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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0071, 1945-12-13.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0308

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 308 Date: 13 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Marquis KIDO as a War Criminal - Chubu Nippon Shimbun - 8 Dec 45. Translator: S. Ono.
The names of two Japanese notables, Marquis KIDO, Lord Keeper of Privy Seal, and Prince KONOE, whom even the Japanese had counted among the highest was criminals, occupied the top of the list of war criminals published on 6 December. The present list tells us the scope covered by the Allied Powers, which undoubtedly includes those responsible for the MANCHURIA and CHINA Incidents.
Marquis KIDO, one of the most shrewd and powerful civilian officials ever arrested, had much to do with the national policy of this country. Leading JAPAN toward aggression, KIDO moved behind the scene, while KONOE acted as a hero, with his militarists and propagandists, of whom more than half are now arrested or dead.
OSHIMA, Hiroshi, ex-Ambassador to GERMANY, took an active part in forcing JAPAN to join the Tripartite Pact, while SUMA, Yakichiro, ex-Minister to LISBON is indicted for his activities in CHINA as Consul-General at NANKING from 1933 to 1937.
Marquis KIDO was one of the most influential of the politicians who recommended TOJO to the Throne in 1941, for which he is held as a high-ranking war criminal by most Japanese. The combined activities of KIDO and TOJO, in carrying on the war, completely changed the character of the conference advising the Throne. It was strictly limited to the Premier and the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, who could see the Emperor in person. This gave then the opportunity to abuse their power. In an interview with the Marquis, after the landing of our forces, he told me that there existed no conflict of opinion on general policy between him and TOJO. He is one of a few leading figures of this country who have not changed their attitude toward the recent war. He confessed the fact that he had recommended that the Emperor not oppose the coming war, while at the end of the war, he agreed to surrender, seeing JAPAN was unable to give further battle. I saw in him a man of vision and optimism typical of the Japanese. Half grey, the ex-Lord Keeper told me he was ready to meet his fate. It is said that in the days of surrender, plans for his assassination were disclosed twice, but he did not take any steps to protect himself.

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POLITICAL SERIES: 71 (Continued)
ITEM 2 MANILA Court-martial that passed judgment on General YAMASHITA - Yomiuri Hochi - 8 Dec 45. Translator: A. Kido.
Full Translation:
As a forerunner for the trial of first-rate Japanese war criminals, the court-martial at MANILA passed the sentence of death on General YAMASHITA, Tomoyuki, who had attracted so much international attention for the past 40 days. The sentence was handed down on the 7th, just a day before the surprise attack on PEARL HARBOR, the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of the PACIFIC war. One recalls that General YAMASHITA, "the rising sun general", just on that very day and month four years ago launched his shock attack on MALAYA, at the head of a tremendous transport fleet. Looking back upon the past, a thousand emotions may be crowded into his mind, for he was famed as the "Tiger of MALAYA".
Since the time for the trials of ex-premier TOJO, Prince KONOE, Fumimaro, and 200 odd war criminal suspects at TOKYO is near at hand, let us listen to Mr. SUNADA, Shigemasa, former military administrator for MALAYA. He recently sat in the witness-box as General YAMASHITA's witness. Now back in JAPAN, he relates how the MANILA trial of the war-criminal proceeded.
"What deeply impressed we during my two weeks' stay at MANILA was the splendid attitude of both the judge and the accused, especially the fairness in judgment. I was many a time choked with tears at the earnestness and sobermindedness of the official counsel. This counsel consisted of six American officers—Lieutenant Colonel GUY, three field-officers and a Captain, who under Colonel CLAYMAN had gone to JAPAN to collect evidence favorable to General YAMASHITA. These men had practised in WASHINGTON before joining the army, and were therefore familiar with court affairs and lacked nothing in their qualifications. They did their utmost to secure a favorable decision for YAMASHITA, working hard in the day-time at court and until late at night going over the following day's trial matters with the witnesses and the Japanese Counsel.
