PeggySawyerSeagrave - PSawyer345@aol.com
>Ron, Your address came to me from Klemen (email@example.com), which is how I've become a member of the group. Klemen suggested that I write to your group about a research problem.
I am trying to establish how many civilian prisoners and military prisoners were executed by the Japanese. This research is NOT limited to what happened to these people only after they were placed in camps -- but from the moment of capture or surrender.
These statistics are difficult to come by. I have raised my question to a number of different people.
When I posed the question to the Bataan members, trying to find out how many
men were murdered during the Death March and how their deaths were officially listed I received the following reply from Major Richard Gordon (Battling Bastards of Bataan) that The Army used two classifications for men killed. Killed in Action or Missing in Action. Men who perished aboard Japanese transports when those ships were sunk are listed as MIAs. Men who were killed in action were listed as KIA
To the best of my knowledge any prisoner of war taken on Bataan who died or was killed on the March would merely have his date of death listed, if known.
Official Army records at the American Military Cemetery in Manila only list DOD or MIA depending on the case itself. The names of all those lost at sea are listed as MIA.
Richard M. Gordon
Major, US Army Retired
Commander, Battling Bastards of Bataan
I am not sure, however, how the British official records read regarding either civilian or military "casualties." Is there anyone in your group that can help? I'm more of a political investigator and this is my first foray into the field of military history/statistics.
In addition, the official document records on atrocities are difficult to come by -- many records destroyed by the Japanese and others returned to the government of Japan by the US Government -- no copies were kept by the US government. We know there were many instances, such as the 731 medical records, that were withheld from the war tribunals by the US Occupation authorities. This makes eye-witness reports extremely important.
In my exchange of emails with Klemens, we have discussed the infamous PIG BASKET MURDERS -- Allied POWS forced into bamboo cages and then thrown into shark infested seas. Klemens tells me that a Miss Van Kempen was an eye-witness. He was not clear but gave me the impression that she may be a member of your association. If you know her, or how to contact her, I would appreciate having her coordinates.
In the meantime, if you want to learn a bit more about me and my husband -- we've been writing investigative books about East-West relations for the last thirty years, take a look at our website at www.bowstring.net.
Thanks for your welcome to FEPOWS and thinking about these questions.
Lilian Sluijter -
Try the following website. Mansell features the most complete list of
POW camps in Japan.
Center for Research, Allied POWs under the Japanese www.mansell.com/pow-index.html
Tony - >Peggy, I'm not sure if this is the information you are after, but the British
(Commonwealth War Graves Commission) system works like this:
1. The war dead of the commonwealth are recorded as individuals with individual graves wherever possible, thus anyone whose body is identifiable is (normally) buried in a single grave with their name on the headstone.
2. Bodies recovered but unidentified are buried with the inscription 'Known Unto God' (which was Rudyard Kipling's idea after his own son was lost in the first war). Where possible, anything known about them is added (e.g. 'An Airman Of the Second World War').
3. Those who are either not identified or simply not recovered from the battlefield or sea are recorded on memorials. Army losses are generally recorded at the place of battle. Air force casualties are recorded on regional memorials (for example, airmen lost and unidentified in Hong Kong appear on the Singapore memorial, and aircrew lost in the European theatre are listed at Runnymede). Naval losses are commemorated at their home port, so a sailor lost in the Repulse of Malaya will be recorded at Portsmouth (for example) if that was his home port.
4. Civilians are recorded on the Civilian register of war dead (I hope I've got that term right). This is reasonably complete for the UK, but very incomplete for Hong Kong and Singapore.
The CWGC does not have - as part of its role - the task of recording how individuals met their deaths. That research needs to be done independently - though sometimes it can be aided by the CWGC's internal records. I have done this research in some depth for Hong Kong, but believe me it was not particularly easy even in a theatre where only some 300 lost their lives through being murdered after capture.
Hope this is of some help.
Ron - >Peggy, Give Klemin my best, his site - Dutch East Indies 1941-1942 Website at:
http://www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/ is always worth a visit.
Collectively it will be hard to get a figure for Japanese executions.
On the marches if anyone fell behind, did they starve to death or were they put to death. An estimate could be reached but it would not be a true figure.
When troops went missing in action, if there was not a witness, we do not know if they died in the fighting or were put to death by the Japanese after they surrendered.
The Chinese population also suffered terribly, no exact figures are available.
Many would also say starvation and over work relates to murder.
As you can see numbers would be hard to calculate.
The book to read on atrocities is still The Knights of Bushido by Lord Russell of Liverpool.
This was written in 1958 and covers most of the Japanese executions, from this book a rough estimate could be achieved.
Tony - >Peggy,
Yes, the war crimes transcripts, newspaper coverage of same, and eye-witness reports are the main sources of the information - though cross-checking with CWGC files is very useful.
Happy to talk about HK any time!
Peggy - Concerning Tanaka Yuki's HIDDEN HORRORS
Continuing to look at the issue of the high-command orders for pow/internee extermination, I sat down again with Tanaka Yuki's HIDDEN HORRORS.
On the jacket blurb of this book one reads the following:
"Tanaka has done a superb piece of investigating work that will surely make this book the definitve book on Japanese war crimes in World War II". Robert Lynn, editor of Military and Bravo/Vertrans Outlook Magazines. He also receives accolades from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. I regard this group as pretty clear-thinking, so it disappoints me. Keep in mind also that John Dower wrote a forward praising the book "Tanaka's signal accomplishment .. lies.. in trying to comprehend why...his countrymen performed such atrocious deeds." I admire Dower and appreciate his work.
So you can see that Tanaka has big guns on his side from what would appear to be the "liberal" thinking elements. That makes this even more of an issue to confront. These are not folks that are in to denial afterall.
To summarize, Tanaka completely side-steps the issue of Japanese high-command responsiblity for atrocities and executions as addressed forty-five years ago by Lord Russell in his book KNIGHTS OF BUSHIDO.
