Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Australian Pursuit of Japanese War Criminals, 1943-1957From Foe to Friend$

Dean Aszkielowicz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390724

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390724.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use (for details see www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy). Subscriber: null; date: 16 January 2019

The Second Phase

The Second Phase

Manus Island

(p.80) 6 The Second Phase
The Australian Pursuit of Japanese War Criminals, 1943-1957

Dean Aszkielowicz

Hong Kong University Press

Abstract and Keywords

When the Australian trials encountered logistical difficulties in 1947 and 1948, it came at a time when Australia’s allies were moving away from prosecutions and other measures to punish Japan. The government could have ended its prosecutions in late 1948 to match U.S. policy for the Occupation of Japan, but instead it began a process of navigating the logistical difficulties the program had encountered. The Australian trials completely stalled in 1949, and the ruling Labor government lost power at the December 1949 federal election. The new Liberal government, led by Sir Robert Menzies, built on Labor’s work while in government and rejuvenated the Australian prosecutions. They began on Manus Island, in June 1950. Starting a second phase of prosecutions at this late stage was only possible after some tense negotiations with the U.S. leadership in Occupied Japan, and the decision was a major shock to the Japanese people, which resulted in a grass roots political movement to petition the Australian government to reverse its decision.

Keywords:   Manus Island, Reaction in Japan, Korean War, San Francisco Peace Treaty

The last Australian trials, which were also the last prosecutions of suspected Japanese war criminals by any of the wartime Allies, began on Manus Island, Australian New Guinea, in June 1950. They ended in April 1951, roughly five and a half years after the first Australian trials began. The Manus prosecutions concluded Australia’s pursuit of Japanese war criminals, finally punishing some Japanese just a few months before the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed and almost a decade after their crimes had been perpetrated, as some defendants were tried for crimes committed in 1942. It was a very late point at which to be completing a trial programme that had commenced early in the occupation as part of the project to demilitarize and reform Japan, a project that had since been abandoned. In this second era for the trials, the legal framework remained the same, but both domestically and internationally the social and political context was dramatically different. The trials were by now part of an old policy of dealing with Japan as a former and perhaps future enemy, whereas Japan had since become an acknowledged ally of democratic countries opposed to Communism. The nature and scale of Western political and diplomatic interventions in Asia had changed radically by this stage. The Manus trials are intriguing because of their late timing and the resistance they offered to the changing international context in which they took place.

As the Australian government planned the Manus trials, the occupation was moving steadily towards its conclusion and the restoration of peace. These last trials indicate the Australian government’s resolve to punish Japanese war criminals to the extent that it regarded as appropriate, even if that punishment no longer served the best interests of the occupation. Procedurally, the prosecutions were very similar to the earlier trials. One key difference, however, was that they focused almost entirely on crimes against Australian soldiers rather than local civilians; another was that the government became heavily involved in the confirming of death sentences for the first time.

(p.81) Other writers on the BC trials have acknowledged that the reverse course changed the context of the Australian trials.1 The significance of this point in Australian foreign policy, however, has been understated. The decision to resume trials on Manus Island was made deliberately and against SCAP’s wishes. It was a strong stance to take considering that the trial programme had been encountering serious logistical obstacles for the previous two years. The Australian position on the trials is even more significant when one considers how closely the Australian government was cooperating with the United States in other ways and what was at stake in displaying opposition to the reverse course. Australia had worked hard in BCOF and on the Allied Council for Japan and through Webb and others in the Class A trials. Australian officials and personnel had thus zealously supported early occupation projects, including demilitarization in general and war crimes trials specifically. Prior to the reverse course it is hard to see how any nation could have been considered a closer ally to the United States in the occupation of Japan, or a more important one. Australia was also the first country to commit to assisting the United States in the Korean War.2 Clearly, cooperation with the United States was an important priority in almost all situations in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Even while the Australian military was contributing soldiers to the anti-Communist cause in a new war in Korea, however, and the government was supporting the new cause of Indonesian independence, Australians were still dealing with leftover issues from the Second World War in their prosecutions of suspected Japanese war criminals.

As discussed in the previous chapter, the Australian government needed a new venue if trials were to continue after 1949. Eventually, Manus Island was chosen, and the trials began. At face value the prosecutions appear to represent the completion of unfinished business by the Australian government and military. The Manus trials, however, were more than that. As much as the finishing of a job, they also constituted a positive assertion that official Australian views on Japan had not greatly changed despite the US-led new direction of the occupation and the more general change of US policy for Asia. The Australian government believed that Japan should still be treated as a threat and was not afraid to say so.

It would have been more convenient and efficient for Australian officials serving either the Labor or the Coalition government to have concluded the trials in 1948 when they began to encounter bureaucratic problems, or to allow the programme to lapse in 1950 rather than rejuvenate it. Many war criminals, after all, had already been convicted. The government remained conscious of anti-Japanese sentiment in Australia until well into the 1950s, however, and the fact that neither federal government in the 1940s was prepared to abandon the war crimes trials when it would have been convenient to do so, instead exploring difficult and costly ways to reinvigorate (p.82) them, suggests an acknowledgement in political circles that the trials had high political value domestically. The political value of the trials lay in the fact that they allowed the government to demonstrate a response to the perceived pressure from the electorate for a tough stance on Japan. An early end to the trials was thus never likely. The BC prosecutions had been an important part of the government’s post-war foreign policy agenda as well, intended in part to secure Australia’s status and position in Asia. As mentioned in earlier chapters, the Australian trials were virtually unique as an area of policy on Japan over which Australian officials had total control. This was still the case in 1950. If the trial programme were to cease before the government was satisfied with its progress, very few, if any, areas would remain in which Australia could deal with the Japanese independently.

A major effort was made for the Manus Island trials. New suspects were arrested in Japan in 1949 and 1950, which came as a shock to those who knew suspected war criminals as sons, lovers, husbands, and community members and had assumed that at this late stage no more former soldiers would be charged. In the spirit of reconstruction in Japan after the beginning of the reverse course, pulling people from their communities appeared unjust to many Japanese. Eventually an increasingly vocal Japanese campaign for the repatriation and release of convicted criminals would place significant pressure on the Australian government, as we will see in later chapters. The news of the Manus trials also drew reaction from the Australian press. Reports first appeared in December 1949, just prior to the federal election. The revelation that trials would resume at such a late stage worried some Australians who believed Australia should be treating the Japanese fairly.3 Others, however, seemed less concerned about fair treatment of Japan and more concerned that war criminals might escape prosecution because of the government’s tardiness in bringing them to trial.

