial armed forces. In the Formosan Army, which was part of the Imperial Japanese Army, living on Formosa ethnic Chinese were recruited. The Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose is perhaps the best known example of a movement against European imperialism, which was founded during the Second World War to help the Japanese military. Prominent individual of nationalists in other countries the later Indonesian President Suharto, who also served in the Japanese Imperial forces or the Burmese nationalist leader Aung San, who initially sided with the Japanese along the Burma National Army was formed and in the spring of 1945 turned against the Japanese. In some cases, Koreans were responsible for war crimes committed by the Japanese Empire. They were used as commanders and guards in POW camps. The Dutch Tribunal judges and scholars BVA Roling presented in the Tokyo study found that the “Korean guards were far more cruel than the Japanese”. For political reasons, many war crimes that were committed by non-Japanese, who had served in the Imperial forces were not investigated or prosecuted after 1945. In South Korea, it is claimed that such a war wealth acquired through participation in exploitative activities with the Japanese military, and that former employees have covered up some “Japanese war crimes” in order to avoid their own prosecution.

It has been argued that the actions against people who are subject to Japanese sovereignty, can not be considered as a “war crime.” The issue of Japanese de jure sovereignty over countries such as Korea and Formosa in the years before 1945, is a matter of controversy. The Treaty of Shimonoseki of 17 April 1895, which provided, the cession of Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula in Manchuria to Japan, and the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 22 August 1910, was accepted Japanese control over these areas and internationally recognized.

The legality of the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty is now disputed in North and South Korea, since this agreement was not signed from the point of view of free will.

There are allegations that war crimes were also committed after the Empire of Japan officially on 14 August 1945 capitulated. According to the testimony of Captain Hoshijima Susumi were Allied prisoners of war who survived the death marches from Sandakan (North Borneo), two weeks after the Emperor had signed the surrender document, killed.


Japanese military culture and imperialism

Especially during the imperialist phase of Japan had the military culture before and during the Second World War a large influence on the behavior of the Japanese forces. Centuries before the samurai in Japan was taught to practice his men against unquestioning obedience and to be fearless in battle. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Emperor became the focus of military loyalty. During the so-called “Age of Empire” in the late 19th Century, Japan followed the example of other world powers in developing countries, namely the development of an empire. This objective is also pursued by the Empire aggressive.

As with other imperialist powers was to the end of the 19th Century and into the 20th Century, the Japanese popular culture increasingly chauvinistic. The rise of Japanese nationalism was seen partly in 1890 in the adoption of Shinto as the state religion, including its anchoring in the education system. Amaterasu is the main deity of Shinto. She personifies the sun and the light and is considered the founder of the Japanese imperial family, which the emperor was considered divine. This fact justifies the requirement that the emperor and his representatives must be obeyed without question.

The victory in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) signified Japan’s rise to the status of a major military power.

Unlike the other major powers, Japan has not signed the Geneva Convention. However, it was specified in a royal proclamation of 1894 that Japanese soldiers should make every effort to win the war without a violation of international law. According to historian Yuki Tanaka, Japanese forces released during the First Sino-Japanese War that 1790 Chinese people remained without damage if they sign an agreement to never again take a weapon against Japan. After the Russo-Japanese War from 1904 to 1905 were in accordance with the Hague Convention, all 79,367 Russian prisoners of war released and paid for their work by the Empire. The behavior of the Japanese military in World War I (1914-1918) was at least as humane as the other armies, so that even some German prisoners of war who were imprisoned in Japan, is settled after the war in Japan.

The events of the 1930s and 1940s

From the late 1930s to the rise of militarism in Japan created at least superficial similarities between the wider Japanese military culture and the culture of the military elite (Waffen-SS) in Nazi Germany. Japan also had a military secret police as the Kempeitai that resembled the Nazi Gestapo in its role in annexed and occupied countries. The brutality of the Kempeitai was notorious, especially in the colony of Korea and the occupied territories. The Kempeitai was loathed on the Japanese mainland, especially during the Second World War when Prime Minister Hideki Tojo (formerly commander of the Kempeitai the Japanese army in Manchuria from 1935 to 1937) the Kempeitai their power extensively used to the loyalty of the Japanese for war ensured. Under Tojo, the Kempeitai Japan turned into a police state. Insufficient devotion to the Emperor often meant a physical punishment. The beating of imperial soldiers in the lower ranks was commonplace, but the brutal beating were the soldiers who were in Japanese prisoner of war.


Because of the sheer magnitude of the suffering the Japanese military during the 1930s and 1940s is often compared with the military Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Much of the controversy about the role of Japan in World War II revolves around the death rates of prisoners of war and civilians under Japanese occupation. The historian Chalmers Johnson has written this:

It may be pointless to determine which aggressor of the Axis powers, the population of the occupied territories has harassed brutal: Germany or Japan. The Germans killed six million Jews and 20 million Russians (Soviet citizens), the Japanese have 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese (at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese) were killed. Both countries plundered the occupied lands they had conquered on a monumental scale, from, although the Japanese looted over a longer period than the Nazis. Both conquerors million people enslaved in forced labor and exploited – and in the case of the Japanese forced as prostitutes for front-line troops. When a German in England, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (not Russia) became a prisoner of war, he had a chance of four percent, the war did not survive; By comparison, the death rate for Allied, which fell into Japanese prisoner of war was , at nearly 30 percent.

At the Tokyo process it was found that the death rate is among the POWs from Asian countries who were held captive by Japan at 27.1 percent.

The death rate of Chinese POWs was much higher because the Hague Conventions, the fifth by Emperor Hirohito on August 1937 were ratified, was removed the limitations of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners of war. After the surrender of Japan, only 56 Chinese POWs were registered officially by the Japanese authorities. After the 20th March 1943 the Japanese Navy was ordered all prisoners of war shall be fixed at sea to execute.

Mass killings

The first known of these massacres was the massacre of Pingdingshan 16 September 1932, where Japanese soldiers and police forces for pacification of Manchukuo by the occupation of Manchuria, the village Pingdingshan held for a base of a militia and therefore rounded up around 3,000 inhabitants and killed at the foot of Pingdingshan Mountain in southern Fushun. To cover up the crime, the bodies were burned and burned 800 houses in the village. On 29 January 1932 bombed to Shanghai during the battle Japanese aircraft. Here and over the following Cast killed 18,000 civilians.

After the Japanese attack on China in 1937, the massacre but this time began again, in a far greater extent. Just five months after the incident at the Marco Polo Bridge Japanese troops reached on 8 December, the Chinese capital Nanjing and encircled the town. Five days later, the city was occupied. It came to six weeks ongoing Nanjing Massacre. The nature of the killings was different. Civilians (children and babies included) and prisoners of war were stabbed by the thousands with the bayonet, shot, beheaded, drowned and buried alive. Overall, in the massacre 200,000 to 300,000 people were killed. Further massacre of numerous similar crimes were the massacre of Panjiayu or the massacre of Changjiao, in which some 30,000 civilians were killed.

During their campaign of conquest in Southeast Asia, the Japanese military leadership planned organized in advance mass killings of which the Sook Ching massacre of ethnic Chinese, the Malay Peninsula, 18 February to 4 March 1942 is the best known. This approximately 50,000 ethnic Chinese were led by Singapore and massacred on the beaches. Overall, about 90,000 Chinese were killed during the Sook Ching massacre on the Malay Peninsula. On 19 April 1942, the last American and Filipino troops were in the Philippines. It came to the Bataan Death March. The prisoners had all day without a break and march without water in the scorching sun. Who stopped on the march or fall over from exhaustion, was stabbed with a bayonet. Who ran to streams or springs were shot. Overall, died on the death march from Baatan about 16,500 American and Filipino prisoners of war. The number of civilians killed, who had accompanied the march is unknown.

After the landing of American troops on Luzon, the Philippine capital, Manila became the battleground. In the fighting the Japanese committed on the instructions from Tokyo during the last three weeks of February 1945, the massacre of Manila, in which about 100,000 civilians were killed. There were many other massacres of the civilian population, such as the Kalagon Massacre, in which 7 July 1945 the people of Kalagon (Burma), were massacred by members of the Imperial Japanese Army. Women and children were raped and tortured. The inhabitants were assembled in groups of five people and brought blindfolded to the nearby fountain, where they stabbed with bayonets and the bodies were dumped in the 22 wells. In this massacre an estimated 1,000 villagers died. For this massacre in 1946 four Japanese soldiers were tried for war crimes before the Tribunal in Rangoon.

As empirical researchers to Rudolph Joseph Rummel employed, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, especially with war, genocide and political mass murder. In the 3rd Section of Statistics of Japanese Democide states that 1937-1945 the Japanese military at least three million (maybe even tens of millions) have murdered people. Probably six million people, including Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, including western POWs were killed. “This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture”. According to Rummel were from 1937 to 1945 during the war 10.2 million people killed from China alone as a direct result of the Japanese operations of approximately 3.9 million (mostly civilians).

Massacre of Allied soldiers

In addition, the following events are recorded, in which Allied soldiers were massacred:

•St. Stephens College massacre on 25 December 1941: A few hours before the British units surrendered during the Battle of Hong Kong on Christmas Eve, entered Japanese soldiers, the St. Stephens College, which was used as a military hospital. Two doctors who tried to talk to the soldiers, were later murdered and found mutilated. The Japanese killed some of the wounded British, Canadian and Indian soldiers. Then the staff and the wounded were imprisoned. A second Japanese unit that came later, mutilated and killed Canadian prisoners. The nurses were raped and murdered. The next morning, about 100 corpses were burned on the farm.