It is perplexing that Tanaka never meantions a number of official orders from the Japanese Navy, Admirals, and the Ministry of War. Some of these orders coming from Ministry of War that have been found at the National Archives in Washington D.C. One of these advises guards who have maltreated prisoners to disappear and that any records in the camps related to maltreatment be destroyed. The second is much more chilling. Issued in August 1944 it authorizes extermination of POWS. Both Japanese language documents are reproduced in the original at Roger Mansell's website. I initially got familiar with the text of these two documents while reading James Mackay's, BETRAYAL IN HIGH PLACES, published in 1996. But they are also documented in Lord Russell's book.
Tanaka leaves us with the following: "It is possible that the plans to dispose of all POWS existed, at least in a vague form, as far back as late 1944."
So I draw your attention to a number of statements from Lord Russell. As the book is long out of print, so I thought I would quote and paraphrase only a few of the instances of executions of pows that he documents.
1. In Dutch Borneo between October 1943 and June 1944 murder occurred systematically on a huge scale. The Japanese Naval Military Police, called the Tokei Tai [had control of the area.] Executions were carried out "on orders from the Japanese Navy Headquarters at Sourabaya, confirmed by interrogation reports of Lt. Yamamoto, officer of the Tokei Tai detachment. [[Russell, Knights of Bushido, pp. 288-9]]
2. Orders were given by Japanese Rear-Admiral Hatakiyama to kill POWS 1942 [[Russell, Knights, pp. 117-9]]
3. Before landings by Japanese in New Britian and New Guinea, pamphlets had been dropped by the Japanese warning the Allied troops that all who resisted the Japanese invasion would be killed. There is certainly no reason to doubt that the massacre of pows in New Britain and New Guinea was the result of superior orders.
[[Lord Russell, Bushido, pp 124-5]]
4. The Wake Island massacre. Rear-Admiral Sakibara gave this order "The headquarters company leader is to use his men and shoot to death the prisoners of war on the northern shore." Such massacres took place no less than 14 different places between April 1942 and August 1945. One of these was committed on Wake Island in October 1943 . [[Russell, Bushido, p. 125]]
5. "There is ample evidence that most of these massacres were ordered by commissioned officers, some of whom were high-ranking Admirals and Generals…This evidence has come from many sources, from captured Japanese orders, from battle reports, from the diaries of Japanese soldiers and from the statements, affidavits and testimony of a large number of Allied ex pows.
6. Battle reports of military units and police reports of the military [and navy] police contained accounts of massacres which had been carried out, together with details of the number of victims killed and the number of rounds of ammunition expended. In more than one pow camp documentary evidence was found or orders from high authority to kill pows. [[Russell, p. 133]]
7. Lord Russell on the - Taiwan/Formosan extermination order which is at the National Archives.
The war diary of a camp in Formosa contained an entry giving the reply which had been sent in answer to an inquiry from the adjutant of the 11th Military Police Unit stationed on the island. The unit had written for details of the 'extreme measures' to be taken against pows. … the reply was that the pows are to be "destroyed individually or in groups…mass bombing, gas, poison, drowning, decaptiation, et cetera,…annihilate them all and leave no trace. [[ Russell, p. 134]]
8. Lord Russell on the blanket orders for destruction of POWS given by Vice Minister of War in 1945.
During the last six months of the conflict unmistakably clear orders were issued from the War Ministry itself by the Vice Ministerof War Shitayama to kill pows. The order was to make every effoirt and to spare no pains "to prevent the prisoners of war from falling into the enemy's hands." [[Russell, Bushido, p. 134]]
This is list does not include many many more references about atrocities ordered against civilians and many more instances of execution, live burials, etc.
So I would draw a line through Tanaka's name in terms of someone who would be a good source to help us on this problem of high-command responsibility for atrocity/executions.
Peggy - >Gil
I am guessing that you have read Tanaka's book HIDDEN HORRORS published in 1998. What puzzles me is that he appears to have completely overlooked/ignored the extermination orders handed down by the Ministry of War in August 1944 (these are reproduced from National Archives sources at Roger Mansell's website.) Have I missed something? The closest he comes to looking at the source of any such orders is on pp. 68069 saying that "It is possible that the lans to dispose of all POWS existed, at least in a vague form, as far back as late 1944."
Tanaka tries to "resolve" the issue of the reasons for brutality,atrocity, murder as being the direct result of social conditioning.
What do you make of this? I'd really like to confront him directly on this issue as soon as I feel more thoroughly prepared.
Peggy - >Gil --
We have heard rumors to the effect that Bergamini's death was "untimely". As I recall this was back in the early 1970s not long after the publication of his book on Japan. He was I believe working for Time Inc. But we never had any details about the circumstances. If you get any input from your group, we'd like to be in the loop.
Linda Goetz Holmes - >Peggy, Kill all POWs order & Bergamini
Gil has been cc-ing his list on your rather fascinating (and I believe accurate) take on Tanaka & the POW execution order.
Chapter 12 of my book, Unjust Enrichment details the Aug. 1, 1944 order from the Vice Minister of War, issued as a clarification in response to the query from the Commanding General on Taiwan to Tokyo, asking under what circumstances an individual camp commander can act on his own initiative to implement the long-standing order to kill all POWs before surrendering one's position (the original was issued in 1942), without waiting for orders from Tokyo. The Aug. 1, 1944 order was the reply, and was circulated to every POW commander inthe home islands and occupied territories. I also detail who found the order; what the circumstances of discovery were; corroboration from a kempei tai source, among others, of watching copies of this order being destroyed at other locations on Aug. 15, 1945; when the order was turned over to SCAP along with the 13 other documents in the file (McKay mistakenly labels this as document "Q"; there was no document "Q", this was document "O"); and most shocking of all, my discovery in mid-2000 that this order was actually introduced as an exhibit at the Tokyo Trials without comment or discussion of any kind in open court -- leading the discoverer, Jack Edwards, who attended the trials, and superb journalist Arnold Brackman (the Other Nuremberg), covering the trials for United Press, to assume that the order was never presented as evidence at all (Brackman did not know of its existence at the time he wrote his book). In other words, the order was slipped into the trial as Exhibit # 2015, and no one knew what that explosive little exhibit was.
