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War Crimes Trials, Far East

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement as to the progress of the trials of the Japanese war criminals; how many have been tried; how many sentenced to life imprisonment; how many have been executed; how many are now held for ultimate trial; and at what date it is estimated that the trials will be concluded at the present rate of progress.

The progress of war crimes trials by British Military Courts in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Burma and Borneo is being satisfactorily maintained. Up to 25th April, 1947, 688 Japanese and Koreans had been tried. Of these, 53 were sentenced to life imprisonment and 235 to death; the latter figure includes sentences not yet confirmed, but at least 166 death sentences have so far been carried out. One hundred and forty-one accused are now either on trial or are awaiting trial with the cases against them complete, and 1,605 are in custody whose cases ire under investigation or who are suspects held pending investigation.

The latest figures received from the Australian authorities indicate that 733 Japanese have been tried by Australian Military Courts in Singapore, Port Darwin and Rabaul. Of these, 371 have been sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment and 142 to death. In Singapore at the end of April there were five accused still awaiting trial by Australian courts. Forty-one accused have also been tried by United States courts in Japan in cases involving British victims; 34 have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment and seven to death. No figures are at present available to show how many are still awaiting trial in Japan in similar cases.

It would not be in the public interest to disclose the date on which war crimes trials by British Military Courts in S.E.A.L.F. are expected to be concluded.