•Parit Sulong – On 22 January 1942 were s 110 Australian and 40 Indian soldiers captured in Parit Sulong on the West Coast Malaysia by the Japanese. The prisoners were beaten with rifle butts and kicked. They were squeezed into a crowded shed, and it was denied food, water and medical care. At sunset, the prisoners were shot or bayoneted. The bodies were burned. Only two soldiers escaped the massacre.

•Laha Massacre – even 14 days after the surrender of Ambon on 3 February 1942 chose the Japanese navy more than 300 Australian and Dutch POWs at random and pointed it out at or near the Laha Airfield.

•Alexandra Hospital Massacre. 14th Februar 1942. After the victory of Singapore to Japanese forces approached the Alexandra Hospital, where wounded British and Malay soldiers were treated. The British lieutenant who went to meet them, was stabbed with bayonets. Following the doctors and nurses and some of the patients were massacred. The remaining 200 wounded soldiers, even those with amputated limbs, had to march to the nearby barracks. Who fell down, was stabbed to death. The next morning the rest of the men were killed, many of them hacked to pieces. Five lost their limbs but survived.

•Banka Iceland Massacre – The Bangka Iceland Massacre took place on 16 February 1942 held shot as Japanese soldiers 22 Australian military nurses. There was only one survivor.

Bataan Death March – The Bataan Death March was in 1942, a crime committed by Japanese soldiers on American and Filipino prisoners of war crimes in the early stages of the Pacific War during World War II in the Philippines. The prisoners were forced to kick a nearly 100 km long and six-day march north to the railroad loading station San Fernando. Who stopped on the march from exhaustion or fell down, was punished with death by firing squad, heads or stabbing with bayonets. Of the original 70,000 prisoners of war were 16,500 killed during the march or died of exhaustion.

•Wake Iceland Massacre – On 23 December 1941 the Japanese took 1,603 men in the battle of Wake caught. Among the prisoners were 1,150 civilians. These were brought to the mainland in a POW camp. However, about 100 U.S. civilian employees remained on Wake. On 5 October 1943 saw Admiral Sakaibara in a launched from an aircraft carrier from American air attack, an indication that an invasion was imminent, and ordered the murder of the other 98 Americans.

•In November 1943, an American submarine sank a Japanese hell ship on which there were 548 British and Dutch prisoners of war. According to a statement from three Japanese guards who were just like the rest of the crew picked up by a nearby minesweepers survived about 280 prisoners, which then were all killed. The massacre was for decades kept secret by the British government, in order not to affect relations with Japan.

•SS Tjisalak Massacre – On the 26th March 1944, the Dutch freighter SS Tjisalak by the Japanese submarine I-8 was torpedoed and sunk. The 105 survivors of the freighter crew were then fished out of the water and massacred brutally by the Japanese. Five crew members survived the massacre.

•Palawan Massacre – On the 15th December 1944 were massacred by the Imperial Japanese Army 143 American prisoners of war. The Japanese poured buckets of gasoline on the shelters of the POW camp and set fire to it. The fleeing from the burning shelters prisoners of war were shot amid the laughter of the Japanese officers, beheaded, stabbed with bayonets or beaten to death. Only 11 American prisoners of war who survived the massacre.

Death marches from Sandakan: 1942 and 1943 were brought to Sandakan in North Borneo, in order to build an airfield 3600 Indonesian slave laborers and 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war. Even seriously ill prisoners were forced to work, and many died of starvation or were killed. In January 1945, the first death marches began. Those who no longer had the strength to carry the heavy loads, was killed. The second march began on 29 May The marches were continued until there were hardly any survivors. 9 July decided the Japanese officers to starve the sick prisoners and to do with the remaining one last march to Ranau, where the last prisoners were massacred. The camp was destroyed and the attempt to eliminate all traces of its existence. Only six Australian soldiers who had managed to escape, survived.

Strategy of scorched earth

Many of the crimes committed in China and other areas of crime in connection with the jinmetsu (Sōtō) sakusen (in Japanese, literally “(clean-up) operation Combustion and destruction”) – China’s policy of triple extinction called – the Japanese forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta reported that in China from 1942 to 1945 a policy of triple extinction (Japanese Sanko Sakusen) was performed, which was responsible for the deaths of more than 2.7 million Chinese civilians. This strategy of scorched earth was sanctioned by Emperor Hirohito himself and carried out under the auspices of the Japanese forces until the end of the war. This policy was developed in retaliation against Chinese communists after the Hundred Regiments Offensive.

The name “Sanko Sakusen,” based on the Chinese concept was first in 1957 popularized in Japan, as a former Japanese soldier was discharged from the Fushun war crimes detention center and a controversial book entitled The Three Alls: Confessions of Japanese War Crimes in China (new edition: Kanki Haruo, 1979) published. In this book, some Japanese war veterans to speak who had committed war crimes under the leadership of General Okamura Yasuji. After the publishers of Japanese militarists and ultranationalists had received death threats, they were forced to stop the publication of the book.

The Sanko Sakusen was initiated in 1940 by Major General Ryūkichi Tanaka and performed in 1942 in North China in full by General Yasuji Okamura. Its strategic goal was the complete annihilation of the Communist bases in the disputed provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Shensi, Shanhsi and Chahaer. Note the respective areas “pacified” in were, “halbbefriedete” and “unbefriedete” areas divided. On 3 December 1941 was the Sanko Sakusen, adopted by the Supreme Command of the Imperial Japanese Army under the Order No. 575, the approval of the policy.  Okamura strategy included extinction and retaliation campaigns of the Japanese Army, which burned usually entire villages, anti-Japanese forces or suspects killed indiscriminately, and were all food and fuel furagiert and looted. There are thousands of kilometers of walls and ditches, watchtowers and roads were built by Chinese forced laborers. These operations were aimed at the destruction of all men between fifteen and sixty in age, was which suggested that they might be enemies. 19 million residents in communist controlled areas of China were victims of Sanko Sakusen strategy.

Use of chemical and biological weapons

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, several Japanese army associations investigated with great effort on weapons of mass destruction and put them in China on numerous occasions a. These units put in several operations chemical and biological weapon n a both against enemy troops as well as specifically for the mass killing of civilians.

According to the findings of historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno Yasuji Okamura received from Emperor Hirohito permission chemical weapons during these battles use. During the Battle of Wuhan from August to October 1938, the emperor legitimized the use of poison gas in 375 different missions against 1.1 million Chinese soldiers, of whom 400,000 were killed during the battle. Article 23 of the Hague Convention (1899 and 1907) and Article V of the Treaty in relation to the use of submarines and noxious gases in warfare of 6 February 1921 condemning the use of poison gas by Japan. During the Battle of Changsha in the fall of 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army continued also in large quantities poison gas against Chinese positions. Another example is the Battle of Yichang in October 1941, the 19th Artillery regiment, the 13th Brigade of the 11th Army supported by bombardment of the Chinese armed forces with 1,000 yellow gas shells and 1,500 red gas shells. The area was of Chinese civilians whose evacuation was prohibited by the Japanese army, crowded. About 3,000 Chinese soldiers in the area 1,600 soldiers were greatly affected by the effect of the gas.

End of 1941, Japanese troops were released around 3000 Chinese prisoners of war after they had been previously infected with typhus. As a result, an epidemic was caused both by Chinese troops as well as among the population.

On 5 May 1942 began a large-scale revenge Japanese troops for the so-called Doolittle Raid, in which about 50 Japanese were killed, which in turn was a retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here, regular units of the Japanese army went out back for the action provided for areas in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi, while troops of the unit 731 marched in exactly these areas and began to infect all lakes, springs and rivers with anthrax. Simultaneously, the Japanese air force threw the fight substance over cities or sprayed him over residential areas. In the course of this action, 250,000 people were killed. For further reprisals continued the Japanese army cholera – typhoid – Plague – and dysentery agents.

During the Battle of Changde, Japanese troops used a massive biochemical weapons to break the Chinese defense. In November 1941, members of Unit 731 dropped for the first time with plague from infected fleas from aircraft over Changde. In the ensuing epidemic 7,643 Chinese died. When Japanese troops attacked in 1943 Changde and encountered unexpectedly fierce resistance, they tried this to break by any means during the six-week offensive. During the battle, there was plague outbreaks, of which both Chinese soldiers and civilians were affected. According to several Japanese soldiers of the unit 731 (including Yoshio Shinozuka) they had plague in the form of sprayable warfare agents from aircraft sprayed in and around Changde. Same time, other Army units began (including the unit 516) with the massive use of poison gas, which was mainly shot with artillery shells on both Chinese positions in the surrounding areas as well as in the city. The gas used was, among other things most likely to mustard gas and lewisite. In the battle, 50,000 Chinese soldiers and 300,000 civilians died. How many of them died on the biological and chemical weapons, can not resolve themselves.

All actions of this army units were top secret, and against the war, almost all evidence was destroyed. In many poison gas inserts the sequence in retrospect could only be discovered by Chinese reports and statements in charge of Japanese soldiers. Overall, only a few dozen bioweapons operations are documented, but it is generally believed that it has acted in the majority of seemingly ordinary outbreaks this time in China by actions of the Japanese military.

Human experiments

During the Second World War, about 20,000 Japanese doctors performed experiments on humans. Victims were mostly Chinese, but also Filipino, Indonesian and Vietnamese civilians and American, British and Australian prisoners of war. The first experiments began before the Second World War in Manchuria.

From 1937 on biological and chemical weapons began units of Japanese Army to test on living people and to carry out further tests. One of the most notorious unit was Unit 731 under the command of Shiro Ishii, a Japanese microbiologist and lieutenant general. You people infected with pathogens, took subjects from different disease stages and dissected them alive and fully conscious, because it was feared that an anesthetic would distort the results. Vivisection were also performed in pregnant women, children and infants. In these experiments, 3,500 people were murdered solely by the “Unit 731″.

For the Study of frostbite treatment of prisoners in the open air were carried out in freezing temperatures. Periodically, the bare arms were soaked in water until they were frozen solid. The arm was then amputated, and the doctor repeated the process on the upper arm to the shoulder. After both arms were amputated, this procedure was performed on the legs until only a head and torso remained. The victim was then used for experiments with plague and pathogens.

One of the most notorious cases of human experimentation was conducted in Japan itself. At least nine of the 12 crew members survived on 5 May 1945 the crash of an American B-29 bomber on Kyushu. The crew under Lt. Marvin Watkins was one of 29 Bomb Group of the 6th Bomb Squadron at. Lieutenant Watkins was taken for interrogation to Tokyo, while the other survivors of the anatomy department of Kyushu University were allocated in Fukuoka, where they were subjected to vivisection s and bestial experiments. Lieutenant Watkins was the only survivor captivity. On 11 March 1948 were 30 people in the Kyushu University, including several doctors, indicted by the Allied war crimes tribunal. The counts of cannibalism were dropped, but 23 people were found guilty of vivisection or wrongful removal of body parts guilty. Five defendants were sentenced to death, four to life imprisonment and the rest to fixed-term imprisonment. In 1950, transformed the military governor of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur, all death sentences to terms of imprisonment in order and reduced most sentences clearly. All persons who have been convicted of vivisection at the eight American bomber crew members who came up to the year 1958 again.

As of 1943, the disease susceptibility of white people was tested on American prisoners of war to prepare future missions of biological weapons in the United States, for their transport had developed until 1945 balloon bomb n, which should reach the jet stream to North America.

In 2004, Yuki Tanaka Yoshimi discovered in the Australian National Archives some documents showing that cyanide gas in November 1944 on Kai Islands (Indonesia) was tested on Australian and Dutch prisoners of war.

In 2006, the former medic of the Imperial Japanese Navy Akira Makino stated that his training he was ordered as part to make between December 1944 and February 1945 vivisection on about 30 civilian prisoners in the Philippines. The operations included the amputation of limbs. Ken Yuasa, a former military doctor in China, has also to similar cases in which he was forced to participate in vivisection, admitted.

Famine in occupied countries

The Japanese occupation was exploiting the occupied territories ruthlessly terrorized the population and used them to cover their needs for raw materials. This included the forced labor of millions of people as well, and the logistical confiscation of food of entire countries. The starving population was denied any humanitarian aid. In conjunction with the concentration camp s, in which had to do locals forced labor, and the pronounced, often arbitrary system of oppression directed against resistance groups, this led to several famines that claimed millions of lives. In Vietnam, about two million people, representing approximately 10% of the total population alone died in the famine in 1944-1945. A later UN report talks about four million deaths in Indonesia, who died as a result of famine and forced labor.

The sheer volume of murdered civilians and the disposal of dead bodies associated set is a formidable logistical challenge Many Chinese were divided into so-called “burial teams”, an awful experience, which caused later traumatic memories.

Torture of prisoners of war

The torture of prisoners of war was used by the Japanese imperial forces, mostly in an effort to quickly gather military intelligence, the tortured were then often executed. The former Japanese officer Uno Shintaro, was used during the war in China, has stated “that the torture of prisoners the essential means and an inevitable necessity was to gain information for the news service. After the interrogations and torture the prisoners were killed and buried to cover up the crime. I believed and acted this way because I was by what I did believe. We have only done our duty, as it was ordered. We have done it in the interest of our country, as childlike commitment to our ancestors. On the battlefield, we never really respected the Chinese people. If you win, then see the losers really miserable. We concluded that the Japanese race was superior.”


Many written reports and testimonies collected by the Australian War Crimes Section of the Tokyo tribunal, and investigated by prosecutor William Webb. The investigation revealed that the Japanese occupation forces in many parts of Asia and the Pacific committed cannibalism against Allied prisoners of war. In many cases this was inspired by ever-increasing Allied attacks on Japanese supply lines and through the death and illness of Japanese soldiers as a result of hunger. The historian Yuki Tanaka wrote: “However, cannibalism was often a systematic activity, have held the whole group under the command of officers”. The Japanese soldiers often involved in killings of prisoners of war to secure a share of the bodies. Example, testified Havildar Changdi Ram, an Indian prisoner of war, that on 12 November 1944 the Kempeitai beheaded an Allied pilots. He saw hiding behind a tree, as some Japanese soldiers flesh out cut out of his arms, legs, hips and buttocks, it contributed to their quarters, to cut it into small pieces and fry.

The Indian prisoners of war, Lance Naik Hatam testified that each day a prisoner was selected by the Japanese, killed and eaten by the soldiers in New Guinea. He saw that had thus suffer the same fate in this camp about 100 prisoners. The rest of the prisoners were placed in a 80 km distant camp, where 10 prisoners died of disease. In this camp, a daily selection of prisoners took place. In some cases, the flesh was cut from living people who were then thrown into a ditch where they later died.

The highest-ranking officer who was accused of cannibalism, was Lieutenant General Yoshio Tachibana. He was charged that in August 1944 on Chichi Jima (Bonin Islands), was beheaded a prisoner of the U.S. Navy on his orders, and that the corpse cannibalism fell victim. As the military and international law does not specifically deal with cannibalism, this charge was dropped and he was convicted of murder and attempted “prevention of honorable burial”. Tachibana was sentenced to death and hanged.

Forced labor

The Japanese military continued Asian civilians and prisoners of war as forced laborers. The majority of forced laborers was Korean, Taiwanese or Chinese nationality. According to a joint study by the historian Zhifen Ju, Mitsuyoshi Himeta, Toru Kubo and Mark Peattie more than ten million Chinese civilians were mobilized by the Koa-in (Japanese Asia Development Board) for forced labor.

According to a study by the Japanese Ministry of Finance in the year 1947 724.789 Koreans were forced to work in Japan from 1939 until the Japanese surrender. According to a document of the Japanese Parliament of 1944 also still 16,113 Koreans were forced to work on the then Japanese island Karafuto (Sakhalin) and abducted 5,931 Koreans in the occupied by Japan Southeast Asian countries. In addition to these official figures, there were many other Korean forced laborers, so an exact figure of the total Korean forced laborers and the dead is no longer visible today. The death toll is estimated at about 60,000 forced laborers. According to a report by the Japanese governor from the year 1945 92.748 forced laborers from Taiwan were taken to the Southeast Asian countries and 8,419 forced laborers for armament production to Japan. Based on a decision of the Japanese government 1944-1945 forced laborers were brought to Japan from China in the years. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry in the year 1946 38.935 Chinese were distributed to 15 construction companies and 15 mining companies as well as four other companies around the Japanese mainland. In addition to the Chinese civilians and Chinese prisoners of war were forced to work. According to the data of the Japanese Foreign Ministry 6,830 Chinese forced laborers died.

Under Japanese colonial rule were Koreans and Taiwanese, Japanese nationality. In the official sense, they were not foreigners, but were mostly treated and discriminated against in reality as strangers. Many Koreans and Taiwanese were used in addition to the forced labor as a soldier and as a laborer for the Japanese military. About 4.5 million Koreans were forced from 1939 to 1945 on the Korean peninsula to work. In northeast China (Manchuria) Chinese were already in the thirties and from 1937 also Chinese prisoners of war by the Japanese railway company (Mantetsu) forced to work.

From June 1942 to October 1943, the Japanese army left the Thailand-Burma Railway, also known as Burma Railway or Thai-Burma Railway, of 65,000 prisoners of war from Australia, the Netherlands and England and more than 300,000 Asian workers from Malaysia, Burma, Indochina , Vietnam and Thailand to build. In the construction of nearly 415 km long railway line approximately 94,000 civilians and 14,000 prisoners of war were killed.

The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java between four and ten million romusha (Japanese: manual workers) were forced by the Japanese military to work. Of the approximately 270,000 Javanese workers who were employed in the Japanese-occupied areas of Southeast Asia for forced labor, returned only 52,000 workers to Java returned, representing a mortality rate of 80%.

In the English military processes of Singapore 111 Japanese soldiers were charged with mistreatment and murder of prisoners of war, but not because of abuse and murders of Asian workers. Among these 111 Japanese soldiers were 33 Koreans who were forcibly employed as guards of prisoners of war. 32 Japanese and nine Koreans were sentenced to death.