The standing order was carried out many times ("If you think you are in imminent danger of having to surrender, get rid of all the POWs first"). The Rear Admiral on Wake Island, Sakibara, mistakenly believed because our Navy was shelling Wake in October '43 that we were about to re-take the island, so he ordered all the POWs executed (they were all civilians, by the way, but classified by the Japanese as military POWs). Similarly, the camp commandant on Palawan assumed that MacArthur, on his way to the Philippines,would occupy Palawan, so he ordered in December 1944 the execution of the 157 Marines there. As you may know, 11 survived to tell the tale and to testify at trials.
Re: David Bergamini, he died certainly prematurely of a heart attack at the age of 49, a broken-hearted man. He was blacklisted by every publisher (many major US publishing houses were controlled by ex-OSS people postwar) after publishing his massive 2-volume Japan's Imperial Conspiracy. Despite his contract with Time-Life books to do six more books, he never had another word published. David wrote a heart-rending essay, "Blacklisted", and sent it to his best friend, who was interned with David as a teenager in Santo Tomas, and who gave me a copy with the caveat that I not circulate or publish or quote from it. But that essay details how one publisher after another rejected David's future writings. Apparently Washington and Reischauer did not like David's revelations, many of which are repeated by Bix in his Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan.
We can only imagine the depth of David's anguish.
R. John Pritchard - >Gil, Peggy and all,
The famous four-page document of 1 August 1944 to which Peggy is alluding has been given a great deal of prominence by Sgt. Jack Edwards, a signals officer attached to the 155th Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Artillery, who claims credit for having discovered it in Taiwan during British war crimes investigations in 1946 following his own release from Japanese captivity at the notorious Kinkaseki PoW Camp.
Linda Goetz Holmes, following Jack's lead, also devotes much attention to it in her latest book, Unjust Enrichment (and much as I admire her marvelous tenacity and boundless energy, she was not at her best in that part of her volume).
When I first met Yuki Tanaka and he was writing Hidden Horrors, however, Japanese and international scholars had a great deal of difficulty in finding any conclusive documentary or other evidence of a general extirmination plan or order. We all knew about Jack's documents. This one has been in the public domain for years. I've known and corresponded with Jack and others who were in Kinkaseki with him since the early 1980s. I myself commissioned an essay by Jack on his experiences and findings to be included along with more than seventy others in a 98-volume work, British War Crimes Trials in the Far East, that I began preparing in 1990 soon after the completion of my fifteen-year labour to produce the first English-language edition of the records of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (and a companion five-volume index and guide to it).
The document that Jack brought to light was not by itself conclusive, however. I believe that Japanese and other scholars such as myself who handled it with great caution were right to do so.
Let's now go straight to the core of the problem: the Taiwan document was NOT an extirmination order: it just looks like one to a casual observer. It was, on its face, a handwritten report in an official journal that records little more than a hypothetical response to questions about hypothetical future eventualities addressed to and answered by someone who was not directly in the immediate recipient's appropriate chain of command. The importance of that last fact can scarcely be understated. Yuki Tanaka and other professional historians such as myself aren't prepared to call something an "order" which was clearly neither an Operational Order nor a Military Directive and which was written by someone not empowered to issue operational orders or Military Directives to the person to whom it was addressed. Operational Orders and Military Directives issued by the Japanese high command were given serial numbers. This one bears no such number. It is not even clear whether the language of the entry in the journal is precisely the same or a paraphrase of whatever was written by the author. It was not, however, uncommon for the sense of documents to subtly shift in tone, chiming with the views of the person undertaking the entry.
In any case, the acts (preparations and actual systematic mass murders) carried out in various localities were in themselves clearly war crimes of very great magnitude. Those who could be shown to have been "concerned" in these events were treated very severely by war crimes tribunals. As I've already intimated, however, the difficulty lies in tracing those events back through the chain of command so far as that could be done.
Another difficulty, of course, is that many of those "concerned" died in action or by their own hand prior to falling into Allied custody. Lt.-Gen. Tominaga Kyoji, who is said to have writen the advice that appears to have led to the entry in the Official Journal found by Jack Edwards, had succeeded Lt.-Gen. Kimura Heitaro as Vice-Minister of War on 11 March 1943 but was replaced by Lt.-Gen. Shibayama Kaneshiro on 30 August 1944, at the end of the same month the note was sent to Taiwan and copied elsewhere. Shibayama, too, was soon replaced, but that's scarcely an issue here. Let's focus on Tominaga, who did survive the war. Unlike Kimura he was never taken into custody to stand trial or to testify before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Tominaga was not even obliged to give evidence under interrogatories or in affidavit form. He had his own problems, however: taken captive by the Soviet Union at the end of the war, he ended up in Siberia where he was incarcerated until April 1955. He died in January 1960. So far as I'm aware, however, no Western or Japanese investigator had an opportunity to question him about anything. It was not that he stood any likelihood of ever being subject to a war crimes prosecution by the Japanese themselves: there is absolutely no basis in law on which such a prosecution could take place following the Imperial Rescript of November 1946 which granted a general amnesty to all Japanese who had committed any violations of the Army and Navy military law codes which in fact incorporate the laws and usages of war. As he and other persons "concerned" in war crimes had become transmogrified into "victims" rather than "monsters" in the minds of most Japanese in the 1950s, however, I would be very surprised if he left any incriminating papers behind about recommendations to commit mass murder of Allied prisoners in August 1944.