Planning for Manus

Official sources show that despite the slowing of the trials under the Chifley government, Labor was never likely to abandon them. In December 1949 Menzies inherited a flawed and stalled process but not one that was totally dead.4 Labor’s commitment to the trials appears to have fluctuated during 1948, but by the middle of 1949 the government had been investigating the possibility of restarting prosecutions and had laid the foundations for what would later become the Manus Island trials. Menzies and the Coalition thus built on the planning conducted under the previous regime, rather than rescuing the trials solely through their own policies and energy. As a (p.83) matter of fact, discussions were well advanced by the time the Coalition took them over. As shown in the previous chapter, Labor conducted vigorous diplomacy with the United States and with officials in Singapore between June 1948 and April 1949 in the search for a new trial venue, and it is doubtful that Australian officials could have done much more to expedite the process at that time. Had the Labor government been able to secure a venue promptly, Australia might well have managed to finish its trials by mid-1949, and thus to have remained in line with other prosecuting countries.

Labor was voted out of office before it could complete the task of restarting the trials, and Menzies inherited the problem. By this time, Manus had emerged as a possible venue, though nothing had been settled.5 In December 1949, the new government considered the question of continuing the trials: Menzies claimed it was one of the first issues on which he took action and that the previous delay ‘violated the fundamental concepts of British justice’.6 After discussions with SCAP the government decided that only cases already prepared for trial and covering serious offences would be pursued, in an effort to minimise the time that Manus would be operational. Cases already prepared covered fifty-one suspects; the remaining suspects in custody were to be released. The government took the view that those to be released were only minor criminals and that their cases were far from ready for trial.7 The Coalition criticized the previous Labor government in parliament for the slow progress of the prosecutions so far.8 In fact, however, the new government restarted the trials with a lower number of cases than had been planned under Labor.

The government was keen to start the Manus trials as soon as possible and began to make preparations. Suspects had to be transported to Manus, along with legal personnel. The government initially thought the trials would take roughly four months, not the year they eventually required. The biggest factor affecting how soon prosecutions could begin would be organizing Australian personnel and Japanese legal teams. Fortunately for the government, staffwho had been investigating war crimes elsewhere were now available to prepare the trial venue, organize other personnel and the suspects, and work in actual tribunals, as all Australian investigations then under way had stopped to focus solely on the cases that were ready for trial at Manus.9 As agreed, SCAP had held on to suspects in Sugamo Prison on behalf of the Australian government, and upon receiving confirmation of the decision to (p.84) continue trials, organized for the transfer of prisoners from Tokyo to Manus Island.10 The initial cost projection for the entire Manus programme was £37,000, though the press later claimed the trials had actually cost £100,000.11

Taken as a whole, the negotiations with SCAP over the Manus prosecutions indicate a number of things about the Australian trials. First, the trials had bipartisan support in Australia even in the face of the changing political landscape in Asia. Second, the Australian government was not oblivious to the changes in US and other Allied policy for Japan and made efforts to conform with those changes, but only up to a point. The Australian governments of 1948, 1949, and 1950 were conscious that their actions on war criminals would stand apart from those of other key Allies if they went ahead with Manus Island. Government assessments showed that Australian policy on war criminals was closer to that of the Philippines, a minor Pacific power, than it was to that of the United States and United Kingdom, two countries officials would have considered more important to Australia’s standing in the region.12 The government did make an effort to complete its trials as quickly as possible after the Manus hearings were set to go ahead and did agree to drop all cases except those ready for prosecution. This foreign relations pragmatism had its limits, however, and at no point in the discussions, within either the Labor or the Coalition governments, were war crimes trials likely to be abandoned. Third, the continuation of the trials had new implications. Prosecuting Japanese war criminals had been a part of Australian foreign policy ever since the final stages of the war. These late stage tribunals at Manus, however, potentially portrayed Australia as too harsh on Japan or unwilling to support reverse course policy, and thus might have serious political and diplomatic ramifications. In short, the Australian government was taking a risk in holding the Manus trials.

At Manus Island, the trial process itself remained more or less the same as in earlier Australian tribunals, but officials were even more conscious that they were under time pressure. Though the authorities had decided to deal only with the most serious cases, and the press openly noted this point,13 the government does not seem to have believed that that decision undermined the tribunals in any way; there was no sense that the government was ‘giving in’ on war criminals. Again, this decision shows that the government was willing to compromise, but not to concede the trials altogether. The decision to concentrate almost solely on crimes against Australian personnel, (p.85) rather than local civilians,14 was also made in the interests of speedily concluding the hearings by narrowing the normally broad scope of the prosecutions. One trial at Manus did deal with crimes committed against Indonesians, as will be discussed below, though the reason for inclusion of this case remains unclear.15

Public Views of the Trials, 1949–1950

The Coalition government acted quickly on war crimes trials and was able to make its plans public relatively soon after taking office. A press release was prepared by the new minister for army and navy, Josiah Francis, in January 1950, the month after the election, stating that action would be taken against remaining prisoners with the ‘utmost expediency’.16 The press announced on 24 February that Menzies was about to clarify the government’s stance on further trials, and he did so in parliament later that day.17 It was then over two months since the election, but Menzies’s action still appears swiftin contrast with the gradual loss of momentum in the trials under Labor.

The two-month gap since the election, however, did allow pressure to build from veterans’ and other grass-roots political organizations that wanted to ensure the new government would be firm with Japanese war criminals. For example, the Lidcombe Branch of the NSW Housewives’ Association wrote to Minister for External Affairs Percy Spender to advise him as follows.

We view with alarm the benevolent attitude towards those responsible for the welfare of those who were in Japanese P.O.W. camps and all those who suffered and were killed and we demand that these criminals be brought to justice.18

To accuse the government of displaying a ‘benevolent’ attitude towards war criminals was a clever tactic. The delay in organizing the Manus trials had evidently produced a robust reaction among sections of the general public, and apparently much of the discussion on war criminals was occurring out of the public eye. The New South Wales Ex-Prisoner of War Association wrote to the Department of the Prime Minister in late December 1949 registering its ‘strong protest of their [the suspects’] release before trials and strong disapproval of the time it has taken to bring them to trial’.19 The letter was a follow-up to one that had been sent to the outgoing Labor government. It, too, (p.86) highlights how passionately some Australians still felt about war criminals. The news that prosecutions were to be held on Manus Island led to an increase in reporting on war criminals once again, after a period during the lull in the trials when few stories had appeared.20 The public comment in 1949 and 1950 suggests there might have been a significant backlash from the press and lobby groups had either the Labor or the Coalition government decided to abandon war crimes trials.

In 1950 the press initially expressed concern that the government had mishandled the situation and that guilty Japanese were going to escape punishment because of the decision to drop all cases except those ready for prosecution. Some stories suggested that SCAP might take a hard line on releasing untried war criminals and that many could be freed—that is, they suggested that SCAP might release even those prisoners who were scheduled for trial at Manus. As late as this, the prospect of suspected Japanese war criminals escaping trial was evidently still unpalatable to some Australians. The press informed readers that Japan remained a possible threat to Australia.21 Politicians and other prominent figures added to the concern over leniency by speaking out publicly on the issue.22

The Coalition deflected some of the criticism by blaming the previous government, which triggered heated debate in parliament in early 1950 over the reasons for the lapse in prosecutions in 1948–1949. When questioned after losing office on the trials’ progress in 1948, Labor’s position was that Australia did not have the resources to complete its trials as efficiently as had its allies.23 The new Coalition government claimed upon taking office, however, that departmental bickering under Labor and a willingness to appease the Japanese during 1948 had been key factors in the decline of the trials.24 Some Coalition comments were later retracted, but in responding to uproar in parliament triggered by the Coalition’s allegations, Labor reiterated that delays had been inevitable, insisting that the chief cause of delay in 1948 was that the government could not secure a suitable venue to hold further trials; there had been no intention of releasing suspects in order to end the proceedings or appease the Japanese.25 Minister for Army and Navy Francis nevertheless claimed publicly that under-resourcing of the trials had been only partially to blame for the delay.26 The fact that as late as 1950 one side of politics was prepared to accuse the other of ‘appeasing’ (p.87) the Japanese, and that the charge was so hotly refuted, suggests the continuing political potency in Australia of decisions on how to treat post-war Japan. The commitment to prosecuting war criminals may have been bipartisan, but policy on trials could still become a political football, and when it did, the stakes were high. Most press stories, meanwhile, suggested that Australians still viewed further BC trials as necessary and that anger about Japanese war criminals had not greatly subsided.27 The subtext to some articles was that Japan was deliberately harbouring militarists, and the language used in reporting Australia’s pursuit of suspects was emotive.

At the same time, the press expressed concern that Australia’s reputation might be tarnished by the delay in conducting further trials or because Australia now found itself at odds with the United States. Though the FEC had no actual power over Australian prosecutions outside Japan, one Sydney report suggested that the US government was questioning whether it was legal for Australia to continue trials, given that the FEC had stated that the prosecutions should end in 1949.28 Veterans were said to be disappointed that Australia’s reputation was in danger because alleged Japanese war criminals had been held for over three years without trial.29 One veterans’ association, the Council of the Eighth Division, claimed that to leave people in such an uncertain state for so long was almost a war crime in itself.30 Such comment shows that the issue of war criminals was recognized as complex; it was not simply a matter of the public opposing leniency towards the Japanese. By 1950 there was also pressure on the government to conduct the trials fairly and to be perceived as doing so internationally.

Matters relating to war criminals were always closely entwined with public concern for the well-being of returned POWs. In 1950, returned Australian prisoners were still experiencing problems reintegrating into society.31 During the lead-up to the Manus trials, the press began to report on how ex-POWs were recovering from their time in captivity; this coverage added a further layer of complexity to the planning for Manus. In January 1950 the Australian Repatriation Department began calling up ex-POWs to undergo complete health checks. In reporting on this, the press drew attention to the fact that former POWs were still dealing with health issues from the war.32 Indeed, during this period returned servicemen’s organizations appear to have been making a conscious effort to give full play to the harshness of conditions (p.88) under the Japanese, as a reminder to the general public of the great sacrifices that had been made.33

The government was sensitive to press reaction to matters associated with war criminals. Official sources make clear that the government closely followed reports on the Manus Island trials and related issues; it even took positive action on occasion to try to lessen potential press reaction. In June 1950, Bishop Michael Yashiro, presiding bishop of the Anglican Church of Japan, visited Australia. The purpose of the visit from Yashiro’s point of view was to promote reconciliation between Australia and Japan. He was also attempting to gain support, presumably from the government or from the Anglican Church in Australia, for a campaign to Christianize Japan, a campaign that accorded with General MacArthur’s own wishes.34 Many Australians were indignant at his proposed visit, a reaction that bemused Anglicans in Japan, and it was evident from an early point in the planning that Yashiro’s visit would be controversial. He had travelled outside occupied Japan before, to attend the Anglican Church’s Lambeth Conference in England in May 1948. Although he was on a SCAP list of approved travellers, the Australian government had not previously allowed him to visit Australia.35 Government correspondence concerning the forthcoming visit underlines the official sensitivity to public opinion on war criminals. A letter from the Department of the Prime Minister to the Australian embassy in Tokyo in March 1950 states:

Press and Radio have already given some prominence of forthcoming visit to Australia including report that Bishop will seek reduction on sentence of convicted Japanese War Criminals. Please point out to Bishop Yashiro importance of refraining from any remarks that may be taken in Australia as focal point for public controversy. He should be under no illusions of delicate nature of situation likely to meet him here and the care which he will have to exercise over his actions before arriving and while in Australia.36

In June 1950 the Canberra Times summarized the opinions of various veterans’ organizations in Canberra about Bishop Yashiro’s visit. Although one group pointed out that Japan had been Australia’s ally in the First World War and that a man should not be judged solely on the actions of his countrymen, most associations viewed the visit as hypocritical and poorly timed, given that the Manus trials were beginning, and generally protested at the visit.37 On the other hand it was reported that BCOF soldiers in Japan held the bishop in very high regard, even helping to pay for his (p.89) travel to the Lambeth Conference, and that the bishop himself had been persecuted by the Japanese wartime regime.38 The visit passed without major incident, although the bishop was guarded by Australian police officers at certain times.39

Reaction in Japan

In 1949 and 1950, the reverse course was under way and Japan was moving towards a new role in Asia aligned with the United States against Communism. Some Japanese war crimes suspects, however, had only just been released, and further Australian trials were still in prospect. At the beginning of January 1950 SCAP had released prisoners from Sugamo who had been arrested at Australia’s request but had faced a long period without trial and were not on the Australian list of suspects for the Manus tribunals. Meanwhile, convicted war criminals were still incarcerated in Manila among other places overseas, in the custody of the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and Australia was still holding untried suspects in various places outside Japan who eventually ended up in the Manus trials. Thus, while peace had become the prime goal for Japan, and reform of Japanese institutions had halted under the reverse course, many former soldiers still faced retribution. Meanwhile, SCAP began to develop a parole system at Sugamo Prison around the same time that the Manus Island trials were being initiated, a move which probably reinforced the sense that Australia, in preparing for a whole new set of trials, was a long way behind other countries.40

In these circumstances, the Manus trials caused a wave of uncertainty in Japan, even though the number of trials was relatively small. The Australian government planned to try around 150 suspects, some of whom remained in Sugamo awaiting transfer to Manus Island, with the agreement of SCAP. There were, however, other suspects still at large and on 28 January 1950 SCAP announced that it had ordered the Japanese government to arrest forty-three new suspects, making it clear that this action was a response to the request of the Australian government and that the men were to be tried on Manus Island.41 This public announcement distanced SCAP both from the decision to arrest the suspects, laid squarely at the feet of the Australian government, and from the process of arresting them, which was to be the responsibility of the Japanese police. In Australia, the press reported that a great new ‘man hunt’ for war criminals was taking place with the backing of General MacArthur.42 One (p.90) newspaper claimed, however, that the Japanese police were refusing to assist in the pursuit of suspects and that many wanted men had gone ‘underground’.43 Australian officials also seem to have initially feared that suspects would go into hiding, but the government came to believe that, in reality, few suspects were avoiding apprehension.44