The Japanese government has paid to several Asian countries such as the Philippines, Burma, Indochina and South Vietnam reparations but individual forced laborers were still compensated neither by the Japanese government of the company. Several foreign governments, including China and Indonesia agreed to waive reparations. The Japanese government rejected the compensation to individual laborers. Koreans and Chinese lead now with the help of Japanese citizens’ lawsuits against the Japanese government and companies. Since the Japanese government has all the processes banned for forced labor, the Japanese company will be asked in writing to apologize for it and talk about the compensation of forced laborers with the lawyer representatives from Chinese lawyers. Relying on the Xinhua News Agency reported the China Internet Information Center on a list of 20 Japanese companies that had been written by Chinese lawyers: “According to media reports, objects on the list several famous Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Nippon Mining. Some of them have already started negotiations with Chinese laborers.” Of the 40,000 Chinese who were kidnapped in the period 1944-1945 to Japan and forced into hard labor, (March 2009) there are approximately 700 Chinese alive. Comfort women

The term “comfort women” (ian-fu) is a euphemism for women who were zwangsprostituiert in brothel s of the Japanese military during the Second World War. The Asia-Pacific War was not the first case in which women have been abused by the Japanese army. When the Japanese attacked in 1918 Siberia, the Japanese army took prostitute from Japan. With the invasion of China in 1932, the recruitment of young women was systematized as comfort women. The recruited women were mostly 14-25 years of age, unmarried, and possessed the most part have no training. Each woman had to be about 30 to 40 soldiers to services every day. Many died of disease, torture or starvation before the end of the war. In the last weeks of the war thousands of comfort women were murdered, only about 30 percent survived the war. It is estimated 100,000 affected 300,000 girls and women. In Japan, one speaks of 10,000 to 200,000 victims. The People’s Republic of China, there is now only 200,000 victims in their country to. Most of the victims were from Korea and Taiwan, but also from other territories such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and China. Some traditional women also from Japan, the Netherlands and Australia.

Published in 1992, historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, the material on research in the archives of Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies. Yoshimi claimed that there was a direct link between imperial institutions such as the Koa-in, and the Comfort Station (military brothels). On 12 January 1993 saw the publication of Yoshimis findings in the Japanese media furore and forced the government, represented by the Cabinet Secretary Koichi Kato, on the same day to acknowledge some of the facts. On 17 January 1993 presented Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi during a trip to South Korea a formal apology for the suffering of the victims. On 6 July 1993 4 August 1993 gave the Japanese government said in a statement that were operated “military brothels in response to the request of the then military” and “The Japanese military was directly or indirectly involved in the creation and management of military brothels and the transfer of comfort women” and that the women “were recruited in many cases against their will through coaxing and coercion”.

The controversy was on 1 March 2007 out again, as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the proposals of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee to urge the Japanese government to recognize the role of the Japanese imperial army during World War II because of sexual slavery and apologize for it refused. According to Shinzo Abe, there is no evidence that the women were forced into military brothels. Abe’s comments provoked negative reactions abroad. For example, the New York Times wrote on 6 March 2007:

These were not commercial brothels. In the recruitment of girls and women explicit and implicit force was used. In military brothels not prostitution was investigated, but it took place there serial rape. The participation of the Japanese army is documented in Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies.A senior official from Tokyo apologized in 1993, more or less, he has reluctantly recognized the quasi-apology in 1993 for these horrible crimes … Yesterday, but only as part of a preventive declaration that his government would reject the call for an official apology, which in Congress of the United States is pending. America is not the only country that is interested in seeing Japan belatedly accepts full responsibility. Korea, China and the Philippines are angry even after years of Japanese ambiguity on the subject.

On 17 April 2007 reported Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Hirofumi Hayashi to have found seven documents the Tokyo processes, indicating in that the Imperial Japanese military forces – for example, the Tokkeitai (military police of the Navy) – daughters of men, which the Kempeitai (Military Police Army) attacked, forced to work in brothels on the front line in China, Indochina and Indonesia. Originally, these documents had been published at the war crimes trials. One of these documents quoted a lieutenant who reported to have such a brothel decorated and used itself. Another source reported Tokkeitai members, the women of the street arrested away, leaving a medical examination under duress and then introduced into the brothels.

On 12 May 2007 published Taichiro Kaijimura 30 documents of the Dutch government, which were sent to the Tokyo Tribunal, which report of forced mass prostitution during an incident in 1944 in Magelang.

In other cases, testified some victims from East Timor that they were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers before their first menstruation.

January Ruff-O’Hearn (now living in Australia), a Dutch-Indonesian “comfort woman,” was when she was 21, raped over a period of three months, “Day and Night” by Japanese soldiers. Jan Ruff-O’Hearn is of the opinion that the Japanese government had failed to take responsibility for their crimes. The Japanese government now wanted to rewrite history so they would have to pay the victims without compensation.

In the year 1971, when only up to the present day, a Japanese woman her statement published (July 2007). Under the pseudonym Suzuko Shirota, she published her memoirs, as she was forced as a former comfort woman to work for the Japanese Imperial Army in Taiwan.

After 1945, many documents were destroyed, so they could not pull as war criminals to justice those involved. Many women were murdered by the Japanese military or prevented from returning to their home countries. Those who came into the camp of the Allies were able to return to their homes after some time. Many of them were silent out of shame about their past or were stigmatized and marginalized of society. At the war crimes trials forced prostitution was not discussed.

On 26 June 2007, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution that Japan should apologize and acknowledge in a clear and unambiguous manner, that it had to accept for his military coercion of women into sexual slavery during the war, the historical responsibility. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regretted the decision of the House of Representatives on 30 July 2007 Resolution adopted.


Many historians can prove that the Japanese government and individual military personnel were involved during the period 1895-1945 to widespread looting. The looting were dealing with all kinds of valuable assets from banks, custodians, temples, churches and other commercial real estate, mosques, museums and private homes, including private land ownership. During the occupation of Nanking, the Japanese looted stores and robbed the civilians everything they had, including jewelry, coins, pets, food, clothing, art, and worthless things such as cigarettes, eggs, fountain pens and buttons.

By looting the Japanese forces during the Second World War in Southeast Asia, the so-called Yamashita gold, also known as the Yamashita treasure has been gathered, and the spoils to have been hidden in caves, tunnels and underground complexes in the Philippines. The treasure was named after the Japanese General Yamashita Tomoyuki, who was also known as “Tiger of Malaya”. Although reports of people who want to have hidden the treasure, were known to exist in the Philippines, the treasure hunters from around the world, attracting more than 50 years, with most experts is controversial. Rumors after the treasure has been the subject of a complex process, which was filed in 1988 in a state court in Hawaii and on which the Filipino treasure hunter Rogelio Roxas and former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos were involved.

Among the celebrities who were concerned with the existence of Yamashita’s gold, also include Sterling and Peggy Seagrave. In her book about Yamashita’s Gold claim the Seagraves that the looting on a large scale of yakuza gangsters such as Yoshio Kodama, organized, and that the highest circles of Japanese society, including Emperor Hirohito involved in it were. The Japanese government intended with the loot from Southeast Asia to finance Japan’s war effort. Continue to hold the Seagraves that Emperor Hirohito’s brother, Prince Yasuhito Chichibu appointed for this purpose as the head of a secret organization called Kin. Also, it is claimed that many were from those who knew the locations of the hidden loot, killed during the war and later executed by the Allies for war crimes or detained. General Yamashita himself was for war crimes on 23 February 1946 executed in Manila.

According to various reports, the loot was initially concentrated in Singapore and later brought to the Philippines. The Japanese hoped after the war, the treasure from the Philippines to bring my boat to the Japanese home islands. Through the advanced Pacific War in 1943 the Japanese were always inflicted by Allied submarines and aircraft heavier losses on its merchant ships, with some vessels that should bring the booty back to Japan were sunk.

The Seagraves, Lansdale and Santa Romana claim that the U.S. military intelligence with the support of Emperor Hirohito and other senior Japanese figures, had spent much of the gold loot on 176 reliable banks in 42 different countries. These gold deposits were created under numerous aliases to keep the identity of the true owner secret. These Gold systems, the intelligence activities of the United States were funded around the world during the Cold War. These rumors have many hopeful treasure hunters inspired, but most experts and Philippine historians are of the opinion that there are no ‘credible evidence.

In 1992, claimed Imelda Marcos that Yamashita’s gold making up a large part of her husband Ferdinand assets.


The persecution of Japanese war criminals was already announced in the Potsdam Agreement of the Allies. After the surrender of Japan, the alleged major war criminals at the instigation of the American commander in chief and governor in Japan, General Douglas A. MacArthur, was arrested. There are over 100 people in the so-called Class A war criminals were arrested, led by former Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo. About it was directed at Tokyo’s process.

In addition to the Tokyo process numerous proceedings against war criminals from the so-called B-and C-Class took place. In the trials of war criminals of the B-and C-class a total of about 5,700 members of the Japanese military were indicted between October 1945 and April 1951, 2,244 procedures. Against 984 defendants the death penalty was imposed and carried out in 920 cases. 1,018 people were found not guilty, sentenced the remaining defendants generally to prison, some of which were suspended or canceled. To the circle of convicted war criminals also included 178 ethnic Taiwanese and 148 ethnic Koreans. Unlike the Tokyo trial was not made thorough findings of fact in many trials against war criminals of the B-and C-Class, it is therefore often led to mistaken identity, false accusations and wrongful convictions. The defendants were partly not even defenders and interpreters to the side. Compared with the Tokyo process, the standards of a fair trial were far less attention.