The Ministry of War certainly had administrative oversight but strictly NO operational authority over field commands such as the Taiwan POW Administration and Kenpeitai Headquarters. Operational command flowed through the Army General Staff Headquarters and from the Daihon'ei (Imperial General Headquarters. In a matter of such importance, I believe the Daihon'ei would have had to take the decision and it would have been transmitted through the Army General Staff Headquarters. This division in command responsibility was something that it took a long time for Allied prosecutors to comprehend and ultinately to accept (it simply does not fit into the mindset of anyone familiar with the way command is expected to be exercised in other armed forces). Had there been no 'Chinese wall' between the two, however, the Head of the POW Administration, Tamura Hiroshi, would doubtless have been hanged rather than been handed down what was a relatively light seven year sentence after his trial that followed directly after the end of the big International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Had Tamura been tried in 1946, I've no doubt he would have been hanged, but both Prosecutors and Defence attorneys had gained much in knowledge and skill by the time he came to face the music, and Tamura was fortunate in gaining the benefit of that (and the benefit of an international panel of judges of outstanding acumen and integrity). What's the point here? Simply that Tamura, as Head of the POW Administration, was within the ambit of the Ministry of War but was able to show that war crimes committed against prisoners of war were properly a matter that ought to have been dealt with in the field as operational affairs subject to day to day control through the Army General Staff. And yet Jack Edwards' document expressly tells us that in certain eventualities the chain of command can be ignored.
Properly speaking, the Taiwan document, together with the preparations and measures taken elsewhere, provided strong circumstantial but not direct evidence of a policy. A normal criminal court in a common law jurisdiction would likely rule the document as hearsay, inadmissible as evidence of the truth or authority of its purported contents as an authentic record of a higher policy. Stripped of that, its importance as legally admissible evidence of anything all just about disappears within British or American rules of criminal evidence and procedure save to the extent that it may be shown that others relied upon it when committing criminal acts. In international criminal courts and wherever the laws and customs of war fall within the jurisdiction of national war crimes courts held overseas, common law rules of evidence and procedure are disapplied. Any document or other evidence may be admissible to whatever extent judges may determine to be its probative value as to the truth of its contents: the judges are entirely free to exercise their own unfettered discretion in the matter, and on each separate occasion they may do so with as much inconsistency as they may find appropriate governed only by what is supposed to be a regard for the 'interests of justice' (which can be quite a movable feast, of course). Thus a newspaper report attesting to a rumour heard at second or fifth hand, however partisan or inaccurate, can be admitted as evidence of the truth of its contents. Moreover, it is admissible without any need to put anyone to the test of cross-examination.
The document Jack brought to light therefore could be and was introduced into evidence together with his own testimony in British war crimes proceedings (he was a witness at every single one of the British war crimes trials related to the murder and maltreatment of British and Allied PoWs in Taiwan, the complete verbatim records of all of which will be included in the major collection that I have been preparing for publication over the past thirteen years). It was later taken to Tokyo and through the British Division of the IPS this document was offered in evidence to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Contrary to what has been written elsewhere, it was produced in Court, relevant extracts were read into the record of the Tokyo Trial transcripts, and the document received the attention it deserved. From thence the original ended up in Washngton, DC. The provenance of the document since the time of its discovery is therefore well established. And on its face it is evident that it was an 'official document' in the sense that it was issued by anyone who was in Japanese military service: that in itself would have been sufficient for it to be accepted under the rules of procedure adopted by any war crimes tribunal in the wake of the Second World War.
Just because it was admissible in national and international criminal proceedings, however, does not mean that a careful and highly expert historian (even one like Yuki Tanaka who has devoted his academic career to bringing home to a wider public the background, horrors and aftermath of Japanese maltreatment of Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees) should regard it as an official "order" or as conclusive proof that orders were issued in quite the terms that the document states.
There is one further difficulty: translating documents from Japanese into English is a difficult enterprise at the best of times. The two languages are structured so differently that capturing the correct nuances can be immensely challenging. In this instance we have the additional challenge of dealing with a man who was writing as an extremely senior officer to a subordinate about a matter of huge importance on which he wished to influence someone on an operational matter that was not within the scope of his own office and without regard for the chain of command through the POW Administration (Control) Bureau. The commitment of resources necessary to carry out the orders would likely to have required the approval of the Daihon'ei (or at least of the Army General Staff. We have to put ourselves into the mind of Tominaga and of his correspondent and those to whom the document was circulated. Most historians may not be experts in any field of law or of the politics and regulation of Japanese military affairs, but I daresay most of us hold that they all do owe a duty to their readers and to posterity to be careful in whatever claims we make on matters of historical interpretation. In this particular instance, unfortunately, the more I've uncovered the more I've found good reason to treat the evidence with caution.
Peggy - >Gil --
Just a brief add-on.
My definition of POW/INTERNEE is anyone in captive status. This means I am interested in statistics that would involve "field" executions -- such as the massacres at Ambon/Wake and not just the executions in camps. I am wondering how these figures have been officially reported in the past. Were the men executed at Wake classed as combat deaths? As POW deaths? I realize this is a real knot to untangle.
Gil - >Peggy, you and I agree with your definition of POW/INTERNEE. The execution at Wake Island was categorized as military POW combat deaths. It is likely that most of the executions were classed the same way. Will keep researching the subject.
Pete Wygle - >Gil:
Defining the term "prisoner of war" is not quite as simple as you and Peggy agreeing on her definition. There are probably as many definitions of the term as there are people who have approached the question. There is certainly one for "prisoner of war" and a separate one for "civilian American citizen" in the War Claims Act (WCA). The term "internee" is used in the WCA only as a section heading. It is not defined, but it is rather specifically implied that the term applies to civilian American citizens. For the purposes of the WCA the term "prisoner of war" is defined, rather specifically, as follows:
"any regularly appointed, enrolled, enlisted, or inducted member of the military or naval forces of the United States who was held as a prisoner of war for any period of time subsequent to December 7, 1941, by any government of any nation with which the United States has been at war subsequent to such date.
