740.00116 PW/12–2448: Telegram

The Acting Political Adviser in Japan (Sebald) to the Secretary of State

305. (Zx 34266) (USIS). 19 Japanese war crimes suspects were released from prison or house arrest Friday, following intensive investigation and the determination not to initiate any additional trials, an announcement of SCAP’s Legal Section stated.

These persons had been originally arrested as possible class “A” war crime suspects and later were held pending determination whether they would be prosecuted as class “B” or class “C” suspects on charges of violating the laws and customs of war or crimes against humanity.

Verdicts of “not guilty” rendered by the international military tribunal for the Far East in the case of certain accused criminals tried together with ex-Premier Tojo, “establish legal precedents that make it highly problematical whether guilt would be established,” the announcement of SCAP’s Legal Section stated.

“The period in office of the suspects investigated by Legal Section were of such limited duration as to render it unlikely that ‘B’ and ‘C’ charges would be supported on the basis of the responsibility of their official position”, the announcement said.

“The case against Soemu Toyoda, former chief of the naval general staff, and Hiroshi Tamura, former head of the prisoner of war information [Page 937] bureau, now being tried in Tokyo will be completed within the next few months,” the announcement stated.

The Tojo trial, the Toy oda and Tamura trials, and the release Friday of the 19 persons completes the disposition of all former major war crimes suspects held in Japan, the announcement said.

The 19 persons released from custody Friday are: Genki Abe, Kisaburo Ando, Eiji Amau, Kazuo Aoki, Fumio Goto, Kumataro Honda, Koichiro Ishihara, Michiyo Iwamura, Nobusuke Kishi, Yoshio Kodama, Yoshihisa Kuzuu, Toshizo Nishio, Shumei Okawa, Ryoichi Sasakawa, Yakichiro Suma, Hayao Tada, Sankichi Takahashi, Masayuki Tani, Ken Terashima.

Sent Shanghai 117, repeated Nanking 81, Manila 63, Department 305.