Tokyo processes

All Japanese war criminals of the A-Class has been indicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo. The court was composed of 11 allied nations (Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Soviet Union and the United States of America). Of the arrested suspects of the A-Class 28 men was tried before IMTFE in Tokyo. Accused were nine civilians and 19 military personnel, among them were four former Prime Minister (Hiranuma, Hirota, Koiso and Tojo), three former Foreign Minister (Matsuoka, Shigemitsu and Togo), four former Minister of War (Araki, Hata, Itagaki and Minami), two former ministers the Navy (Nagano and Shimada), six former generals (Doihara, Kimura, Matsui, Muto, Sato and Umezu), two former ambassadors (Oshima and Shiratori), three former executives of the Economic and Finance (Hoshino, Kaya and Suzuki) , an imperial advisor (Kido), a radical theorist (Okawa), an admiral (Oka) and a colonel (Hashimoto).

Of the 28 defendants Yosuke Matsuoka and Osami Nagano died of natural causes during the process. The accused Shumei Okawa had on the first trial, a nervous breakdown, after which he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and was discharged in 1948 as a free man. The remaining 25 defendants were all found guilty, many of them for multiple offenses. Seven convicts were sentenced to death by hanging, 16 war criminals were sentenced to life imprisonment and two to temporally limited in prison. Three of the 16 to life in prison convicted war criminal died 1949-1950 in prison. The remaining 13 war criminals were released 1954-1956 probation and thus have sat for their crimes against millions of people only about eight years in prison.

Hirohito and all members of the imperial family who were implicated in the war such as Prince Chichibu, Prince Asaka, and Prince Takeda Higashikuni were relieved and spared the prosecution by General MacArthur. Many historians criticize this decision (according to John Dower with the “full support of the MacArthur Center, law enforcement works in fact as a defense for the emperor.”). Even Japanese activists who endorse the ideals of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charter and have been working to document the atrocities of the Showa regime and publish to “the American decision to exonerate the emperor of the responsibility of war, then in the freshness of the Cold War publicly accused war criminals like the later prime minister Kishi Nobusuke hugs, not defend.” Herbert Bix, “MacArthur’s truly extraordinary measures to save Hirohito as a war criminal before the process had a lasting and deeply distorting impact on Japanese understanding of the lost war.”

Other legal proceedings

Between 1946-1951 took place in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, the USSR, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the Philippines military tribunals. Were charged with the war crimes of the B-and C-Class. Around 5,700 people have been charged in Japan, and more than 2,200 people have been charged in war crimes tribunals outside of Japan. The offenses referred to in Article 5 IMTFE statute provides three conditions groups: “crimes against peace”, “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”, which largely correspond to the facts types of IMT Statute of Nuremberg. The defendants in the B-Class have been accused of this offense personally. The defendant of the C-Class, mostly senior officers, the planning and arrangement or the prevention of such crimes was accused.

The judge presiding came from the United States, China, Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, France, the Soviet Union, New Zealand, India and the Philippines. In addition, China has taken a number of criminal cases against Japanese people. Of the more than 4,400 convicted Japanese about 1,000 Japanese were sentenced to death.

The War Crimes Trial of Nanjing was used in 1946 by the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-Shek and conducted war crimes trials of the B and C class. Four officers of the Imperial Japanese Army were indicted for crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War and sentenced to death: Lieutenant General Hisao Tani, company commander Captain Gunkichi Tanaka and the lieutenant Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda, who had against each other in a competition stood first who 100 People would kill with a sword (Hyakunin-giri Kyōsō). Ivane Matsui was convicted in the Tokyo process; Prince Kotohito Kanin Kesago Nakajima and Heisuke Yanagawa were dead since 1945, Isamu Cho had committed suicide and Prince Asaka was granted by General Douglas MacArthur as a member of the imperial family immunity, thus Hisao Tani was the only high officer who was indicted for the massacre of Nanking. On 6 February 1947 he was found guilty and on 10 March executed by firing squad. The two involved in the killing of competition officers and Captain Gunkichi Tanaka were also convicted and executed to death. According to the official estimate of the International Militaertribunals in Tokyo 200,000 people died in the massacre of Nanjing killed.

In December 1949 12 members of the Japanese Kwantung Army were accused in the war crimes trial of Khabarovsk (Soviet Union), who were involved in the development of biological weapons. Among the defendants were the last commander of the Kwantung Army Yamada Otozō and five other generals of the Kwantung Army. The majority of the defendants were physicians or biologists. All 12 defendants were sentenced to prison terms of between two and 25 years for war crimes in connection with the development, production and use of chemical and biological weapons in the Chinese theater of World War II.

The largest single criminal case dealt with the Laha massacre of 1942. 93 people in the former Japanese forces were charged with the execution of more than 300 Allied prisoners of war. To the condemned included the ethnic Korean Lt. Gen. Hong Sa-ik, who was responsible for the organization of prisoner of war camps in the Philippines. In 2006, the South Korean government pardoned 83 prisoners of the 148 Korean war criminals.

The Trials of Yokohama were negotiations against the Japanese who had committed crimes against the customs of war in the Pacific war, without being a war criminal Class A. In the courts it was military tribunals (military commission) on the U.S. model. The “Regulations” of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) for war crimes trials of 5 December 1945 were used. Conducted they were under the aegis of the “Legal Section, Yokohama” of the 8th U.S. Army. Of the of the U.S. Army in Asia as a whole performed 474 negotiations 319 took place in Yokohama.

The Trials of Guam were cases against members of the Imperial Japanese Army, who had committed crimes against the customs of war in the Pacific War. In the courts it was military tribunals (military tribunal) to the U.S. model. While turning, the Navy, the “Regulations” of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) for war crimes trials of 5 December 1945 to, but kept it on, adjust them if necessary. To 21 May 1949 found the process to an end. In a total of 47 cases against together 123 defendants came to 113 convictions and ten acquittals. 30 convicts were sentenced to death. Ten of these death sentences were carried out, without the converted death sentences, there were 16 sentences to life imprisonment.

The War Crimes Trials in China were negotiations with Japanese as the B-and C-class war criminals who had committed during the Second Sino-Japanese War 1937-1946 crimes against customs of war. This was to procedures that were carried out under the auspices of the Nationalist government before 1949. These processes can be distinguished by the U.S. courts-martial, the expiating crimes against American airmen in Shanghai.

In Manila, the war crimes trials and 31 were December 1946 conducted by the American colonial power, then of Filipino military tribunals against Japanese C-and B-class war criminals or their assistants for statements made during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines war crimes.

Post-war events and reactions

Probation for War Crimes

In 1950, most Allied war crimes trials were completed, thousands of convicted war criminals were incarcerated in prisons in Asia and Europe, in the countries in which they were convicted. Some death sentences had not been carried out by many tribunals of the Allies. The introduction of a probation system covered some tribunals their judgments but, without sacrificing control over the fate of the imprisoned war criminals, even after Japan and Germany have their status regained as sovereign states.

An intense and widely supported action for an amnesty for all imprisoned war criminals ensued only when attention has been focused on the majority of “normal” war of the B-and C-class in Japan and considered the question of criminal responsibility as a humanitarian problem was.

On 7 March 1950 issued MacArthur a policy that for good behavior, the sentence is reduced by a third, and authorized the courts to suspend the life imprisonment after serving 15 years on probation. Due to poor health some of the prisoners have been released early on parole.

The Japanese popular reaction to the Tokyo process was reflected in the demand for mitigation of the punishment of war criminals and agitation for probation. Shortly after the Peace Treaty of San Francisco came into force in April, 1952, a movement began for the release of B-and C-class war criminals. The emphasis on the “unfairness of the war crimes tribunals” and the “misery and hardship of the families of war criminals” quickly gained the support of more than ten million Japanese. Given this massive increase of public opinion commenting on the Japanese government that “public opinion in our country that the war criminals are not criminals. Rather, they gather great sympathy as victims of the war, and the number of people who are concerned about the war crimes trial system has increased steadily.”The movement for the probation of war criminals was powered by two groups: those who had from the outside “a sense of pity ‘for the prisoners, and the war itself, which had called for their own version as part of an anti-war peace movement. The movement, which was of “a sense of compassion” driven, urged the Freedom of the war criminals, regardless of the way in which this is achieved.

On 4 September 1952 issued President Harry S. Truman Executive Order 10393 establishing a committee to reduced sentences and probation of war criminals. Thus, the Japanese government has penalties that were imposed on Japanese war criminals before military courts, suspend the sentence or reduce the sentence.

On 26 May 1954 rejected Secretary of State John Foster Dulles from a proposed amnesty for the imprisoned war criminals, instead he settled a “change the rules” by the deadline for eligibility of parole from the required 15 years reduced to 10 years.

Until the end of 1958 all Japanese A-, B-and C-class war criminals were released from prison and politically rehabilitated, including the 1954 and 1955 laid the years on probation Hashimoto Kingoro, Hata Shunroku, Minami Jiro Oka Takazumi and Araki Sadao Hiranuma Kiichiro, Hoshino Naoki, Kaya Okinori, Kido Koichi, Hiroshi Oshima, Shimada Shigetarō and Suzuki Teiichi. Sato Kenryo is considered one of the convicted war criminal who got according to some Japanese figures, including Judge BVA Röling, he deserves prison sentence and was released in March 1956 as the last Japanese A-class war criminals on parole. On 7 April 1957 announced the Japanese government that the last ten major Japanese war criminals a reprieve was granted with a majority approval of the competent for sentencing courts.