A "civilian American citizen" is defined as follows:
"(a) * * * means any person who, being then a citizen of the United States, was captured by the Imperial Japanese Government on or after December 7, 1941, at Midway, Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippine Islands, or any Territory or possession of the United States attacked or invaded by such government, or while in transit to or from any such place, or who went into hiding in any such place in order to avoid capture or internment by such government; except
"(1) a person who at any time voluntarily gave aid to, collaborated with, or in any manner served such government, or
"(2) a person who at the time of his capture or entrance into hiding was
"(A) a person within the purvue of the Act entitled "An Act to provide compensation for employees of the United States suffering injuries while in the performance of their duties, and for other purposes", approved September 7, 1916, as amended, and as extended; or
"(B) a person within the purview of the Act entitled "An Act to provide benefits for the injury, disability, death, or enemy detention of employees of contractors with the United States, and for other purposes", approved December 2, 1942, as amended; or
"(C) a person within the purview of the Missing Persons Act of March 7, 1942, (56 Stat. 143) as amended; or
"(D) a regularly appointed, enrolled, enlisted, or inducted member of any military or naval force."
I much prefer the approach used by the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, except that this Convention did not come into effect until mid-1949.
"Prisoners of War, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories who have fallen into the hands of the enemy:
"(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of the militias or volunteer corps forming parts of such armed forces.
"(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside of their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such resistance movements fulfil the following conditions:
"(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his suburdinates;
"(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
"(c) that of carrying arms openly
"(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
* * * * *
"(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labor units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces that they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.
* * * * *
"(6) Inhabitants of a nonoccupied territory who, upon the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war."
The term "internee", according to the Conventions, applies to anyone who was locked up for any reason by an enemy. The civilians not covered under the definition of prisoner of war were actually "protected persons". This category is also defined in the Conventions.
"Persons protected by the Conventions are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals."
Peggy - I will respond individually to the very interesting, detailed and thoughtful
letters that have come in this morning. Whatever the final verdict of history, this is an extremely interesting process of discovery. Obviously, this has touched a nerve, both with victims and investigators. I'm glad that the discussion is diverse and thought-provoking.
Like any subject related to the documentation of the Pacific War, of course, we are faced with the grave problems of the destruction of records, during, and after the war both by the Japanese military and the governments of Japan and Washington. The pieces to this puzzle are scattered but I am far from satisfied that we have the final word on the atrocities and the issues of responsiblity and orders.
Many thanks to everyone who is giving their time and experience.
Peggy - >John, Thank you very much for spending so much time to explain the Taiwan extermination document as you see it both as a historical artefact and a legal instrument. But I'm left in the dark as to how you would actually categorize the Taiwan document -- Would you say that the Taiwan orders recorded in the commandant's diary were imaginery, a self-incriminating confession with an effort to shift reponsiblity to the high command, a Jungian experience of a communal bad-dream? How do we explain away similar evidence of extermination orders coming from the high-commands of civilian and military prisoners found in captured papers outside the U.S jurisdiction which exist in other archives around the world? Can you comment specifically on the numerous charges made by Lord Russell in KNIGHTS OF BUSHIDO giving the names of generals and admirals ordering such atrocities? I provide a list taken from Lord Russell's book in hopes that you might comment on these items
Lord Russell, The Knights of Bushido, p. 276.
Extracts from a file of "Manila Navy Defence Force and South-Western Area Fleet Operation Orders" dated from 23 Dember 1944 to 14 February 1945. Orders given to Japanese troops to eliminate Filipinos.
"When killing Filipinos, assemble them together in one place, as far as possible, thereby saving ammunition and labour. The disposal of dead bodies will be troublesome, so either collect them in houses scheduled to be burned or thrown them into the river."
Lord Russell, The Knights of Bushido, p. 276
Phillippines -- civilians
Evidence from the captured diary of a Japanese warrant officer, named Yamaguchi, confirm the other evidence that these atrocities were carried out in pursuance of orders.
"We are ordered to kill all the males we find. Mopping up the bandits from now on will be a sight indeed….Our aim is to kill or wound all men and collect information. Women who attempt to escape are to be killed. All in all, our aim ix extermination."
Lord Russell, Knights of Bushido, p. 281
Philippines Captured Japanese diaries - "We were asked by the military police [kempeitai] to 'dispose of' the captives. "
Lord Russell, Knights of Bushido, p. 282
Philippines - diary of a man from the Fujita Force February 1945:
"Because 90% of the Filipinos are not pro-Japanese, Army Headquarters issued
orders on 10th instant to punish thm. In various sectors we have killed several thousands (including young, old, men and women and Chinese.
Lord Russell, Knights of Bushido, pp. 288-9
In Dutch Borneo between October 1943 and June 1944 murder occurred systematically on a huge scale. The Japanese Naval Military Police, called the Tokei Tai [had control of the area. This part of Asia was under the control and occupational administration of the Japanese Navy.] Executions of civilians were done "on orders from the Japanese Navy Headquarters at Sourabaya, confirmed by interrogation reports of Lt. Yamamoto, officer of the Tokei Tai detachment.
Siam Railway - Lrod Russell, pp. 108-09
At least 60,000 natives perished. "A member of the Japanese staff at Kanburi told one of his orderlies that he would gain much favour by clearing the Death House quickly. Both living and dead were speedily removed and buried together - nearly 1200.
Of the 46,000 Allied pows employed - 16,000 died. Lord Russell, p. 112
Orders of Japanese Rear-Admiral Hatakiyama to kill prisoners 1942 - Lord Russell, Knights, pp. 117-9
Before landings by Japanese in New Britian and New Guinea, pamphlets had been dropped by the Japanese warning the Allied troops that all who resisted the Japanese invasion would be killed. There is certainly no reason to doubt that the massacre of pows in New Britain and New Guinea was the result of superior orders.
Lord Russell, Bushido, pp 124-5
WAKE ISLAND - Russell, Bushido, p. 125
Rear-Admiral Sakibara gave this order "The headquarters company leader is to
use his men and shoot to death the prisoners of war on the northern shore." Such massacres took place no less than 14 different places between April 1942
and August 1945. One of these was committed on Wake Island in October 1943 .
