International Military Tribunal for the Far East

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (also referred to as the IMTFE, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, or the Tokyo Trial) was held to try the leaders of Japan for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed during World War II. It did not cover individual Japanese war crimes, or incidents such as the Nanjing Massacre. Those were dealt with separately, in other cities throught the Asia-Pacific region.

A panel of eleven judges presided over the IMTFE, one each from victorious Allied powers (United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Republic of China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and the Philippines). Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, there was only a single prosecution, which was led by Joseph B. Keenan, an American. Therefore, despite the diverse panel of judges, the IMTFE had a distinct American bias.

The tribunal convened on May 3, 1946, and was adjourned on November 12, 1948.

Justice Radha Binod Pal provided a dissenting opinion.



Since, like the Nuremberg Trials, the IMTFE prosecuted only the defeated, it has been largely ignored. Many feel that Allied actions such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and other cities were crimes against humanity, and the Soviet Union's invasions of Manchuria and parts of Japan were clearly crimes against peace.

There were 28 defendants tried, mostly military and political leaders. Two defendants (Matsuoka Yosuke and Nagano Osami) died of natural causes during the trial. Okawa Shumei had a nervous breakdown during the trial and was removed.

Seven others were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They were executed at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948:

Sixteen more were sentenced to life imprisonment. Three (Koiso, Shiratori, and Umezu) died in prison, while the other thirteen were paroled in 1955:

Two defendants received finite sentences. General Togo Shigenori died in prison in 1949, while foreign minister Shigemitsu Mamoru was paroled in 1950 and went on to serve in Prime Minister Hatoyama Ichiro's cabinet.

See also

Further Reading

  • Bass, Gary Jonathan. Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Trials. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Brackman, Arnold C. The Other Nuremberg: the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1987.
  • Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York: New Press, 1999.
  • Horowitz, Solis. "The Tokyo Trial" International Conciliation 465 (Nov 1950), 473-584.
  • Minear, Richard H. Victor's Justice: the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971.

External links

  • Avalon Project ( - Charter of the Tribunal and Rules of Procedure

fr:Tribunal de Tokyo lb:Krichsverbriecherprozesser vun Tokio nl:Proces van Tokio ja:極東国際軍事裁判 zh:远东国际军事法庭


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