Official apology

The Japanese government believes that the legal and moral positions are separated with respect to war crimes. While maintaining that Japan violated no international laws or treaties, the Japanese government has officially suffering that has caused the Japanese military recognized, and there have been numerous excuses uttered by the Japanese government. For example, Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi on 15 August 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II found in the so-called Murayama statement that “Japan through its colonial rule and aggression, caused enormous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly those of Asian nations, caused”. He expressed also “feelings of deep remorse” and stated his “heartfelt apology”. This declaration is officially still the attitude of the Japanese government for wartime past.

In a joint communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China 29 September 1972 told the Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei in the preamble: “The Japanese side feels deeply responsible for the severe damage that Japan has inflicted on the Chinese people during the war, he retreats into himself”.

In April 2005, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said in a speech at the Asia-Africa Summit: “In the past, Japan has done through its colonial rule and aggression to people of many nations, especially in Asian countries, terrible harm and suffering.” He felt “deep regret” for his wartime past. It’s not the first time that apologized Japan for its war crimes in World War II. Koizumi’s remarks coincide with Japan’s previous statements. But it is the first time in over a decade that a Japanese prime minister she led in a speech at an international meeting. Koizumi’s speech was seen as an attempt to dampen anti-Japanese sentiment in China and South Korea. These were boiled after Japan had an instruction book admitted that, according to critics, the Japanese crime trivialized in the war.

Also on the 60th Anniversary of the surrender of his country, the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has apologized for that caused by Japan during World War II suffering. He also willed showed up with its Asian neighbors (notably China and South Korea) for peace and development in the region to use. Japan had “caused tremendous damage and suffering” through colonial rule and invasion war in many countries, especially in Asia, Koizumi said in a statement. Although Koizumi’s words of apology, a repetition of what he had said in April 2005 at the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta, but that he was directly related to China and South Korea, evaluated the Kyodo news agency as an attempt, the last heavily loaded relationships to improve.

However, the official apologies are widely viewed as inadequate or only a symbolic exchange for many of the survivors of such crimes or for the families of the dead victims. As part of his first trip abroad to the PRC Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during the press conference following the visit on 8 October 2006 issues of the press: “Our country has embarked in the sixty years since the end of the war his way on the basis of deep regret over the fact that Japan inflicted in the past the people in Asian countries great harm and suffering and these people scars have left. I have assured that this feeling of the people who have lived in these sixty years, and is shared by myself. It will also change in the future”. In the same press conference, Prime Minister Abe also expressed to the question of Koizumi’s controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine’s in Tokyo – the shrine in which the war dead of Japan are consecrated (including convicted war criminals) – and that he had explained his view it. “As to whether I have visited the Yasukuni Shrine or would like to visit him, I said that I will not comment, because this has become a political and diplomatic issue. I will not get into it.”  Many people who have been harmed by Japanese war crimes, claiming that no excuse for certain actions has been issued, or that the Japanese government had merely expressed “regret” or “remorse”.

On 2 March 2007, again raised the issue of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, by denying that the Japanese military had forced into sexual slavery during the Second World War women. According to Shinzo Abe, there is no evidence that the women were forced into military brothels. This adverse reaction has provoked the Asian and Western countries. It supports the opinion of those who accuse Tokyo, not to atone fully for the atrocities of war. Due to the fierce debate about the controversial topic eventually Prime Minister Abe was forced to apologetic statement, his previous statements, however, did not take back.

On 31 October 2008, the Chief of Staff of Japan’s Air Defense Force Toshio Tamogami with a severance payment of 60 million yen was released (about 670,000 U.S. dollars). In a published study, Toshio Tamogami expressed with the argument that Japan was not an aggressor in World War II, but the war in China, Taiwan and Korea brought prosperity. He further argues that the behavior of the Japanese Imperial Army was not violent and the Greater East Asia War in many Asian countries would be considered in a positive way, but they criticize the war crimes trials. On 11 November defended Tamogami his controversial justification for the war in Japan before the House of Lords committee on foreign affairs and defense. Tamogami is of the opinion that the personal apology, which was put forward in 1995 by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, only “a tool to suppress the freedom of speech” was.

In Japanese society are some of the opinion that the Japanese Prime Minister or the Emperor had the dogeza perform. Dogeza (Eng. about: sitting directly on the floor) is an element of the Japanese manners by kneeling in the upper body leans directly on the floor breaking ground until the head touches the ground, the hands are stretched out sideways on the floor. Dogeza is the particular expression of a deep apology in East Asian societies. Some Japanese refer to an act of the West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, at the monument to the Jewish victims of the Warsaw Ghetto s knelt in 1970, as an example of a powerful and effective act of apology and reconciliation similar to dogeza, although not everyone agrees being.

At John Borneman, Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, it is relying on the action Brandt as an example, “an apology represents a non-material or purely symbolic exchange, in which the offender voluntarily lowers his own status as a person “. Borneman further: As soon as this kind of apology is given, the injured person must be willing to forgive and seek reconciliation, otherwise the apology has no effect. The victim may the apology for several reasons refuse, one of which is sufficient to prevent reconciliation, because “by keeping the memory of the wound alive, prevent rejections confirmation of mutual humanity by exploits the energy of the state permanent victim is embedded “.

The argument that a nation is reluctant to accept the conciliatory gestures of Japan, due to the fact that Japan does not feel deep remorse and not sincerely apologizes. As long as Japan’s mistake does not recognize open, heartfelt apology and compensation guaranteed, Japan, although there are still so loudly lamented the suffering that had to see himself thrust into the international community to no understanding.


There is a widespread perception that the Japanese government did not accept legal responsibility for compensation, and failed as a direct result of this refusal to compensate the individual victims of Japanese atrocities. Particular, there are a number of prominent human rights and women’s rights organizations, who still see in Japan a moral or legal responsibility for the individual compensation of the victims, especially to the girls and women who are forced by the Japanese military in occupied countries in military brothels were.

The Japanese government accepted officially qualify for financial compensation for victims of war crimes in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration. The details of this compensation have been governed by bilateral agreements with individual countries, except North Korea, because Japan South Korea recognizes as the sole legitimate government of the Korean peninsula. Of the participating Asian countries, the claims were either abandoned to compensation or paid by Japan in the context of specific agreements to be used for individual compensation. In some cases, such as with South Korea and Indonesia, the compensation was not paid to the victims, but used for political projects and other works. For this reason, given a large number of individual victims in Asia without compensation.

Therefore, the Japanese government’s position is that the right way for the further claims are the governments of the applicants. As a result, each individual claim for compensation, which was introduced before Japanese courts refused to accept it. This was the case in relation to a complaint of a former British prisoners of war, who unsuccessfully attempted the Japanese government to sue for additional compensation. As a result, the British government paid later additional compensation for all British prisoners of war. In Japan, there have been complaints that the international media have simply stated that the former POW demand compensation and not clearly established that it is (in addition to the previously paid by the Japanese government) to further compensation.

All applications in the U.S. courts for additional compensation of former soldiers who were Japanese prisoners of war were rejected because of international agreements of the United States further individual lawsuits were excluded for compensation for work done during the war forced labor.

The Master Agreement between the Republic of Korea and Japan on 22 June 1965 signed. During the contract negotiations, the Japanese government proposed to pay a financial compensation for the individual Korean victims, in line with the payments to western POWs. The South Korean government insisted that Japan (instead of the cash payments to the victims to make), the South Korean government provides the funds for the economic development of the country are available. South Korea received 800 million dollars in grants and loans from Tokyo as reparations. In the mid-1970s, the South Korean government paid under then-President Park Chung-hee, under the provisional law, only a partial amount of reparations to some war victims from. Only in 2004, the South Korean government has published the content of the negotiations, although he was known for contracting with the Japanese public. Following the announcement of the trial data by the South Korean government sued a number of beneficiaries the government to pay an individual victim compensation. Since the compensation laws for the affected Koreans 31 December were abolished in 1982, there were no legal grounds for compensation before, so the suits were dismissed.

In 1972, China and Japan normalized relations with a contract and assured each other of wanting to look into the future. The Chinese government renounced reparations, the Japanese granted in exchange for high interest loans as development assistance. Although the Chinese government has waived the moral or legal responsibility for compensation, but critics point out that Japan has recognized the transfer of Japanese assets from the colonial period to the respective governments in contracts. Consequently, individual victims could be compensated from the proceeds of such transfers. However, it is disputed by Japan to have acquired large amounts of other Japanese assets during the colonial period by plunder, as was the case of the stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War in Europe or collected works of art.

1995 was established by the Japanese Government of the Asian Women’s Fund as a private fund to pay financial compensation to affected women. The current conducted by the then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama fund was financed by donations from the Japanese public. The Japanese government had donated 750 million yen (about 6.75 million euros), approximately 565 million yen (approximately 5 million euros) came from private donors. With this money, 364 former comfort women in Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the Netherlands were supported. The government stressed, however, the money was intended for “medical and social assistance” and not as compensation. For this purpose, they received an unofficial, signed written by the acting Prime Minister apology. Many former forced prostitutes refused because of the unofficial nature of the Fund to apply for this compensation. Many expect and demand a direct apology and compensation from the Japanese government. However, the Japanese government will move to the position that the problem had been solved with the peace treaties after the war. In early 2005 the dissolution of the Fund at March 2007 was announced. In Indonesia, the former comfort women could not be determined, so that the Indonesian government was able to build 69 social services for seniors with 380 million yen (3.4 million euros) from the Asian Women’s Fund.

