Bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Victors’ Justice or Victims’ Justice through the Tokyo Tribunal
Professor Bishnu Pathak
The bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes and crimes against humanity that caused physical, material and emotional losses. The bombings violated International Public Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law. The objective of this paper is to find out the situations of the investigation, prosecution and punishment on accountability and to analyze the preference for justice: victors’ justice or victims’ justice. During World War II, Emperor Hirohito actively led the country decorated by the Army’s uniform. However, anti-communist Hirohito pretended to be a ceremonial Emperor on the whisper of the USA. Hirohito bribed callous US Army General Douglas MacArthur, the Head of the Allied Victors forces. The forces gathered testimonies to prove Hirohito as innocent, making many opponent armies and officials scapegoats (perpetrators). Former Prime Ministers Prince Konoe and Tojo were conspiratorially assassinated. The Tokyo Tribunal was biased since it did not speak a word against the indiscriminate bombings and mass killings in Chinese cities, Pearl Harbor and other Asian countries.The Tribunal had nonetheless a pseudo justice body, highly influenced by the US military and retributive justice doctrines. As such, justice became elusive for the real innocent, weak and poor victims. Most grave crimes committed went unpunished. The Tribunal ironically ensured victors’ justice (war winners) further limiting victims’ justice (war losers). Thus, the Tribunal appeared as a sword in a judge's toupee. As a corollary, Japan is still behind the USA, carrying over the superiority complex politics initiated by Hirohito.
Keywords: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Victor’s Justice, Victim’s Justice and Tokyo Tribunal.
Seventy-five years have already passed since the atomic bombs had been dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While some warned US President Harry S. Truman stating that horrific casualties to US soldiers will happen any time in Japan, Truman delivered an order to use new weapon bringing the war to a speedy end (www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/harry-truman). On August 6, 1945 at 8.15 am, the United States became the first nation to drop an atomic (B‑29 Superfortress bomber) bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima (Streifer, August 2017). At 2.47 am of August 9, 1945, another atomic bomb was dropped at Nagasaki(Rezelman et al., 2000). Those two bombings extrajudicially killed between 130,000 to 226000 people, mostly civilians (Vance, August 14, 2009). Seventeen hundred tons of bombs were dropped in a densely populated area of twelve square miles. It resulted as many as 100,000 immediate killings, tens of thousands more died in the following weeks from injuries and radiation poisoning, over 40,000 wounded, more than 1,000,000 made homeless and over 267,000 buildings including houses were destroyed (Vance, August 14, 2009). Fearing possible further bombings, Japan announced its surrender (Tomonaga, December 2, 2019; Vance, August 14, 2009), six days after the second bombing. And the end of World War (WW) II was formally declared.
Five to six years after the bombings, the incidence of health damage increased noticeably among the lives of survivors. They were: the appearance of leukaemia - the first malignant disease in 1949; development of many types of cancer (McCrary & Baumgarten, 2007); and finally lifelong cancers for those who experienced the bombing as surviving children (victims) and psychological damage - depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and other chronic diseases among the survivors (Tomonaga, December 2, 2019; ICAN, undated).
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), known as the Tokyo Military Tribunal (Tokyo Tribunal) was established by the Allied Victors forces of the WW II against the leaders of the Japanese Empire in 1946. The allied signatories were: Australia, Canada, China, France, British-India, the Netherlands, Philippines, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Each of these countries had a separate prosecution team member (Kaufman, 2013). The allied victors appointed US Army General Douglas MacArthur as the Supreme Commander to the Tokyo Tribunal on January 19, 1946 (Kaufman, 2013). It had a principal objective to investigate the worst perpetrators and to prosecute and punish them for war crimes committed against innocent humans (victims). The Tokyo Tribunal marked a changing point of classical law doctrine to contemporary transitional justice body.
