On November 12, 1948, an international war crimes tribunal in Tokyo passes death sentences on seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, who served as premier of Japan from 1941 to 1944. The trials lasted 30 months with all 25 Japanese defendants being found guilty of various war crimes. In addition to the death sentences imposed on Tojo and others principals, such as Iwane Matsui, who organized the Rape of Nanking, and Heitaro Kimura, who brutalized Allied prisoners of war, 16 others were sentenced to life imprisonment and various other lesser sentences. Unlike the Nuremberg trials in Germany, where there were four chief prosecutors representing Great Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR, the Tokyo trial featured only one chief prosecutor, American Joseph B. Keenan, a former assistant to the U.S. attorney general. However, other nations, especially China, contributed to the proceedings, and Australian judge William Flood Webb also presided. In addition to the central Tokyo trial, various tribunals sitting outside Japan judged 5,000 other Japanese guilty of war crimes, of whom more than 900 were executed.
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and is the author of Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: