Repatriation of War Criminals
Australia’s trials ended in April 1951, and just a few months later in September, the San Francisco Peace Treaty signalled that the Occupation would end the following year and Japan would return to the international community. A nationwide petition movement in Japan began calling for the repatriation of war criminals who had been convicted by Allied courts and resided in overseas prisons, such as some of those convicted by Australia who were now imprisoned on Manus Island. Meanwhile, other war criminals who were convicted by Australian courts resided in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, and the Japanese government was bound by Article 11 of the peace treaty to keep them in prison until the convicting country allowed their release. Article 11 was not enough to reassure the Australian government that the Japanese would respect the decisions handed down in its war crimes courts, however, and this made the government anxious over repatriating the war criminals on Manus. In Japan, the petition movement began to pressure the Japanese government and the Australian embassy for the return of these prisoners.
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