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Rundown of Japan's 14 Class-A war criminals
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-08 06:24

(1) Hideki Tojo (December 30, 1884 - December 23, 1948)

Tojo was a member of the military clique that pushed Japan into its all-out war against the Chinese in the 1930s.

He rose from chief of the Manchurian (Northeast China) secret police in 1935 to councillor of Manchurian Affairs Bureau in 1936 and Chief of Staff of the Kwangtung Army and Chief of the Kempeitai.

As War Minister in 1940, he was instrumental in leading Japan into the Axis Alliance with Germany and Italy.

By 1941 he was appointed prime minister by Emperor Hirohito and took command of the entire Japanese military.

As the nation's effective dictator, he led Japanese forces in the Pacific War during World War II.

He was forced to resign on July 18, 1944 following a series of military disasters.

Because of the crimes committed under his authority, Tojo is considered responsible for the murder of almost four million Chinese.

Tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes, he was found guilty of waging wars of aggression, waging unprovoked war against China, the United States, the British Commonwealth and other countries, ordering, authorizing and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others.

He was sentenced to death on November 12, 1948 and executed by hanging.

(2)Kenji Doihara (August 8, 1883 - December 23, 1948)

Doihara served as a Japanese spy in northeastern China since 1913. He was one of the main plotters of the so-called Mukden Incident, making an excuse for the Japanese invasion of Northeast China prior to World War II.

He later served as Commander of Kwantung Army (1938-40), Supreme War Council (1940-43) and Army commander in Singapore (1944-45).

On November 4, 1941, as Major-General of Japanese Air Force, he approved attack on Pearl Harbour.

After the war, Doihara was tried by the Tokyo tribunal and was sentenced to death (convinced on eight counts). On December 23, 1948, he was hanged for his actions.

(3) Iwane Matsui (1878 - 1948)

Matsui was the commanding officer of the Japanese expeditionary force responsible for the Nanjing Massacre in 1937.

As Commander of the Japanese Shanghai Expeditionary Force (SEF), he planned the attack of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

On December 10, 1937, the SEF began its attack on Nanjing, and the Kuomintang forces that remained surrendered on December 13, 1937. The Nanjing massacre began immediately afterwards, but halted only temporarily when Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanjing on December 17, 1937.

In 1948, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty of war crimes, and he was hanged that December at Sugamo Prison, aged 71.

(4) Heitaro Kimura(1888-1948)

Kimura was Chief of staff of the Kwantung Army during 1940-41. He was appointed as vice-minister of war during 1941-43 and Supreme War Council in 1943. Between 1944-45, he served as army commander in Myanmar.

Kimura helped plan the China and Pacific wars, including surprise attacks.

He was also involved in the brutalisation of the Allied POWs and was the field commander in Myanmar when civilian and POW slave labours built and died on the Siam-Myanmar Railway.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty of war crimes, and he was hanged in 1948.

(5) Koki Hirota (February 14, 1878 - December 23, 1948)

Hirota was the 32nd Prime Minister of Japan from March 9, 1936 to February 2, 1937. With the blessing of the military, Hirota's government signed its first treaty with Germany.

He was the foreign minister when the Japanese forces marched into Nanjing in 1937 and began the Nanjing Massacre. 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.

Following Japan's surrender, Hirota was named a Class A war criminal and was brought before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by hanging at Sugamo Prison.

(6) Seishiro Itagaki (1885-1948)

One of the men behind the Japanese occupation of Northeast China in the early 1930s, Itagaki was Chief of staff of the Kwantung Army during 1936-37.

He was then appointed as minister of war between 1938-39, chief of the army general staff in 1939, commander in Korea in 1941, Supreme War Council in 1943, and commander in Singapore in 1945.

Troops under his command in China and elsewhere terrorized prisoners and civilians. He was also responsible for prison camps in Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Borneo and elsewhere.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty of war crimes, and he was hanged in 1948.

(7) Akira Muto (1883-1948)

Muto worked as a military adviser to Hideki Tojo and one of the main plotters of the Nanjing Massacre.

In June 1943, Muto became commander of the Second Imperial Guards Division in Sumatra.

He was transferred to the Philippines in October where he was appointed chief of staff to General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

After the World War II, Muto was arrested and charged with war crimes. He was executed on 23rd December 1948.

(8) Yosuke Matsuoka (1880 - 1946)

Matsuoka 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" and led the Japanese delegation out of the League's assembly hall.

After leaving the foreign service, Matsuoka went to the occupied "Manchu State" and 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.

Captured by the Allies in 1945 and brought up on war crimes charges by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Matsuoka died in 1946 before his trial was completed.

(9) Osami Nagano (June 15, 1880 - January 5, 1947)

Nagano was 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, Nagano ordered the attack against the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour.

He was promoted to fleet admiral in 1943 and kept his position as Chief of the Naval General Staff throughout the majority of World War II.

Captured by the Allies in 1945, Nagano, while standing before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, assumed responsibility for the Pearl Harbour attack. Nagano died of a heart attack in Tokyo while standing trial in 1947.

(10) Toshio Shiratori (1887-1949)

Shiratori served as Director of Information Bureau under Foreign Ministry between 1929-33. He was appointed ambassador to Italy between 1938-40, and later adviser to the foreign minister in 1940.

A supporter of military expansionism, he favoured an alliance among Germany, Italy and Japan to dominate the world.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty of war crimes. Shiratori was sentenced to imprisonment for life for waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law. Shiratori died in prison in 1949.

(11) Kiichiro Hiranuma (1865-1952)

Hiranuma was founder of the Kokuhonsha, a powerful militaristic and reactionary society.

He became president of the privy council in 1936, was prime minister in 1939, continued to serve as president of the privy council and was home minister in 1940.

Arrested as a war criminal in 1946, he was condemned to life imprisonment, and died in prison in 1952.

(12) Kuniaki Koiso (March 22, 1880-November 3, 1950)

Koiso served as Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of War between 1930-31, Vice-Minister of War in 1932, Chief of the Kwantung Army in occupied "Manchu State" during 1932-34, and Minister of Overseas Affairs in 1939 and 1940.

In 1944, Koiso was chosen to serve as Prime Minister of Japan, and resigned in 1945 when US forces captured Okinawa.

After the war, he was captured by the Allies and tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes. Upon conviction, he was given a sentence of life imprisonment. Koiso died in 1950 while serving his sentence.

(13) Yoshijiro Umezu (1882-1949)

Umezu was the chief commander of the Japanese army in World War II. He carried out cruel colonial rule on northeastern China during 1939 and June 1944.

Along with War Minister Korechika Anami and Soemu Toyoda, Chief of Staff of the Navy, Umezu opposed surrender in August of 1945, trying to force the Allies to sustain heavy losses in a ground invasion of Japan.

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1948. Umezu died in prison in 1949.

(14) Shigenori Togo (1882- 1950)

In 1937, Togo was appointed ambassador to the Nazi Germany.

Hideki Tojo appointed Togo as his foreign minister in October 1941.

After Tojo resigned, the new Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki appointed Togo as foreign minister.

Togo was sentenced to 20 years for war crimes and died in prison on July 23, 1950.

(China Daily 06/08/2005 page5)

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