When the Potsdam Declaration was signed, the war in Europe ended but the war with Japan remained continuing (Japan Institute of International Affairs, March 2014). However, the Soviet Union did not sign the Declaration till August 8, 1945 (till the USA dropped the second atomic bomb at Nagasaki). Finally, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 (Butow, 1954). To influence the Tokyo Tribunal as he had been a ceremonial Emperor, Hirohito ordered a few Generals to continue the fighting on the whisper of the USA and made them scapegoats as the perpetrators.In July 1945, the U.S. President, the Chinese President and the Prime Minister of Great Britain signed the Potsdam Declaration that intended to deliver all Japanese armed forces belonging to the WW II for unconditional surrender to initiate a stern action prosecuting and punishing the Japanese war criminals in the name of justice (Potsdam, July 26, 1946).The MacArthur, recognized as outspoken, disobedient, arrogant and callous General, had an authority to surrender and to control the Imperial Japanese forces (German Instrument of Surrender, May 8, 1945). on September 2, 1945, Japan signed an agreement stating that the war criminals would be brought to justice (Mauch, December 13, 2017). MacArthur laid out the composition, jurisdiction and function of the Tribunal and appointed eleven judges for the Tribunal. The Tokyo War Crimes Trials were held two-year and six months from April 29, 1946 to November 12, 1948. The Tribunal established mentioning three-broad criminal categories: (i) Class ‘A’ (Crimes against Peace) (ii) Class ‘B’ (Conventional War Crimes) and (iii) Class ‘C’ (Crimes against Humanity) (Tanaka, McCormack, & Simpson, 2011). The Class ‘A’ is generally defined as policy-makers,‘B’ as policy-supervisors and ‘C’ as policy-implementers. A total of 28 personnel including 18 military officials and 10 political leaders were charged with class ‘A’ who had been responsible for planning, preparation and initiating a war of aggression violating international law and treaties (AlMadani, January 24, 2020; Timothy, 2001). The Class ‘B’ included those who violated the laws or customs of law. The Class ‘C’ included those who were involved in murder, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against the civilian population, before or during the war. More than 5,700 Japanese nationals were charged with Class ‘B’ and ‘C’ crimes on the course of entailing prisoners’ abuse.Several controversies existed about the Tribunal. one of the crucial was that the Tribunal had an American bias, unlike the Nuremberg Tribunal. There had been only a single prosecution team led by MacArthur, although the members of the Tribunal represented 11 different allied countries (Horowitz, November 1950). As a result, the Tribunal received less official support than the Nuremberg Tribunal. The US assistant Attorney General had a much lower position than Nuremberg's Robert H. Jackson, a justice of the US Supreme Court (Horowitz, November 1950).MacArthur had been in favour of a strong military action who criticized sharply on pacifism and isolationism that made him unpopular with the President Roosevelt administration (James, October 1, 1970). The US President said, “MacArthur could never see another sun, or even a moon for that matter, in the heavens, as long as he was the sun” (Perry, May 25, 2014). He was ranked among America’s worst Generals in dealing with opposition (Perry, May 25, 2014). Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted MacArthur to the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Forces, he stated that MacArthur had been the worst politician and had been a difficult General to manage (Sparrow, October 20, 2015). While MacArthur forces were compelled to withdraw from North Korea owing to China’s intervention on war, he publicly spoke against the strategy that initiated by Harry S. Truman, the President of the U.S. (Schnabel, January 24, 2016).In regard to justice, Dutch Professor Röling stated that the Allied forces were aware of the bombings and the burnings of Tokyo, Yokohama and other cities; still, we saw that every day the victor allied had violated them extremely (Schouten, 2014). once an American defense counsel for Japanese defendants argued that the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor at Hawaii had been murders (Remembering Pearl Harbor, December 7, 2001). But, the Tribunal did notspeak a word against the indiscriminate bombings in Chinese cities by the