Lord Russell, Bushido, p. 133 - "There is ample evidence that most of these massacres were ordered by commissioned officers, some of whom were high-ranking Admirals and Generals…This evidence has come from many sources, from captured Japanese orders, from battle reports, from the diaries of
Japanese soldiers and from the statements, affidavits and testimony of a large number of Allied ex pows. Battle reports of military units and police reports of the military [and navy] police contained accounts of massacres which had been carried out, together with details of the number of victims killed and the number of rounds of ammunition expended. In more than one pow camp documentary evidence was found or orders from high authority to kill pows.
Lord Russell - Taiwan extermination order.
The war diary of a camp in Formosa contained an entry giving the reply which had been sent in answer to an inquiry from the adjutant of the 11th Military Police Unit stationed on the island. The unit had written for details of the 'extreme measures' to be taken against pows. … the reply was that the pows are to be "destroyed individually or in groups…mass bombing, gas, poison, drowning, decaptiation, et cetera,…annihilate them all and leave no trace. During the last six months of the conflict unmistakably clear orders were issued from the War Ministry itself by the Vice Ministerof War Shitayama to kill pows. The order was to make every effoirt and to spare no pains "to prevent the prisoners of war from falling into the enemy's hands." Russell, Bushido, p. 134 Correction -- Shibayama
Additionally, from JAPANESE EMPIRE IN THE TROPICS:Selected Documents and Reports of the Japanese period in Sarawak, Northwest Borneo, 1941-45. Edited by Ooi Keat Gin. Ohio Univesity Center for International Studies, Monographs in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series No. 101, Athens, Ohio, 1998. ISBN 0-89680-199-3.
One former internee of the Kuching camp under Colonel Suga wrote "It has now been established beyond all doubt that Suga intended to 'dispose' of all prisoners on September 15h (1945). In a detailed order for the day, all people in captivity were placed in one of four categories and were to be liquated in the following manner:
1. Women, children, nuns -- to be given poisoned rice
2. Internee men and Catholic fathers to be shot and burnt
3. 500 British-American-Dutch and Australian POWS to be marched to
the mountains to be shot and burnt.
4. The sick and weak left at Lintang Main Camp to be bayoneted and the entire camp destroyed by fire." p. 648
Other internees also write about the rumors and warnings they had heard about their forth-coming extermination on "the Japanese Government order to Kill them all."
In the end, anyone trying to discover the real facts concerning Japan and the Pacific war is working with fragmentary official documentation. This, is of course, no where more evident than in the official records of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal -- where all records of 731 were withheld (you know well, I am sure the book THE TOKYO TRIAL AND BEYOND). Greg Bradsher's recent report to the Interagency Task Force on missing war records makes this even clearer. The war crimes records, like all the others of the Pacific war, are only fragmentary.
So, looking at the overall picture, I conclude that reasonable people examining the evidence of war responsibility and extermination orders based on the available evidence may come to different and arguably valid conclusions.
>All, This is to try to summarize the issue now under discussion of the executions of pows/internees and responsibility of command. A lot of people have answered questions, clarified problem areas and volunteered their expertise:
especially the BBBs and CFIRs.
As things stand, there are two problems that need to be confronted. One -- how many American pows were executed by the Japanese? Two -- who gave these
The Numbers of POWs executed
There are no official US statistics for these murder victims. The official statistics related to US POW deaths are limited to MIA or KIA designations. This has resulted in a state of mind that one writer, in another context, has called "official amnesia." The horrible murders of thousands -- buried alive, beheaded, cannabalized, thrown to the sharks -- have been magically rendered as "normal" casualties of war.
The whitewashing of murder/atrocity casualties began even before the war had ended and continued through the various war crimes tribunals both that in Tokyo and regional tribunals set up throughout East Asia. These decisions were deeply influenced by the Cold War strategies. Evidence was purposefully withheld from war crimes tribunals and hushed up in the press. I have read that former US POWS were sworn to secrecy by the army not to reveal atrocities or experiences in the camps under threat of court martial. (Can anyone clarify this point?)
What are the potential sources for compiling statistics on the numbers executed, where this happened?
1. Provost Marshal records
2. Diaries kept by pows during imprisonment
3. Sworn testimony given in trials and hearings (like those in recent
years before the US Congress
4. Newspaper accounts
5. War crimes investigation records -- here in addition to documents
that were actually made part of criminal proceedings, I suspect there is
going to be a separate category of investigations and documentation that
never made it to the tribunal stage.
Who issued the orders
With regard to "official orders", John Pritchard writes that "Japanese and international scholars had a great deal of difficulty in finding any conclusive documentary or other evidence of a general extermination plan or order. ... Operational Orders and Military Directives issued by the Japanese high command were given serial numbers." Why have these orders proved so illusive? Is it because they never existed -- or are their other reasons?
According to Greg Bradsher of the National Archives, this is the situation regarding what I consider to be the crucial records of official orders. "Once accessioned into the National Archives the captured Japanese records became available to researchers. It appears that very few researchers took the opportunity to use the records. One professor did
however and wrote an article about the records. In 1950, James William Morley, a professor of history at Union College, published an article "Check List of Seized Japanese Records in the National Archives," in The Far Eastern Quarterly Vol. IX No. 3 May 1950) describing some of the records. "Large as the collection is," he wrote, "it clearly does not represent all of the records of these ministries and their predecessors. Very few files are complete; many, no doubt, are entirely missing. Probably some were hidden or destroyed and other retained by interested occupation and other United States government authorities for current use." "A few of the obvious deficiencies," he wrote, "are the almost complete absence of the official Army General Staff Headquarters histories of Japan's major expeditions and war, and the startling paucity of materials relating to the Manchurian Incident, the China Incident, and the Great East Asia War."