The very public announcement that there would be new arrests and trials must also have contributed to the growing unease and shock among the seven million demobilized soldiers in Japan and their families. As a consequence of the uncertainty and anguish over the continued pursuit of war criminals, the Australian embassy in Tokyo was overwhelmed with petitions and pleas for leniency from Japanese families, individuals, and organizations. Petitions often attested to the character of individual prisoners, claiming that the prisoner in question was a good person and an important member of his community. Some petitions took up the cause of family members who had only recently been arrested in Japan and sent to await trial on Manus Island. The wife of Nonaka Masaichi wrote that her husband was the only support for her family. He had returned to Japan from the war with no money, then was purged by the occupation, and forced into ‘a miserable line of work’, though the nature of the work is leftunexplained. Nonaka Hanako claimed that her husband was gentle and timid and that he had been forced to fight the war. Since the end of the war she had adjusted to life with her husband again.45 This petition highlights the fact that the Manus trials were convened at such a late date and that new suspects were detached from their communities in Japan a long time after the cessation of hostilities. The petition for the release of Nakaya Morie, signed by over a thousand members of the Ni-O Village Women’s Society, outlined the impact that removing him from his family would have.46 It was said that Nakaya had a family of six, with only his wife able to provide a small income for them in his absence. They had no property and no other way of acquiring funds. This petition was typical in attesting to the suspect’s good character and stature in his community while also asserting that his removal from the community would have severe consequences for his dependants.

Such petitions to the Australian government, usually sent through the embassy in Tokyo, portray the Japanese suspects and convicted criminals in a far different light from the way they were depicted in the Australian press. Though they were seen as evil symbols of militarism in Australia, most Japanese suspects were ordinary men with families. They were part of a community and, if the petitions from their families and villages are accurate, they exhibited normal levels of humanity and compassion while in their home country. This is not to deny that most of these soldiers had committed cruel crimes against POWs and local civilians; there is overwhelming evidence that (p.91) atrocities were committed. It is clear, however, that the trials were viewed differently in each country. What was seen as a just trial of a suspected war criminal in Australia could easily be perceived in Japan as an exercise in revenge against a community member who had been forced into desperate circumstances. This clash of views was most marked in the context of the Manus trials. Though individual pleas for leniency for family members had been received since the beginning of the trials, organized Japanese action on behalf of BC war criminals did not occur immediately after the surrender.47 By the time of the final prosecutions, however, the Japanese public was more active on behalf of suspects. Moreover, the Manus trials came after repatriates, including former soldiers and war crimes suspects, had returned to life in Japan, and thus the sense of injustice and dislocation from post-war peace was much stronger.

On behalf of the Nationwide Repatriates Convention, Konishi Kyosuke petitioned the Australian embassy in February 1950:

According to a newspaper report, it was, in the month of January this revealed [sic] that Japanese war criminal suspects concerned with your country would be arrested. This caused a keen interest among Japanese people. If such things would come to take shape, we cannot help worrying about the fact that, not only Japanese people but the public opinions of whole world would become apt to entertain a doubt on fairness and generosity by your country up to here. We are firmly convinced in that [sic] your country would take lenient steps on this matter, while today in all other Allied powers Japanese war criminals have been sent back to Japan to serve their sentences. By god we hope that newspaper reports were in error.48

It is clear from this letter that the repatriates who took part in the convention had been shaken by the prospect that their partially rebuilt lives could be uprooted yet again. The letter mentions the concepts of both justice and generosity, indicating that repatriated soldiers clearly felt there was something morally wrong with holding trials at such a late date but also that they wished to beg the Australian government to leave them to get on with their lives. Konishi’s letter also shows that the repatriates recognized Australia’s action on war criminals as distinct from that of the United States and other Allies.

Questions about Australia’s extension of war crimes proceedings, usually carefully phrased, came from diverse sources. The Australian embassy in Tokyo received a call, for example, from an archbishop in the Vatican on behalf of petitions sent to him. Apparently, the Vatican had been discussing war crimes trials in general and (p.92) the archbishop felt the need to ask the Australian government to be more selective and lenient in choosing the cases that went to trial. The archbishop made it clear that he was acting on his own initiative but that the Vatican had raised the issue of war criminals.49

Although policy for war crimes trials was decided at the highest levels of government, it really was an issue that concerned ordinary people. The matter of war criminals was still topical in both Australia and Japan in 1950, which was not the case in many other countries. In the main the Australian people seemed to wish to remain vigilant, while the Japanese people, or at least the families of former soldiers, seemed despairing and exhausted in the face of the continuation of Australia’s trial programme. Decisions made by the Australian government on further trials only directly concerned a small number of people. Yet the ramifications would in some ways affect millions. As Konishi Kyosuke’s petition shows, although only a few Japanese suspects would be prosecuted on Manus Island, no one knew who might be arrested and the trials unsettled all of those who had fought overseas. On the other hand, although there must have been suspicion in Australia that not all war criminals had been prosecuted, the extra trials at Manus would prove sufficient to settle the issue, more or less, for thousands of returned servicemen and their families. The effects of the Manus trials were thus far-reaching.

Despite the dramatic political and diplomatic changes of the late 1940s, plans to continue Australian trials survived, indicating their perceived importance to the Australian people and resilience in the face of the wider goals for the region expressed by the Australian and US governments. The Australian government expected Japan to take part in new regional arrangements but still wanted to deal cautiously with Japan. The government was engaged in discussions with the United States about South East Asian security, as Australia pushed for a regional security arrangement, partly to insure against any further threat from Japan.50 The ongoing salience of war crimes trials in Australian foreign policy underlines the point that the significance of the prosecutions extends beyond the question of whether they were ‘fair’. The continued pursuit of war criminals shows how steadfast Australian anger towards Japan was, at both the government and popular level, and how unwilling the government was to abandon wartime concerns.

The Korean War, the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and ANZUS

The timing of the Manus proceedings was awkward for Australian diplomats and for US officials in Japan. As the prosecutions progressed into 1951, new developments in (p.93) Japan and Asia began to shape Australia’s foreign policy agenda. Peace with Japan was imminent: Australia’s trials ended on 9 April 1951, just five months before the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on 8 September. Australia also signed the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS) on 1 September 1951 and the United States signed a separate security treaty with Japan on 8 September. The time for war crimes trials had passed.

