This book was published by a Japanese writer who witnessed many of the trial sessions of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trial) as a law school student. After this experience, he became a journalist and writer.
The book starts with the description of the actions taken by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) starting with the arrival of Douglas MacArthur at Atsugi Airport in Japan on August 30, 1954 and the opening of the trial on May 3, 1946. Many decisions were made during the intervening period by the General Headquarters (GHQ) on the trial including the Charter for the trial, the designation of 28 defendants and the selection of the President for the trial, Australian Sir William Webb and other 10 judges, one each from the 10 Allied nations, and 55 crimes which were claimed to have been committed by the defendants. The court opened with a surprise challenge on the qualification of the President Webb by attorney Ichiro Kiyose who was in charge of defending General Tojo. He challenged Webb because Webb was involved in the investigation of a case accusing the brutality of Japanese soldiers which took place in New Guinea, and thus he could not be neutral. This challenge was immediately rejected by the judges. This incident gave the author an impression that this trial was not to be based on legal doctrines, but by the administrative policy of GHQ.
Toward the end of the trial, General Hideki Tokyo testified by making the following points:
(1) Japan did not plan or prepare a war with the U.S., Britain,or Holland,
(2) the war with the U.S., Britain and Holland was caused by provocations by these countries, and Japan had no other choice but to fight for self-defense,
(3) Japan made a careful preparation for notifying the declaration of war to the U.S.in accordance with the international treaties,
(4) the true meaning of the East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere was cooperation of nations and not aggression,
(5) Japan did not have military conglomerates,
(6) the delicate relationship of the Imperial Coordination Conferences with the independence of the prerogative of supreme command,
(7) the special quality of the Tojo Administration was the emphasis on control and disciplines. Then, referring to the responsibility of the Emperor, Tojo stated that the decision to go into war was made by the cabinet and the Emperor approved grudgingly.
As a result, the Emperor was not freed from prosecution.
The verdicts were announced on November 4 through 12, 1948. Seven out of 25 remaining defendants were sentenced to “Death by Hanging.” The seven included Hideki Toji who was the Prime Minister when the Pacific War broke out. Sixteen defendants were sentence to life in prison, and the remaining two receive term prison sentences. All the defendants remaining to the conclusion of the trial were judged guilty. The author believes this trial was harsher than the Nuremberg trial which prosecuted Nazi war crimes.
Finally, the author points out that even though all judges were from the Allied nations, some had critical views to the majority view. Most notable was Judge Radha Binod Pal from India. He was an expert in international law, and rejected the authority given to this court altogether, and wrote a verdict stating all defendants were innocent. He stated that if a country was presented an ultimatum such as the Hull Note of November 26, 1941, even the Principality of Monaco would have risen against the U.S. with arms. (p.187, Vol.II) The judges from Holland, France and the Philippines each presented a minority view. Judge Roling from Holland demanded that judges should have the right to review and modify the Charter of the trial itself which was prepared by the authority of SCAP. The four dissenting judges questioned the foundation on which this trial was established, questioned the legal principles applied to this trial, questioned the responsibilities ofeach defendant, questioned the fairness in court procedures, and questioned the severity of verdicts given. (p.194, Vol.II)