What we do know for sure is that Imperial Army documents gathered as evidence about about Unit 731 were withheld from the courts and kept secret by the US government. In other instances, the investigations were short-circuited by SCAP or witnesses were suborned to divert guilt away from the top. Books that deal in particular with these issues include Sheldon Harris, FACTORIES OF DEATH; Roling and Cassese, THE TOKYO TRIAL AND BEYOND (the recollections of the Dutch judge at the Tokyo Trials); Harries & Harries, SOLDIERS OF THE SUN and even Tanaka Yuki's, HIDDEN HORRORS deals forthrightly with the SCAP coverup, while deftly avoiding addressing specific charges that have been before the public for decades. Sterling and I have also written about this subject of the coverup of evidence in several books.
So none of this is "news". It is, however, an accumulation of detail that lends real weight to the fact that in the end, these exterminations/executions were not random acts of madmen, but acts carried out under orders.
Again Bradsher's report tells us that: Japanese records would become all that more important as an intelligence source. Fortunately," one American officer wrote in 1944, "the enemy as a nation is addicted to keeping diaries, and converting everything into writing." Although John Pritchard has given us his detailed thinking about why the Taiwanese diary does not qualify as an "official order", other people have come to different conclusions. There are numerous examples of these kind of entries being found in captured Japanese diaries and papers. Lord Russell in his book KNIGHTS OF BUSHIDO
came up with an impressive list covering not only POWS but civilian internees. (Anyone who wants Lord Russell's sampling can let me know, though I've already circulated this in earlier emails. )
Well, this is far from a conclusive report. I realize that this is a massive job -- not just from the point of view of accessing Provost Marshal records, but collecting and comparing eye-witness reports, published accounts, and war investigations and tribunal records.
It's not just massive, it's enormous task. But over the holidays, I hope to formulate some ideas on how we can at least begin to crack the nut by focusing on some of the better known events. My first idea is to concentrate on Palawan and Sado and another event involving Australian POWs in the East Indies.
So, any feedback? Any ideas? Suggestions? Criticism? Is this worth pursuing? And finally, and perhaps most important to the victims -- do you think it would reawaken the American public to these issues and related issues of compensation and victim recognition?
Lilian Sluijter - Freinds
>difficulty in finding any conclusive documentary or other evidence of a general extirmination plan or order.
As we as all know a host of documents has been destroyed on the order of Hirohito after the capitulation (august 15, 1945). In fact the order was to destroy all docs that would be harmful to Japan, and according to some POWS who were in Japan darkgray smoke clouds and mountains of ashes were witnesses. I think this was quoted by the Seagraves Gold Warriors. sorry if I am not acurate bur I have been reading so much stuff).
Yutaka Yoshida, a professor of modern Japanese history at Hitotsubashi University's graduate school, acknowledged the value of the records, saying: ``Documents that were disadvantageous to Japan were destroyed for fear they would be used to press war crime charges. So, it is extremely rare to find documents that substantiate the attempt.'
The summaries show the fleet based in Shanghai on Aug. 20 ordered registers and duty records of high-ranking officers be ``immediately burned.'' It apparently was intended to obscure their assignments, thus throwing up obstacles to moves to pursue their war responsibility. (from a document ex Alpha)
Anyway, the above proves that it should be difficult to find conclusive documents.
And isn't it rather superfluous ? There are hundreds if not thousands written testimonials of survivors and the odd eyewitness.
Here are a few:
On 5 November the ship docked at Rabaul on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea where the men were unloaded and marched along dusty tracks ankle deep with volcanic ash despite many being without footwear. During this period the men were made to work in the tropical sun with many beatings. At the end of November the prisoners were assembled and the fittest 517 were told that they were to be taken to build an airfield for the Japanese. 82 men did not to go with the party as they were not deemed fit enough - ONLY 18 OF THE ORIGINAL 600 SURVIVED TO RETURN TO THE UK - THESE BEING AMONG THE GROUP THAT DID NOT GO ON TO BALLALE. The 517 were taken by another hell ship on the two day journey to the small island of Ballale which is approximately 4 miles in diameter to build an air strip. In time, probably on completion of the air strip and the news being received by the Japanese that the Allies were closing in, orders were given that "PRISONERS OF WAR WERE TO BE DISPOSED OF BY WHATEVER MEANS WAS AVAILABLE". Accordingly, on 5 March 1943, those who were still alive (some having died of illness and others as a result of Allied bombing as the Japanese had not allowed the prisoners to dig trenches to take cover) were massacred in cold blood and not one of those taken to Ballale survived. It was only through the few natives who lived on the island and who had witnessed the events that this story was able to be recorded by the Australian Forces who re-occupied the island some time later. In 1946 the remains of 438 of these British servicemen were recovered on Ballale and were finally interred in graves in the Bomana Commonwealth War Cemetery at Port Moresby where they are tended by the Australian War Graves Commission.
Written by mrs June Woods nee Burgess, daughter of Alfred W. Burgess, one of the victims of the order of which the <conclusive document is missing. How much more evidence do you need te get convinced ?
Source: website COFEPOW.
In Ambarawa 6, the wellknown prisoncamp for women and children in Mid-Java (Indonesia), rumours were circulating, in the first half of 1945, that mass liquidation was at hand. The mothers were wondering how the Japanese would do it. Just leave them alone, and let them starve? Or set them free in the jungle to perish?
A former prisoner of the Tjihapit camp (West-Java, Indonesia) found out that plans were ready for the deportation of the whole camp by boat to Borneo - at the time the densest jungle island of the Archipellago - where the women and children would be left to perish in the jungle. Royal Marine sailor Adriaan Kannegieter reports in his manuscript: "A Royal Marine sailor on a World Voyage ended up as a Slave Labourer on the Burma Railway, that in his last work camp he and his prison mates were ordered to dig trenches in the earth 6 ft (2 metres) wide by 3 ft (1 metre) deep and machine-gun hills in each corner of the campus." "This was on August 15, the day Japan surrendered, but we did not have a clue. We only understood what they meant to do to us..... and we were feverishly discussing what we should do if the Japs started to do what they were meaning to. With the prospect of being slaughtered like cattle any time, we were going through very devastating weeks." Martin Haar, a (Dutch)prisoner of war who was lastly in Bodjo slave camp at Pare Pare (Sulawesi. Indonesia) for building air strips, describes a similar experience. Of his group of 594 only 368 survived at the time that they were commanded to dig tunnels in the mountain side. "In order to safeguard you from the allied air assaults", the Japs explained. However, a mate who was a Dutch mining engineer told them not to believe their guards. "These tunnels are meant for easy liquidation. One or two hand grenades are sufficient to let the tunnels come down. We will be dead and buried and no one will ever find out".