When the Coalition entered office at the beginning of 1950, it faced the difficult tasks of both continuing to deal with Australia’s most recent enemy in the Pacific and helping to find a way to protect the Pacific from the potential threat of Communism. Six months after the new government took office, the onset of the Korean War made the Communist threat more visible than ever. The war began on 25 June 1950 and ended on 27 July 1953, a period that coincided with Australia’s resumption of war crimes trials, their conclusion, and then the repatriation negotiations between Australia and Japan. Communist forces on the side of North Korea, including the Soviet Union, were ranged against a United Nations coalition of the United States and sixteen other nations including South Korea, Australia, and Japan, though the Japanese personnel were in non-combat roles.51 The Korean War appeared to signal the start of the conflict between democracy and Communism in Asia for which US policy had been preparing since at least the beginning of the reverse course in Japan. The war heavily influenced US security policy for the region in the 1950s, contributing strongly to the decision to sign security treaties with Asian and Pacific nations, including Australia.52

Australian policy on Japan was slow to change, and, as we will see in Chapter 8, did not undergo a significant shiftuntil 1954, well after the war in Korea had ended. Nonetheless, the Korean War had an impact on the BC war crimes trials. The conflict strengthened the official US conviction that Japan was now an important ally, and concerns about a resurgent Japanese militarism faded even further. The contrast between US and Australian policy thus became very clear in this period. In June 1950 Australia committed troops to the Korean War in order to combat Communism and support the United States. Just two months previously, however, the government had commenced a new set of war crimes prosecutions of defendants from a nation that was now an important ally in the new conflict in Asia.

Australia’s political attitude to Japan in the late 1940s and in 1950 was more or less bipartisan, with the foreign policy agenda of the new Coalition government closely aligned to the core goals that the Labor Party had pursued during its time in (p.94) power.53 Percy Spender became the new minister for external affairs after the 1949 election, and although he was aware that his predecessor had had some small success in negotiating with the United States over bolstering Pacific security to guard against the possible resurgence of Japan, he also acknowledged that the diplomatic landscape had changed. Spender, in fact, privately agreed with US assessments that the growing Communist influence in Asia had emerged as a greater threat than Japanese militarism, especially later in his tenure as the Korean War began.54 On the official level, however, US and Australian evaluations of Japan’s place in Pacific security were now at odds.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on 8 September 1951, brought the occupation of Japan to a close when it took effect on 28 April 1952. Japan and the United States also signed the security treaty between the United States and Japan on the same day as the San Francisco Peace Treaty.55 The peace treaty turned out to be more lenient than Australian officials could have envisaged early in the occupation. It included a key provision on war criminals that will be discussed in the next chapter, but the issue that most vexed the negotiations over the agreement was a completely separate one: the question of Japanese rearmament. According to the dominant Western, democratic viewpoint, Japan needed to be able to contribute to its own defence in order to ensure the stability of the Pacific.56 The treaty writers thus chose not to outlaw rearmament and actually allowed for a certain degree of rearmament through the creation of the National Police Reserve, a force that was in practice a military organization, or at least a police organization armed with military hardware including tanks and fighter aircraft.57 The US government envisaged that Japanese rearmament would both help to defend the country against the Communist threat and ease the burden on the US forces which were to remain in Japan after the occupation under the terms of the security treaty. The 1951 stance was one that conformed with US policy for all its allies, which emphasized that they should do their utmost to contribute to their own defence.58

For the Australian government, Japanese rearmament was the chief sticking point in the peace treaty. As we have seen, long-standing caution towards Japan initially made it difficult for Australian officials to accept that the rise of Communism was significant enough to alter Japan’s status to that of a close and trusted ally. This stance weakened over time, however. Remnants of older attitudes remained important, but (p.95) increasingly, the government did come to believe that Communism posed a significant danger in Asia, that the potential threat from Japan had greatly diminished, and that it was in Australia’s interest to cultivate better ties with Asian countries, including Japan.59 Moreover, given the realities of power politics, the government ultimately had no choice but to ‘carry out Australian Pacific policies as far as possible in cooperation with’ the United States.60 For these reasons, the Australian government eventually agreed to a peace settlement with Japan that it had initially criticized, and which seemed to allow for the much-feared Japanese rearmament.

There was one major safeguard. During the period of heightened tensions in Korea and discussions about the peace treaty, the Australian government successfully negotiated a new treaty with the US government: the Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty.61 More than anything else, ANZUS was a compromise among US, New Zealand, and Australian officials. It was not specific about military commitments, but in general terms it guaranteed the United States had an interest in Australia’s and New Zealand’s security in the Pacific, a matter of concern for all three post-war governments. ANZUS formally acknowledged that the United States would stay involved in Pacific security.62 The new treaty provided the Australian government with peace of mind about security issues and, in conjunction with the reluctant acceptance that policy for Japan must change, made the Japanese peace settlement far more palatable. Rosecrance has suggested that at the beginning of the occupation, the Australian government sought ‘direct’ control of its security by maintaining support for a harsh and restrictive peace with Japan. In the end, he contends, Australia gained security ‘indirectly’ through ANZUS, and with the signing of the peace treaty in 1951, Japan was included within the Western democratic fold.63

The international context discussed above developed gradually during the planning for the Manus trials and the operation of the tribunals. Throughout the whole period, however, the diplomatic climate always appeared to be shifting towards better relations between Japan and the former wartime Allies. Thus it was necessary to complete the Manus prosecutions in a timely manner.

(p.96) The New Prosecutions

In all, twenty-six trials were held on Manus, making it the second-largest Australian venue after Rabaul in terms of cases heard. Like the earlier Australian trials, the Manus prosecutions covered a diverse set of crimes and produced a wide range of verdicts. One hundred and thirteen defendants were tried, with sixty-nine found guilty of one or more charges and five executed.64 As will be seen later in this chapter, the number of death sentences handed down in the courts was higher, but a significant number were commuted. The trial process itself did not change greatly between the first Australian prosecutions in November 1945 and those on Manus Island, and the Manus trials largely exhibit the same limitations as their early counterparts. The rules of evidence remained the same, Japanese legal personnel were still under severe time pressure and the JAG was critical of a number of the trials. There were some differences from the previous trials, however. As mentioned earlier, the Manus Island trials mainly focused on crimes against Australians, whereas in previous cases a number of defendants had been prosecuted for crimes against local civilians in Japanese-occupied areas. Another change was that as the Manus trials wore on, the new Coalition government became increasingly involved in the process of confirming sentences, whereas in the past, sentences had been confirmed solely by a military ‘confirming officer’.