The reality is that without a sincere and unequivocal apology from the Japanese government, the majority of the surviving comfort women these funds would not accept.

Between compensation

The term interim compensation (or intermediate between compensation) was, especially the military-industrial assets used in reducing and redistributing the Japanese industry to allied countries. It was conducted under the supervision of the Allied occupation forces. This redistribution was as interim compensation, because they are not carried out on a final settlement through bilateral contracts, as under all the existing issues of compensation. By 1950, the umzuverteilende assets amounted to 43,918 machines products worth 165 158 839 yen (prices of 1950 about 11 million U.S. dollars). Of this product assets 54.1 percent in China, 11.5 percent in the Netherlands, 19 percent in the Philippines and 15.4 percent were distributed to the United Kingdom.

Compensation under the San Francisco Treaty

On 28 April 1952 became Japan, according to the Peace Treaty of San Francisco on 8 September 1951, the full sovereignty back. By the Treaty of San Francisco World War II was also completed diplomatically in the Pacific region, and Japan was the role of imperial supremacy in Asia. At the same time it regulates the compensation of the former Allied civilians and prisoners of war who have suffered under the Japanese war crimes. Japan committed itself to reparations, the later closed it agreements with the Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, and Vietnam.

Compensation by Japanese overseas assets

Japanese overseas assets refers to all assets in colonized or occupied countries, the Japanese government, the companies, organizations and individuals belong. According to Article 14 of the Treaty of San Francisco all Japanese overseas assets are seized with the exception of those in China who were treated with under Article 21 of the Allies. It is expected that Korea will also use the rights provided for in Article 21 of the Japanese foreign assets in 1945.

Japanese overseas assets in 1945 (¥ 15 = U.S. $ 1)

Value into yen  Value in U.S. $

Korea  70.256 billion  468 370 000

Taiwan  42.542 billion  2.8461 billion

Northeast China  146 532 000 000  9.7688 billion

North China  55.437 billion  3.6958 billion

Central Southern China  36.718 billion  2.4479 billion

Other Countries  28.014 billion  1.8676 billion

total  379 499 000 000  25.3 billion

Compensation of Allied prisoners of war

Japan is committed under Article 16 of the Treaty of San Francisco, the nationals of the Allied Powers and the families of the countries that were neutral during the war, to compensate for undue hardship they have suffered during the Japanese prisoner of war. Japan may represent the counterpart of these foreign assets for the International Committee of the Red Cross available, which then distribute the national agencies of the Red Cross for the benefit of former prisoners of war and their families on this agreement just after his election. The categories of assets in Article 14 (a) 2 (II) (ii) to (v) of the present Treaty and the assets of native Japanese who are domiciled in Japan at the time the contract is concluded, be excluded from the transfer. Likewise, the transfer provisions of this Article shall not apply to the current 19,770 shares of Japanese financial institutions, which the Bank for International Settlements in possession.

Accordingly, the Japanese government and individuals paid out £ 4.5 million to the Red Cross.

Former Allied prisoners of war later filed a citing Article 16 of the Treaty of San Francisco claims for compensation against Japan. In 1998, a court in Tokyo rejected the compensation from the former Allied prisoners of war on the grounds that Japan already under the San Francisco Treaty, had paid £ 4.5 million to the Red Cross and the Red Cross is responsible for the payment of compensation.

According to the historian Linda Goetz Holmes, many of the used by the Government of Japan funds were not Japanese funds but relief funds, the aid money were confiscated by the governments of the U.S., the UK and the Netherlands in the last year of the war in the Yokohama Specie Bank.

Compensation from 1941 to 1945 occupied countries

China renounced reparations and is so far a special case, when Japan met with most of the other main victims of the East Asian-Pacific War, at least in one or the other type of compensation agreements. The basis of which was the American side with great forbearance toward Japan negotiated peace treaty of San Francisco, who noted in Article 14, that the country “has to pay the Allies for the damage caused in the war damage and suffering reparations”. The U.S., however, limited the obligation at the same time a, because “if one assumes that a viable economy is to maintain Japan’s current resources are not sufficient to fully pay reparations for the damage and suffering above and at the same time to repay other debts”.

The first raised as early as 1951/52, claims Indonesia in the amount of 18 billion U.S. dollars and the Philippines of 8 billion dollars could Japan reject this background, since already the 8 billion dollars about three times the Japanese household in 1954 corresponded. In the spring of 1955 Japan joined with Burma a reparations amounting to 250 million U.S. dollars. In 1956, Japan joined with the Philippines reparations amounting to 500 million U.S. dollars, spread over 20 years, and another 30 million dollars for technical services. Similarly, the amount of additional 20 million U.S. dollars in compensation to the war widows and orphans was established in this Agreement. More reparations with Indonesia (1958), Laos (1958), Cambodia (1959) and South Vietnam (1959) followed. In the 1960s, other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore were added. It was, with few exceptions, no individual compensation, but indirectly through global agreements to the countries concerned. At the same time renounced Japan pursuant to Article 14 of the treaty on its assets abroad.

Japanese compensation to occupied countries (1941-1945)


Amount in Yen

Amount in U.S. $

Date of the contract

Burma  72,000,000,000  200,000,000  5 November 1955

Philippines  198 000 000 000  550,000,000  9 May 1956

Indonesia  80.388 billion  223 080 000  20th January 1958

South Vietnam  14.4 billion  38,000,000  13th May 1959

Cambodia 1,500,000,000  4.164 million  2 March 1959

Laos  1,000,000,000  2,776,000  15th October 1958

total  367 348 800 000  1.01894 billion

On 22 July 1976, the final payment to the Philippines was made.

In the period 1955-1976 the reparations Japan accounted for approximately 635 million U.S. dollars, that corresponds to 7.10 U.S. dollars per head of the Japanese population. In comparison, the reparations from 1945 amounted to 1953 for East Germany to 4,292 million U.S. dollars (per capita 233.80 U.S. dollars) and for West Germany to 529 million U.S. dollars (per capita 11.40 U.S. dollars).

With respect to these reparations but admits even the Japanese Ministry of Finance: “We managed Japan at the reparations through tough and years of insisting on one’s own point of view to reduce the actual reparation in effect considerably. Also, since the delay in finalizing the reparations, was Japan, which at that time was in a period of high economic growth, viewed from the overall situation here, the payment of reparations not difficult. The delay caused further that the rebuilt Japan could use the reparations and the free economic relief in its economic recovery expansion into Southeast Asia located springboard “.

Compensation issue in Japan

The amount of reparations to Asian countries that are since April 1977 as a complete, totaled slightly more than one trillion yen. There is a considerable gap between the expenditure for reparations to Asian countries and expenditure for the support of part of Japanese war victims. Japanese nationals “in a special relationship to the state were” during the war, so former soldiers and employees of the Japanese military and their dependents, still receive a generous support from the Japanese government. This support is at 950.000 former soldiers and 880,000 surviving dependents (as of March 1995). More than half of them are in 1947 founded “Association of Bereaved Japanese War Fallen” member. This association has a major impact on the Japanese public and forms a not insignificant votes reservoir for the Liberal Democratic Party. From 1952-1994 39 trillion yen were made to support payments to the responsible persons. In 1988, payments reached its peak and since then decreases the number of recipients, and presently annually about 2 trillion yen (as of 1994) provided for that purpose.

Of this support system are civilian war victims as well as the Japanese military recruited soldiers or other military employees from the former colonies of Japan, Taiwan and Korea are excluded. Thus, the real victims of the Japanese war of aggression in Asia were not beneficiaries of the reparations. Since 1990, approximately 50 compensation claims were filed by former comfort women, forced labor, military personnel or prisoners of war in Japanese dishes. The majority of applicants are South Koreans or living in Japan Koreans. Today, the Japanese government is studying the damage caused, and the participation of military and other government organizations to the injury actions. The official position of the Government of Japan includes only the recognition of a moral responsibility for the controversial in these procedures damage. All legal responsibilities is negated with reference to a comprehensive and final settlement of all reparations through bilateral agreements and the lack of subject ability of the individual in international law.

Past in Japan

Japan is today accused of denying its own war crimes during the second Sino-Japanese war or perspective. However, the controversial cases of the Japanese imperial era are publicly debated in the media, the various political parties and ideological groups take quite different positions. Japan is a democracy with absolute freedom of expression and freedom of speech, accordingly, a variety of views of history is acceptable. A prohibition law against re-operation or the Federal Compensation Act corresponding law is non-existent in the Japanese legal system. Therefore, in Japan, the denial of the Japanese war crimes will not be prosecuted while in Germany, Austria and some other European countries, Holocaust denial is a criminal offense. Also now available from 126 countries ratified Genocide Convention of the United Nations from 1948 was still not ratified by Japan.

Until the 1970s, these debates have been treated as a side issue in the media. In the Japanese media, the opinions of the political center and the left tend to dominate the editorials of newspapers, while the right tends to dominate the tabloids. The war crimes concerned debates were given a big of some tabloids in the editorials where the overthrow of “Imperialist America” ​​demanded and the worship of the Emperor was revived. In November, 1971, to commemorate the normalization of relations with China, published by the Asahi Shimbun, a major liberal newspaper, a series of articles about Japanese war crimes in China including the Nanking Massacre. This series of articles opened the floodgates for the debates about war crimes that have continued since. The 1990s are widely regarded as the period in which such issues as major issues such as the Nanking Massacre, Yasukuni Shrine, the comfort women, the accuracy of school history books and the validity of the Tokyo processes were also discussed on TV.