"What I was most impressed with was the appeal to WASHINGTON in connection with the question of jurisdiction. Since it will be repeating the foreign dispatch, I will not go into the details. The question is connected with the appeal to WASHINGTON of non-competency on the part of the MANILA court. The General as a prisoner of war had no money for getting some forty documents typed out. The Japanese Foreign Office did nothing for him, but the six American officers took care of it at their own expense. Further, these officers were kind enough to ask their native country for relief for the General, in accordance with the 'pauper relief law'. However a telegraphic answer received from WASHINGTON refused the petition, saying General YAMASHITA was not an American citizen and the American pauper relief law could not be applied to him.
"These officers did their utmost for the sake of the enemy's general. However, if they had been Japanese, they could have expected threatening letters or stoning of their absent residences. I spoke jokingly on this point with Colonel CLAYMAN, who answered 'I received a letter from home, telling of tens of letters having arrived, some of which were astonishing utterances. However most of them could be summed up with— "Go ahead with your belief for justice sake!"
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POLITICAL SERIES: 71 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
"Why was the American official consel so very soberminded and sincere? The one reason for this is advanced liberal ideas in AMERICA, because of which this counsel desired to see a fair trial, The other reason is the lofty character of General YAMASHITA, which made the American officers admire him.
One night we witnesses had a chat with the six official counsellors when some one remarked, 'It is an eternal truth in the history of wars of all ages that every war has witnessed at least one or two splendid generals, prominent in tactics, lofty of character, and moreover standing quite aloof from politics. Such generals and admirals were found for instance in Admiral TOGO, General NOGI and others. If an illustrious general were to be sought for in the past war, General YAMASHITA would come to the fore'. Such was the common conclusion of the man who were gathered.
General YAMASHITA never did act the coward in court. Moreover, he said to us, 'I who am responsible for the defeat which has killed so many subordinates am prepared for death. However, I want to emphasize to the last moment of my life that the greater part of those who committed atrocities in the PHILIPPINES were Naval men—officers and sailors—who did not obey their commanders. It is to be greatly regretted that on account of them the Imperial Army was disgraced and that for this disgrace I should be put to death. I should like to have the people at home informed of this fact.'
The MANILA Court-martial is taking place in the fire-razed site of some Country's Consulate facing MANILA Bay. It is the only building standing in the fire-devastated field. Walls riddled with shots enclose the hall of the building which serves in the day-time as a Court and at night as a confinement place for General YAMASHITA. Five judges are seated in an elevated place in front along side of which is a big American flag. Facing the seat of the chief-judge, on the right and at the same height is a platform, which is the witness-box. In line with this witness-box are seats for the prosecutors, opposite to which are seated the counsel for the defense. The dock is just behind the defense counsel's seats. The point differing from the Japanese Court is that except for the elevated seats for the chief judge and witnesses, the seats for the prosecutors and the accused are on the same level. The arrangement of these seats tell the story. The seating at the public trial is just like that of a debating society and the prosecutors, the accused, defense counsel, and witnesses can freely express their opinions, which is in keeping with the democratic spirit.
The court-martial was bent on giving a fair trial and for the most part this intention was realized. The only concern we had was a point of language-interpretation which was done by a few Nisei, Second lieutenants who had been taught Japanese for a few months. They therefore were very ambiguous in interpreting statements of General YAMASHITA, his Japanese Counsellors, and testimonies of the witnesses. For instance, in the case of a witness who said General YAMASHITA was a 'SHINGI WO OMONZUKU SHŌGUN' (meaning a general who observes fidelity), the interpreters did not know what the word SHINGI stood for in English, and had to consult a voluminous dictionary, creating an extremely awkward scene. As a consequence in delicate questions, the other party, especially the chief-judge or the prosecutors might not understand the tr[illegible]meaning of the words used. After the public trial of General YAMASHITA
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POLITICAL SERIES: 71 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
these men are said to be going to JAPAN for the trials of the war criminals suspects there. At the trials in JAPAN of the top suspects, when delicate questions may arise in succession, will not this question of interpreting become a big obstacle?
When I think of the feelings of General YAMASHITA, I am filled with tears. After having been tried by a fair and just court and defended by sincere American counsellors, with what kind of emotions is he viewing the final chapter?
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0071, 1945-12-13.
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