The Manus prosecutions reaffirmed Australia’s image as a nation that was tough on Japanese militarism and active in shaping the future of Japan, an image that both the Labor and the Coalition governments promoted. The new tribunals were designed to achieve the same political outcome as their earlier counterparts: a relatively efficient pursuit of Japanese militarism that satisfied political and electoral sentiment in Australia. After Manus, as we will see in the next chapter, the Australian government remained wary of the Japanese but increasingly felt the need to soften its stance on war criminals, either due to diplomatic pressure from Japan or to the clearer recognition that Japan had become a political ally of democratic nations. The Manus trials, in fact, are one of the last issues through which the Australian government pursued its uncompromising stance on Japanese militarism.

There was a strong legal presence for the Manus trials. Justice Kenneth Townley from Queensland was appointed as president of the court, while W. B. Simpson remained the judge advocate general in Australia. The quality of defence for the Japanese on trial was arguably higher at Manus than at any other Australian venue. For a start, the defence personnel were all Japanese, an advantage in overcoming the language barrier, at least between lawyer and defendant, that had been an obstacle (p.97) at other trial venues, where few Japanese defence personnel had been used. Judging from the trial records, defence personnel also appear to have had a good knowledge of the rules and customs by which the court operated. Correspondence between Townley and the government indicates that by this point the experience of Australian personnel had also led to a better understanding on their part of the trial process. For example, Townley, anticipating that the trials might take far longer to complete than was first thought, wrote to the government with a list of recommendations for speeding them up. His suggestions were mainly about procedure; he recommended, for instance, that the sequence of trials should be arranged so that Japanese defence personnel would not have to appear in consecutive trials, a situation that in the past had often led to requests for an adjournment to allow defence personnel to prepare for a case.65

Despite their expertise, the Japanese defence teams still faced significant challenges. Australian authorities were under pressure to complete the trials promptly. Twentysix trials in twelve months seems a fairly moderate burden on trial personnel; it was comparable to the schedule at Singapore and Hong Kong, though far less efficient than the progress made at Morotai, Labuan, and Rabaul. There was a sense of haste at Manus, however, and the Japanese defence teams clearly began to feel the pressure. Time constraints are evident in the trial records, on both sides of the courtroom.

The Ito Hiroshi trial provides an example of the severe pressure on Japanese defence lawyers. Between 18 January and 8 March 1951, Ito and fifteen others were prosecuted for executing prisoners in February 1942 near Babaoe in the Dutch East Indies. On 18 January, the first morning of the trial, the defence counsel, Sakai Yusuke, asked for an adjournment:

[I] wish to ask the court for an adjournment of this case after the case for the prosecution until 0830 hours January 31st because I have not had sufficient time to prepare for this case on [sic] the following reasons: that since 8th August 1950 for about 160 days I have been busy with other cases and had no time to see Ito and the 15 others of this case.66

Sakai then outlined the other cases on which he had worked, including some with large numbers of accused. He mentioned that he had become ill and had not had the opportunity to see Ito and the others until the previous day. The courts appear to have acknowledged the time pressures on the Japanese lawyers and granted short adjournments where possible. In this instance, an adjournment was granted after the case for the prosecution had been heard, on 19 January, with the trial resuming on 31 January. For a lawyer under the strain that Sakai was experiencing, a short adjournment would (p.98) have been welcome but would hardly have been sufficient for him to operate at his best in court.

One of the more unusual crimes tried at Manus was that of Surgeon Captain Nakamura Hirosato and others, in Soerabaja (now Surabaya) in the Dutch East Indies, in which two men were sentenced to three and four years in prison respectively for killing fifteen natives on Lombok Island around April 1945.67 The Indonesians had been condemned to death by a Japanese military tribunal, a verdict that the defence and the prosecution during the war crimes trial agreed was legitimate, although not all the details of the Japanese tribunal are clear in the BC court record. After the local inhabitants were condemned, Nakamura began inoculating them with experimental toxins.68 Nakamura was found guilty at Manus of unlawful killing and sentenced to four years imprisonment. He was unusually creative in his petitions against the verdict, alleging first that ‘unlawful killing’ was not covered by the War Crimes Act. According to the JAG, however, this claim was unfounded.69 Nakamura also petitioned that his case was selective in that his crimes were not committed against Australian soldiers and that in February 1950 Australian authorities had stated that only crimes against Australians would now be pursued.70 He further claimed that the charge of unlawful killing was added to the prosecution at short notice and that the defence had not had sufficient time to prepare for it. The JAG rejected these points in their entirety and gave his view that the guilty verdict for unlawful killing was legal, judging that although the Australian government had wished to pursue only crimes against Australians, the courts still had jurisdiction in this case.

The Australian press naturally covered the Manus prosecutions, though not in as great detail as the initial trials. The Sydney Morning Herald commented on 1 June 1951 after the last of the trials:

During the hearing of the 26 cases two facts stood out in bold relief. One was the inflexible discipline of the Japanese Military code. The other was the cool courage of the young Australian soldiers and airmen faced with execution.71

The references to fanatical behaviour among the Japanese soldiers and to magnificent character among Australian soldiers recall the reporting of earlier years.

(p.99) The End of the Manus Trials

The Manus Island trials ended in April 1951, with fourteen death sentences (covering thirteen individuals) handed down by the courts and awaiting confirmation.72 Immediately, representations to the highest levels of politics in Australia were made from Japan, asking for the death sentences to be commuted. Asai Kenkyo, a Buddhist priest and part of the Japanese defence team on Manus, wrote the following to Prime Minister Menzies on 9 April 1951.

Your honour, the trials of Japanese war criminals by your country have finished today, and all the crimes have been brought to light to be punished and a warning has been given to the world so that no war crimes can be committed again. The aim of the military court has been fully attained.

Asai made a further appeal to the benevolence of the prime minister and the Australian people.

On this memorable day of the close of the military court on Manus Island, I humbly petition for the mitigation of the death sentences of these poor persons, which I eagerly wish, would be accorded by your Honour and the people of your country who have good understanding and benevolence and lay the love of god to the heart.73

From Asai’s letter, it is clear that the Japanese defence counsel acknowledged the trials’ grander goals, or at least recognized their importance in the Australian government’s justification of the prosecutions. Asai not only appealed for benevolence but also on the grounds of logic: the aim of the Australian government to make an example of Japanese militarism had been achieved. Asai’s petition was forwarded to and considered by cabinet, which then rejected the call for commutation of the death sentences.74

Overall, the Coalition government took a more hands-on approach to the trials than had the Labor government when it was in power. The change had come about after the trial of one of the first defendants at Manus, Lt Gen. Nishimura Takuma, who was found guilty of illegally ordering the execution of a number of Allied soldiers in Parit Sulong, Malaya, on 22 January 1942.75 Nishimura petitioned against the sentence, but his death sentence was upheld by the confirming officer. In his case, however, the procedure for ultimately confirming the death sentence was unusual. (p.100) Cabinet became involved in the process, for reasons that are not totally clear. This was a new step entirely, as cabinet had not previously interfered with the confirming officer’s role. Nishimura was a very senior officer and cabinet sought the opinion of a number of legal experts, aside from the JAG, before approving the confirmation of the death sentence. From this point on, cabinet was more heavily involved; the final death sentences at Manus needed cabinet approval before they were carried out. The Coalition government had accused Labor of handling the trials poorly and after taking office may have been attempting to ensure that proceedings ran smoothly in adding another layer of political interference to the process. There must also have been a recognition, however, that these particular trials were occurring long after other governments had concluded theirs and therefore needed careful handling.

In the end, the sentences of eight of the thirteen criminals condemned to death were commuted to life imprisonment or even lesser terms, and only five prisoners were executed at Manus. Five facing death had their sentences commuted in one case, that of Ito and fifteen others, described above.76 Government interference in the confirmation of sentences invites speculation that the decision to show leniency was politically motivated. Official records show, however, that cabinet was initially prepared to approve the confirmation of death sentences, pending the full review of cases by the JAG.77 The JAG did advise, eventually, that a number of death sentences should be commuted and the confirming authority, technically still Adj. Gen. Anderson, but with cabinet also heavily involved in the process, followed the JAG’s advice. It is unlikely that any petitions had a role in the commuting of the death sentences, given the initial stance of the cabinet and the general refusal of anyone involved with the prosecutions to be persuaded by the petitions for clemency from Japan or elsewhere.78

The retrospective view of the Manus Island trials is significantly altered by the commutation of nine death sentences to prison terms. Had twenty-six cases produced fourteen confirmed death sentences, so long after the war had ended and so near the peace treaty, the trials might have been considered heavy-handed. But when the JAG commented on the complex nature of the Manus trials and made recommendations, Anderson and the cabinet appear to have listened. The inference is that the JAG’s recommendation is the factor that saved the convicted criminals’ lives. The JAG’s influence in the earlier trials was only sporadic, though perhaps the comparatively small sample of the Manus trials distorts the impression. On the other hand, cabinet’s deliberations were much more transparent than Sturdee’s had been as confirming (p.101) officer and head of the army for the majority of the trials; Sturdee was never, as far as can be seen from official records, required to explain his decisions, whereas cabinet was prepared to make a press statement on at least part of its reasoning for commuting certain sentences.79 Perhaps as the context of the trials had altered and the process of confirming death sentences had expanded to include political figures with a strong grasp of this changing context, it was not as easy to pursue Japanese militarism as unmercifully as in the past. The question of why so many death sentences needed to be altered, however, has no clear answer. It would seem better for the courts to have delivered verdicts in the first place that were more in line with the reasonable sentencing suggestions of the JAG. On the other hand, the amendments suggested by the JAG and approved by the confirming authorities suggest confusion in the courtrooms on Manus had made sentencing difficult in the first place.

The Menzies government appeared more willing to associate itself closely with the sentencing of Japanese war criminals than the previous government had been. The political climate had certainly changed from the early years of the trials, and more explanation and government involvement in the legal process was perhaps required. On 1 June 1951, the national press reported that Menzies had confirmed the commutation of the death sentences of seven Japanese men and that the government had also confirmed the death sentences of five prisoners, four on the previous day and one on the day of the announcement.80 The previous Labor government had never been so closely associated with the death sentences, remaining content for the responsibility to fall on the confirming officer. Presumably, though, Labor could have chosen to become involved in the confirmation process if the government had wished to, as the legal framework for Manus was the same as it had been for the previous trials.

The five death sentences remain a grim finish to the Australian BC trial proceedings. Though the government did commute the sentences in some cases, the decision to do so appears to have been based on legal advice rather than goodwill or political pressure. The United States executed its last seven prisoners in Japan in early 1950, though they had been sentenced in 1948. Thus, the Australian government in fact executed two fewer Japanese prisoners in the 1950s than the United States did. The key difference is that by the time the Manus trials finished, the United States had not sentenced a Japanese war criminal to death for three years.81 There were also fourteen executions in Manila on 19 January 1951, however, so Australia was not alone in executing prisoners at such a late date.82 The Manus trials revealed a well-functioning (p.102) relationship between the JAG and the confirming authorities, and the result of the trials, in the face of a changing political landscape in Asia, seems to have satisfied Australian calls for justice for war criminals. No evidence appears of widespread public disapproval when the trials concluded. Nevertheless, the 1951 death sentences constitute a marker of the endurance of the Australian prosecution programme. The trials ended in April 1951 but the fate of the surviving Japanese war criminals was still years from being finalized. Elsewhere, dealings with war criminals had moved rapidly away from convictions and executions. The parole system at Sugamo was functioning in 1951. After the end of the Australian trials, calls from Japan for repatriation of war criminals intensified. In among the official documents discussing the decision not to commute death sentences at Manus in response to petitions from Japan are records showing that the Australian government was simultaneously considering US policy on parole and other forms of early release for war criminals in the post-treaty period. The Australian government opposed any suggestion that the Japanese government should be able to participate in the decision to grant any future form of leniency to war criminals, preferring to retain full control over prisoners’ futures,83 and after the trials, the official Australian focus quickly shifted from convicting war criminals to working out how to keep them in prison.


(2.) Peter Gifford, ‘Cold War across Asia’, in Goldsworthy, Facing North, 182–84.

(3.) ‘Australia to Try Japs on Manus Island: Delay in War Trials’, The Sunday Herald (Sydney), 4 December 1949, 5.

(4.) Pappas, ‘Law and Politics’, 67–75Georgina Fitzpatrick, ‘Last Trials: Manus Island’, in Australia’s War Crimes Trials, 1945–1951, ed. Georgina Fitzpatrick, Tim McCormack, and Narrelle Morris (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2016), 646–86.

(5.) ‘Memo to Department of External Territories’, 21 February 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(6.) Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, vol. 206, 24 February 1950, ‘Prime Minister Menzies February Speech in Parliament’, 101–2.

(7.) ‘Coalition Cabinet Agendum on Continuation of War Crimes Trials’, January 1950, NAA, Canberra, A4940, 1334903.

(8.) ‘Labor Row on Jap Trials Exposed’, 17 March 1950, The Argus (Melbourne), 3; ‘Mr Menzies Critical of Delay in Jap War Crime Trials’, 25 February 1950, The Mercury (Tasmania), 5.

(10.) ‘Chief of Legal Section—Memo for Record’, February 1950, Decimal 290–12–04–06, SCAP Legal Section, NARA, RG331, box 1435.

(11.) ‘Coalition Cabinet Agendum on Continuation of War Crimes Trials’‘Jap. War Trials End: Cost £100,000’, The Canberra Times, 10 April 1951, 1.

(13.) ‘Worst Japs Only for Trials’, The Argus, 24 April 1950, 7.

(14.) ‘Exhibit 20—Article in The Sydney Sun and The Nippon Times regarding the Focus of the Manus Trials on Crimes Committed against Australians Only. Tendered in Evidence to the Court at Manus Island in the Trial of Nakamura Hirosato’, 11 February 1950 (date of article), NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(15.) ‘War Crimes Trial of Nakamura Hirosato—Record of Military Court’, April 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(16.) ‘Statement for the Minister for Army and Navy’, 11 January 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(17.) ‘War Crimes Trials’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 1950, 3

(18.) ‘Housewives’ Association to Spender’, 16 March 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(19.) ‘NSW Ex-POWs to Menzies’, 21 December 1949, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(25.) ‘Warm Debate on War Trials’, 17 June 1950, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 3.

(26.) ‘Lab Cabinet Blamed for Lag in Trials (Government Record of Press Coverage)’, n.d., NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(27.) ‘Man Hunt News Report’, 29 January 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(28.) ‘US Queries on Jap Trials’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 1950, in NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834

(32.) ‘“Four Years On”—Sydney Herald Report’, 22 January 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(34.) Ray A. Moore, Soldier of God: MacArthur’s Attempt to Christianize Japan (Portland, ME: MerwinAsia, 2011).

(35.) William H. Coaldrake, ed., Japan from War to Peace: The Coaldrake Records, 1939–1956 (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 176–77, 289.

(36.) ‘Bishop Yashiro Memo and Related Coverage’, April/June 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(37.) ‘Bishop Yashiro’, Canberra Times, 15 June 1950, 1.

(38.) ‘Bishop Yashiro’, The Advertiser, 14 June 1950, 2. For examples of positive and negative reactions to the Bishop’s visit, see also the two letters in the article ‘Bishop Yashiro’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1950, 2.

(39.) ‘Police Guard Dr Yashiro at Armidale’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 June 1950, 4.

(40.) ‘List of Parole and Procedures’, 13 May 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(41.) ‘Arrest Ordered of 43 More Japs’, The Mail (Adelaide), 28 January 1950, 2.

(43.) ‘AAP War Crimes Hitch’, 21 January 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(44.) ‘Coalition Cabinet Agendum on Continuation of War Crimes Trials’.

(45.) ‘Nonaka Hanako Petition’, 6 April 1950, NAA, Canberra, A471, 726998.

(46.) ‘Morie Nakaya Petition’, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(47.) Sandra Wilson, ‘Prisoners in Sugamo and Their Campaign for Release, 1952–1953’, Japanese Studies 31, no. 2 (September 2001): 171–73.

(48.) ‘Konishi Kyosuke Letter to Envoy Hodgson’, 12 February 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834. Konishi’s claim that all other war criminals had already been sent back to Japan is inaccurate. For the convention, see Lori Watt, When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Centre, 2009), 83–87.

(49.) ‘Archbishop Maximilian de Furstenburg to Australian Mission’, 23 February 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(51.) On the Korean War generally, see William Stueck, The Korean War: An International History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997). For Australia in the Korean War, see Richard Trembath, A Different Sort of War: Australians in Korea 1950–1953 (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2005); Robert O’Neill, Australia in the Korean War: 1950–1953 (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1981).

(55.) The treaty was renewed and updated in 1960 as the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan.

(59.) Derek McDougall, Australian Foreign Policy: Entering the 21st Century (South Melbourne: Longman, 1998), 168; Rosecrance, Australian Diplomacy and Japan, 11, 242–49; Millar, Australia in Peace and War, 268–69; Renouf, Frightened Country, 58–59; David Lowe, Menzies and the “Great World Struggle”: Australia’s Cold War 1948–1954 (Sydney: UNSW Press, 1999). For press discussion of both the Communist threat and the enduring threat from Japan, see ‘1949 Moments in Time’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 January 1950, 8; and ‘An Ex POW Looks at East Asia’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 1950, 2.

(60.) Alan Watt, The Evolution of Australian Foreign Policy 1938–1965 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 113.

(61.) Joseph G. Starke, The ANZUS Treaty Alliance (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1965).

(64.) ‘Japanese War Criminals Charged Under the War Crimes Act 1945 List 7—Manus Island Trials’, 17 July 1951, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(65.) Townley to Army HQ, 26 June 1950, NAA, Melbourne, MP742/1, 391800.

(66.) ‘Ito Hiroshi Case for the Prosecution Trial Proceedings—Sheets 5–6’, 18 January 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720988.

(67.) Australian Military Forces, ‘Record of Military Court—Nakamura Hirosato and Others’, 2 April 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(68.) Trial records of Nakamura Hirosato and others, ‘Case for Prosecution’, 20 March 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(69.) JAG, ‘Cover Pg. of JAG Review of Nakamura Hirosato and Others’, 16 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(70.) Nakamura Hirosato, ‘Letter to Confirming Officer Containing Petition’, 13 April 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720962.

(71.) George Dickinson, ‘How Justice Was Done on Manus Island’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 June 1951, 2.

(72.) Minister for Army Josiah Francis, ‘Memo for Cabinet Outlining Death Sentences at Manus’, 3 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, MP742/1, 393108.

(73.) Asai Kenkyo, ‘Letter to Robert Menzies’, 9 April 1951, NAA, Canberra, A4940, 1337410.

(74.) Secretary to Cabinet, ‘Circular Informing Cabinet Members that the Decision to Not Uphold the Petitions was Made’, 28 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, A4940, 1337410.

(75.) ‘Record of Military Court—Nishimura Takuma and Nonaka Shoichi’, 22 June 1950, NAA, Canberra, A471, 726998.

(76.) Australian Military Forces, ‘Record of Military Court—Ito Hiroshi and Fifteen Others’, 8 March 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 720988.

(77.) Secretary to Cabinet, ‘Note on Cabinet Submission 1’, 28 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, A4940, 1337410.

(78.) JAG, ‘Pg. 2–12 of JAG Review of Ito Hiroshi and Fifteen Others—Letter to Adjutant General’, 4 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 81958.

(79.) ‘Statement by Prime Minister’, 1 June 1951, NAA, Canberra, A471, 726998.

(80.) ‘Seven Japs Reprieved’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 June 1951, 2; ‘Execution of Fifth Jap. War Criminal Confirmed’, The Canberra Times, 1 June 1951, 1.

(81.) GHQ SCAP Press Release, ‘Seven War Criminals Executed’, 7 April 1950, NAA, Canberra, A1838, 551834.

(82.) Sharon Williams Chamberlain, ‘Justice and Reconciliation: Post-war Philippine Trials of Japanese War Criminals in History and Memory’ (unpublished PhD diss., George Washington University, 2010), 137–47, 150–54; Beatrice Trefalt, ‘Hostages to International Relations? The Repatriation of Japanese War Criminals from the Philippines’, Japanese Studies 31, vol. 2 (September 2011): 191.

(83.) Secretary to Cabinet, ‘Note on Cabinet Submission 1’, 28 May 1951, NAA, Canberra, MP742/1, 393108.