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    Japan
     Sep 8, 2005
Yasukuni's Class A war criminals

The post-World War II International Military Tribunal for the Far East distinguished three types of war crimes: crimes against peace, conventional war crimes, and crimes against humanity, referred to as Class A, B and C, respectively.

More than 300,000 Japanese were charged with Class B and C war crimes, mostly over prisoner abuse. Twenty-five military and political leaders were convicted of waging war - a Class A crime against peace - and 12 of those, including wartime prime minister Hideki Tojo and six others sentenced to death by the tribunal, are enshrined at Yasukuni. Two others, also enshrined at Yasukuni, were charged with Class A crimes but died before their trials  

 

were completed.

 The Class A indictment accused the defendants of promoting a scheme of conquest that "contemplated and carried out ... murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war [and] civilian internees ... forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions ... plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; [perpetrating] mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the overrun countries".

The counts of indictment were:
  • Count 1: As "leaders, organizers, instigators, or accomplices in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy .. to wage wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law".
  • Count 27: Waging unprovoked war against China;
  • Count 29: Waging aggressive war against the United States;
  • Count 31: Waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth;
  • Count 32: Waging aggressive war against the Netherlands;
  • Count 33: Waging aggressive war against France (Indochina);
  • Count 35 & 36: Waging aggressive war against the USSR;
  • Count 54: "Ordered, authorized, and permitted" inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and others;
  • Count 55: "Deliberately and recklessly disregarded their duty" to take adequate steps to prevent atrocities.

    The Class A war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni are:

    (Sentenced to death)
  • Tojo, General Hideki (1884-1948). Chief, Manchurian secret police, 1935; councillor, Manchurian Affairs Bureau, 1936; chief of staff, Kwantung Army, 1937-38; vice minister of war, 1938; minister of war 1940-44; premier, 1941-44. Considered the arch-criminal of the Pacific War. Tojo assumed full responsibility for all the actions of his government and the military during the war. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 54.
  • Doihara, General Kenji (1883-1948). Commander, Kwantung Army, 1938-40; Supreme War Council, 1940-43; army commander in Singapore, 1944-45. Deeply involved in the army's drug trafficking in Manchuria. Later ran brutal POW and internee camps in Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. Convicted on counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 54.
  • Hirota, Baron Koki (1878-1948). Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1928-31; foreign minister, 1933-36; premier, 1936-37. Was foreign minister during the Rape of Nanjing and other atrocities perpetrated by the army. As premier, he led his cabinet in planning the invasions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, in addition to continuing the undeclared war against China. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 55.
  • Itagaki, General Seishiro (1885-1948). Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1936-37; minister of war, 1938-39; chief, army general staff, 1939; commander in Korea, 1941; Supreme War Council, 1943; commander in Singapore, 1945. Troops under his command in China terrorized prisoners and civilians. Was responsible for prison camps in Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Borneo and elsewhere. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 54.
  • Kimura, General Heitaro (1888-1948). Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1940-41; vice minister of war, 1941-43; Supreme War Council, 1943; army commander in Burma, 1944-45. Helped plan the China and Pacific wars, including surprise attacks. Involved in the brutalization of the Allied POWs and was the field commander in Burma when civilian and POW slave labor built and died on the Siam-Burma Railway. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 54, 55.
  • Matsui, General Iwane (1878-1948). Personal appointee of the emperor to the Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1932-37; commander, China Expeditionary Force, 1937-38. Troops under his overall command were responsible for the Rape of Nanjing in 1937 and other atrocities. He retired in 1938 and then ceased to play an active role in military affairs. Convicted on Count 55.
  • Muto, General Akira (1892-1948). Vice chief of staff, China Expeditionary Force, 1937; director, military Affairs Bureau, 1939-42; army commander in Sumatra, 1942-43; army chief of staff in the Philippines, 1944-45. Troops under his command participated in both the Rape of Nanjing and the Rape of Manila. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 54, 55.

    (Sentenced to life imprisonment)
  • Hiranuma, Baron Kiichiro (1867-1952). Privy Council, 1924-39; founder and president of Kokuhonsha (a right-wing patriotic society), 1926-28; premier, 1938; minister of home affairs, 1940; minister without portfolio, 1940-41; president, Privy Council, 1945. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 36.
  • Koiso, General Kuniaki (1880-1950). Vice minister of war, 1932; Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1932-34; army commander in Korea, 1935-38; minister of overseas affairs, 1939; governor-general, Korea, 1942-44; premier 1944-45. Was known among the Korean population as "the Tiger of Korea" because of his brutality. As premier, he was aware of POW death camps. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 55.
  • Shiratori, Toshio (1887-1949). Director, Information Bureau, Foreign Ministry, 1929-33; ambassador to Italy, 1938-40; adviser to the foreign minister, 1940. A supporter of military expansionism, he favored an alliance among Germany, Italy the Soviet Union and Japan to dominate the world. Convicted on Count 1.
  • Umezu, General Yoshijiro (1882-1949). Section chief, general staff, 1931-34; commander, China Expeditionary Force, 1934; vice minister of war, 1939-44; army chief of staff, 1944-45. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32.

    (Sentenced to a lesser term)
  • Togo, General Hideki (1884-1948). Ambassador to Germany, 1937; ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1938; foreign minister, 1941-42, 1945. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32. Sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    (Died before their trials were completed)
  • Matsuoka, Yosuke (1880 - 1946). Gained international notoriety in 1933 when he announced Japan's departure from the League of Nations as a result of the League's criticism of Japan's operations in "Manchu State". After leaving the foreign service, he became president of the South Manchurian Railroad, at which time he worked closely with Hideki Tojo, who was then serving as chief of the Kwantung Army's secret police. In 1940, Matsuoka became minister of foreign affairs under prime minister Konoe Fumimaro. Matsuoka was a major advocate of a Japanese alliance with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
  • Nagano, Osami (1880 -1947). Appointed minister of the navy under Koki Hirota in 1936, and was appointed Commander in Chief of the Fleet in 1937. In 1941, Nagano became Chief of the Naval General Staff. In this capacity, he ordered the attack against the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. He was promoted to fleet admiral in 1943. While standing trial he assumed responsibility for the Pearl Harbor attack, but he died of a heart attack before the trial was complete.
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