There is another thing which indicates to deliberate execution plans, evidently not documented, but written down by survivors shortly after their liberation:
Systematic starvation, undermining working and living conditions, deprevation of medical supplies, refusing shelter during air raids, suffocation in tightly shut holds on board the Hell Ships, purposely withholding life jackets during sea transportation, no Red Cross markings on POW transportation ships, not to mention the beatings and the slaughtering, the death marches, the bayonetting of the sick and the burial of the living. How much more proof do you need of the elimination success of the Japanese?
A Dutch former POW wrote in 1946.
How much yellowed documents are necessary to make history ?
I WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS,
Member of the board of SVjappenkamp and researcher SVJ
Peggy - >Lilian, You know I AGREE WITH YOU COMPLETELY. The problem is the "professional historians" and "journalists" and "politicians" who get MANY FAVORS from the Japanese. They all say "no evidence". So I really appreciate your help.
What I will do is to continue to send these messages to the various people/groups in USA -- and to ask the "profession historian" to answer the question.
I LIKE YOUR PHRASE -- YELLOW DOCUMENTS. You see, you are still writing poetry.
We'll be mad but very COOL -- it will give them all big headaches or pains in other parts of their bodies.
Lilian - >Peggy,
My point is: there is no such thing as: NO DOCUMENTS NO HISTORY.
There are two other disciplines within the history science:
oral history and paleological history. We can still rely on oral history for another quarter of a century.
After the generation of victims and eyewitnesses passed away, our descendents have to wait for another 1000 years or so for the archeologists to creep through
excavations to find out about our unwritten undocumented history. They will undoubtedly find what is left of the hidden Golden Lily treasures;
they will be wondering whether the buried alives were human sacrifices or the buriel rituals of a local primitive tribe, and they might even find the lost camps such as on Sado island and take it that this was a sacred buriel place of 20th century people who were called < Japanese>.
We cant wait that long!
Peggy - >Ron thought FEPOW would find this interesting.
Dear Ron -- I found this document at the the Amnesty International website and have copied portions pertinent to Japanese War Crimes trials. I was surprised to learn about these decisions, to say the least. It was John Pritchard's mention of the Imperial Rescript of November 1946 that got me looking around on the internet. Others may be interested in reading the whole article, this is just the selected passage directly related to why so many issues about Japanese war crimes remain unanswered. James MacKay's book -- BETRAYAL IN HIGH PLACES -- adds that there was a general order given out by Occupation authorities to destroy all records of investigations of pending cases. Again, this is something that has to be verified as Mackay provides no specific reference. The fact that there were many war crimes that were never brought before the tribunals would seem to indicate that we will not find these crimes and these investigations in the published war tribunal records. That has to be verified.
Amnesty International -index: IOR 53/004/2001 01/09/2001
The duty to enact and enforce legislation - Chapter Two
CHAPTER TWO - THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRACTICE OF UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION
III. Prosecutions for crimes committed during the Second World War ''A war crime . . . is not a crime against the law or criminal code of any individual nation, but a crime against the ius gentium [international law]. The laws and usages of war are of universal application, and do not depend for their existence upon national laws and frontiers. ''(96)
B. The political decisions to prevent further prosecutions
Surprisingly, the United States General, Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Far East, as a result of popular opposition in Japan to war crimes trials of Japanese, took the initiative in mid-1947 to urge Allied governments not to hold further war crimes trials.(104) In response to MacArthur's request, the United Kingdom took the lead to stop further trials. On 12 April 1948, the Overseas Reconstruction Committee of the British Cabinet decided that ''no further trials of war criminals should be started after 31 August, 1948''.(105) Three months later, the British Commonwealth Relations Office sent a secret telegram to Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa suggesting that no new trials should be started after 31 August 1948, partly on political grounds:
''In our view, punishment of war criminals is more a matter of discouraging future generations than of meting out retribution to every guilty individual. Moreover, in view of future political developments in Germany envisaged by recent tripartite talks, we are convinced that it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible.(106)
Canada sent a secret cable in response on 22 July 1948 saying that it had no comment to make and the British government sent a subsequent note on 13 August 1948 warning that ''no public announcement is likely to be made about this''.(107)
A series of similar political decisions were taken by Japanese and American officials to bring to an end trials of Japanese accused of war crimes and to release those convicted, commute their sentences or pardon them. At the same time that the trial of senior Japanese civilian and military was taking place before the Tokyo Tribunal, Japanese Emperor Hirohito promulgated a secret imperial rescript pardoning under Japanese law all members of the Japanese armed forces who might have committed crimes during the war, which was later tacitly approved by United States General MacArthur, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.(108) As a result, there never were any prosecutions in Japanese courts of Japanese for war crimes.(109) The Far Eastern Commission
(FEC) issued a formal advisory in 1949 to the 19 Allies in the Far East that trials of Japanese for war crimes should take place no later than 30 September 1949.(110) Two years later, the Treaty of Peace with Japan provided in Article II that all Japanese who had been convicted of war crimes would be returned to Japan to serve the rest of their sentences under the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, with the aim, as it later became known, to ensure early release on parole or commutation of sentences.(111)
I'm asking groups in Europe to see what they can find in their archives/official documentation about these secret-agreements to halt the investigations and trials.
Peggy - This comes from Elizabeth Van Kampen -- As a girl of 15, she saw Allied POWS stuffed into bamboo baskets by the Japanese. These Allied prisoners on at least eight different occasions, imprisoned in these baskets, were thrown into shark infested seas around Java.
Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this information.