Seminar - 'Minor war criminals'? the challenge of transitional justice in post-war Asia, 1945-1958


Robert Cribb

Department of Pacific and Asian History, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asian and the Pacific, Australian National University

 In the aftermath of the Second World War, several Allied powers tried around 5700 members of the Japanese armed forces for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This trial program was one of the largest exercises in transitional justice ever attempted. Around 4700 of the accused were convicted, receiving sentences which ranged from one month to death. Most of those sentenced were imprisoned initially in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, but they were eventually transferred to Japan and were held in Tokyo's Sugamo Prison. By 1958, all had been released under a program of remissions and clemency.

 This presentation will explore the justice considerations and practicalities that shaped the character of the trial process. It will consider the reasons why the trials have been regarded as flawed, as well as the implication of the trials for future attempts at transitional justice.

All welcome. You are invited to join the speaker for drinks after the seminar at Fellows Bar, University House

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute