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After the trials: Class B and C Japanese war criminals and the post-war world

Wilson, S.ORCID: 0000-0002-8341-3120 (2011) After the trials: Class B and C Japanese war criminals and the post-war world. Japanese Studies, 31 (2). pp. 141-149.

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'Lesser' Japanese war criminals, or those in Classes 'B' and 'C', were prosecuted by the various Allied powers in courtrooms around Asia after the Second World War. They were then executed or imprisoned in the places in which they had been tried. By the end of 1953, however, all surviving prisoners had been repatriated to Japan to serve out the remainder of their sentences, and by the end of 1958, all had been released. The decision to repatriate or release prisoners was made by the governments that had tried the war criminals, even after Japan regained its sovereignty in 1952, since the San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulated that the prosecuting countries retained the right to decide on any variation of the prisoners' sentences. The fate of convicted war criminals, therefore, was subject to diplomatic negotiation between Japan and the original prosecuting countries. These negotiations played an important role in the post-war reconfiguration of international relations in the East Asian region. Discussion about the repatriation and release of prisoners constituted one of the first topics of major international negotiation among a reconstructing Japan, the newly independent or decolonising nations of the region, the departing European imperial powers, a United States which was in the process of defining its Cold War aims in the region, and Australian governments seeking to establish a new foreign policy stance in the post-war world.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2011 Japanese Studies Association of Australia.
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