Maintaining the institution Tennō formed an important constant in the American occupation policy. By the prosecution spared the Tennō a central area of ​​the Japanese injustice during the Second World War has been systematically hidden. The fact that the Tenno was not considered as responsible for all policy decisions, including the war in the Japanese Empire, legally and politically accountable is an important reason that it did not come to the prosecution and conviction of war crimes by Japanese dishes in Japan. It contradicts the fundamental idea of ​​justice, when the commander in chief can not be held accountable, but at the same time executing commands soldiers should be tried. This mode of perception is to this day, as it is a psychological barrier for the issue of war crimes by the Japanese judiciary dar. The politically motivated prosecution spared the Emperor and the maintenance of the Tenno system by the American occupation forces is shown as – considered the most important obstacle to a thorough processing of the past – until now.

The Japanese today do not remember a holocaust, but to a military conflict. Alone on the question of when this war began, prevails among the Japanese is no consensus. There was the war against China, the. Towards the European colonial powers in Southeast Asia and to the U.S. On when one dates the beginning of these wars, whether they are considered independent of each other or as a continuous conflict is a matter of the particular political position. Some Japanese people, mostly members of the pacifist Left call when the war began the year 1931, the year in which Japan turned Manchuria into a puppet state. That, believe Japanese left, was the beginning of the Japanese policy of imperialist aggression that have then led 1937 invasion of China, and in 1941 to the attack on Pearl Harbor. So this Japanese speak of a fifteen year old war.

Right-wing nationalists have a different view. For them, the events in China during the 1930s are no war but unfortunate “incidents” that resulted from the legitimate interest of Japan to defend itself against Soviet and Chinese communism. The attack on Pearl Harbor they see as an inevitable act of self-defense against an attempt by the U.S. and other colonial powers to crush Japan. The Southeast Asia War finally was a campaign for the liberation of Asia. The war in China is in this political context of the “China Incident”, which to the west of the “Greater East Asia Co war.” This view of things have not only extreme fringe groups. Indeed, many prominent politicians of the Liberal Democratic Party tend to such conceptions.

Another focus in Japanese history management is published by the company for creating new history in 2000 history book (Atarashii rekishi Kyokasho), which is a revisionist view of Japan. The textbook was approved in 2001 by the Ministry of Education and sparked great debate both in Japan and also in China and South Korea from. Many Japanese historians and teachers protested against the content of the new history book and its treatment of Japanese actions during the war. China Radio International reported that the Government of the People’s Republic of China “very upset and disappointed with the created right Japanese scholars new Japanese history textbook for 2002″ was. According to the Japanese Ministry of Education, the authors were stopped for the new edition to change euphemistic representations of the colonization of Korea by Japan and the Nanjing Massacre. Japanese civil rights groups stated that the offending book chapter has not been substantially changed, some passages are even shown yet distorted than before. The new history book was denounced in the anti-Japanese demonstrations of 2005 in China and South Korea, because it will whitewash the Japanese invasion during the Second Sino-Japanese War with China and the colonization of Korea.

The produced in Hong Kong film of 1988 Men Behind the Sun (also: Hei Tai Yang 731 or Black Sun 731) Tun Fei Mou (TF Mous) has stationed in Manchuria during World War II Japanese unit 731 to the content. The film is in the same controversy as the Japanese war crimes such as the Nanking Massacre, criticized. It was only in August 2002 stated the Tokyo District Court that the unit 731 and the crimes committed by their war crime actually existed.

One can observe two different directions in the Japanese public. Firstly, there is the right wing, called uyoku, for the political extreme right in Japan, the nearly hundred thousand activists and several hundred groupings also with this term (or even rights organizations) are called. Approximately 800 of these groups are Alljapanische conference Patriotic associations organized under the umbrella organization that strongly cooperated with the Yakuza during its history. As synonyms of the term “ultra-nationalism” is used to characterize the ideology of this movement. The lowest common denominator of the current uyoku ideology generally consists of: militarism, explicated in the demand for an increase of the Japanese military and the expansion of its powers (which are presently under Article 9 of the Japanese constitution severely limited), in connection with it are also denied Japanese war crimes and called for the eradication of appropriate passages from Japanese textbooks. Their political opponents, including the majority of people and organizations that Japan publicly criticize or not respectful and cautious about issues such as Japanese war crimes during World War II, controversy over the Yasukuni Shrine, the institution or the people of the Japanese imperial family, Japanese claims in express Kurilenkonflikt and Sakhalin, are targeted intimidation. On the other hand, there are community groups and leftist intellectual groupings campaigning for the clarification and the public announcement of war crimes and failures of Japanese politicians and the people. For example, a group of high school teachers who are trying to investigate the atrocities of Nanking and to bring to the public. Also, there are now many citizens’ initiatives that have the compensation of victims of war goal.

The word “dealing with the past” it was not until 1992 in Japan. It first appeared in a Japanese magazine in a Leitartikelserie and was with kako no kokufuku (translated), which means “past overcoming”. A psychiatrist who interviewed several former Japanese war criminals, states: “In Japanese culture, the emergence of a sense of guilt was ousted.” The same author further says: “Even in the Japanese post-war period, the paralysis of the feelings will continue.” The people as well as a not inconsiderable part of the total Japanese population mentioned suffer from lack of empathy for the victims of the Japanese invasion war. Hans W. Vahlefeld describes the ratio of the Japanese to their past as follows:

The past is only others present; Japanese they have buried. While German search since the war under the historical burden of guilt and expiation their way shy Japanese have looked back and live in the present, as there had never been a yesterday. With them is dealing with the past no wound that bleeds over again.

Controversial interpretations outside Japan

Outside Japan to try some activists controversial reinterpretations of Japanese imperialism. For example, the views of the former South Korean officer and right-wing author You Ji-Won have caused controversy in Korea and in other countries. Ji-Won has praised Japan for “modernizing” Korea, claiming that only about 20% of Korean women were forced to serve as comfort women during the Japanese military, while the remaining 80% made it voluntarily for a fee. Furthermore, he says that to have been the most allegations of the old women, former comfort women or sex slaves of the Japanese military during the Second World War, are wrong. His remarks to women and the public have outraged. In East Asia, such views are being affected women widely regarded as offensive and defamatory.

The nature, legitimacy and legacy of the Japanese annexation of Korea, particularly its controversial role in the modernization of the Korean Peninsula, is an intensely debated topic. In a seminar, organized by the Asia-Pacific Research Center, made ​​Professor Rhee Young-Hoon of Seoul National University’s controversial remarks. He explained that despite the problems of human rights, the Korean economy has grown strongly under Japanese rule, and thus the basis of modern capitalism was introduced by the Japanese in Korea, which later became part of the foundation of modern Korean economy.

Subsequent investigation of war criminals

The official inquiries and investigations against Japanese war criminals are not yet completed. During the 1990s, the South Korean government started the investigation against individuals who allegedly enriched by collaboration with the Japanese military during World War II. In South Korea, it is claimed that, their employees or their relatives had supported the acquired while working with the Japanese military wealth, the cover-up of war crimes during the Cold War, many of these people in order not to incriminate himself. Likewise, their families could with the acquired wealth to finance the acquisition of higher education.

Also, individuals and non-governmental institutions have conducted their own investigations.

Due to further investigation it is alleged that the Japanese government had intentionally destroyed the reports on Korean comfort women. Some women cited Japanese inventory logs and employee lists that were created on the battlefield, as evidence for this claim. For example, the comfort women were forced to sign on the employee lists as a nurse or secretary.

Many argue that due to the fact that the Japanese government wanted to cover up many incidents of war crimes in formerly Japanese-occupied Korea, which would otherwise lead to severe international criticism, are often difficult to obtain sensitive information about it. Many Koreans and other Asians 731 medical experiments conducted by the Japanese unit. Among the victims who died in the camp, were at least 25 victims from the former Soviet Union, Mongolia and Korea. Although testimony from some surviving victims of the unit 731 are present, denied the Japanese government has yet to Korea, the inspection of these documents (as of 2010).

The investigation and elucidation of other Japanese war crimes are complicated by cover-up by the Japanese government and by other countries such as Great Britain. Britain and Japan have tried to keep one of the war crimes of the Second World War secret. The British government in 1949 to maintain a good relationship with Japan, decided to bring charges against Japanese commander for the massacre of some 280 British and Dutch prisoners of war in 1943. Great Britain and the United States have sought to ensure that Japan after the war, an ally remained as a bulwark against communism in the Asian region.

Tamaki also Matsuoka documentary Torn Memories of Nanjing includes interviews with Japanese veterans who admit to raping and killing Chinese civilians.

Scientific reception of events

The subject is classified worldwide mostly under the term war crimes. Especially in the English literature, but also the names of Asian Holocaust have become (Eng. “Asian Holocaust”) and Japanese were atrocities naturalized (“Japanese wartime atrocities”).


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Japanese military history

War Crimes in World War II

Second Sino-Japanese War

Pacific War

Imperial Japanese Army

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