Japanese Imperial Forces (The Japanese Times, March 31, 2006). Those soldiers gathered 1,300 Chinese forces and civilians at Taipai Gate and blew them up by landmines. Besides, the Japanese troops tied the hands of 57,000 prisoners of war who were divided into four columns and shot them (http://www.kevinpezzi.com/blog/Hirohito_war_criminal.php). The Tribunal never raised questions on atrocities done in China in fear of the USA being accused of atomic bombings at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other Japanese cities (Sellars, March 2013) which were war crimes even under the 1907 The Hague Convention (Streifer, 2017). As a result, the Japanese pilots and officials were prosecuted for their aerial bombings neither at Pearl Harbor nor in cities in China and other Asian countries (Primoratz, June 23, 2010). It was evident that the Japanese troops had been terrorizing there under the active leadership of the 124th Japanese Emperor Hirohito.Japanese former Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe (Hirohito’s brother) stated that Hirohito was a major war criminal, but MacArthur did not prosecute him (Dower, June 2000). Why had Hirohito been that much favoured by MacArthur? There were a number of reasons. In 1945, the US discovered that the Japanese had hidden large quantities of gold bullion and other pearls in Manila, the Philippines. President Truman ordered to loot all of them secretly and decided to mobilize those riches as action fund to fight against global communism by bribing political and military leaders and for manipulating elections in foreign countries for more than fifty years (Seagrave & Seagrave, 2003).
When MacArthur arrived in Japan and met with shogun Hirohito, Hirohito asked him how much booty he had collected from the conquered countries. Hirohito put forward the concept of a project named Golden Lily (Gold Warriors) or America’s secret recovery of Yamashita treasure (Seagrave & Seagrave, 2003). The Golden Lily had been used by Emperor Hirohito to bribe MacArthur where he later lived a life of luxury after his retirement against meagre US Army salary. Moreover, the Golden Lily worked in close cooperation with the new premier; Yamato named Prince Higashi-Kuni a Class ‘A’ category perpetrator.Konoe might also have been killed in the name of suicide as he strongly criticized Hirohito as the supreme leader of war crimes. Besides,Hideki Tojo, a former Prime Minister, was sentenced to death by hanging on December 23, 1948 (Yenne, September 23, 2014).
On November 26, 1946, MacArthur confirmed that there was no need of the Emperor's resignation (Dower, June 2000) and escaped the imperial family from being accused. However, the Tribunal gathered the testimonies of the defendants as not to implicate the Emperor and his associates. Hirohito’s close officials worked with the Tribunal in compiling the lists of suspects’ potential war criminals. The suspects arrested as Class ‘A’ and confined in the prisons of Europe (Sugamo Prison) who seriously vowed to defend their Japan’s sovereignty against any possible flaw of war accountability (Dower, June 2000). When US Brigadier General Bonner Fellers landed in Japan, he directly visited Hirohito to work for his protection and was allowed the major suspected criminals to coordinate their stories that the Emperor would be freed from indictment (Bix, 2000). Before Japan's surrender, there had been a clandestine understanding that Hirohito would have been scot-free for war crimes and crimes against humanity similar to many others (victors) leading government figures (Dower, June 2000) in the world. Thus, Hirohito retained his position on the throne, albeit with diminished status. Even though, Hirohito frequently appeared as the commander of the Japanese armed forces with military uniform (Krauth, 2001) before the surrender in 1945.
Owing to the USA’s controlling roles over the Tribunal, it provided the Chief Prosecutor, staffs and necessary funds for running the Tribunal. It bears telling here that there has been a historical impression that the USA never pursues free, fair and impartial relationships (Horowitz, May 18, 2013). The Tribunal found many perpetrators guilty and sentenced them to punish ranging from death to seven years’ imprisonment. In Japan, several additional trials took place in cities outside Tokyo. A few allies such as Australia, Canada, India, and the Netherlands were willing to make some reductions in sentences (Wilson et al., 2017), but in vain in front of MacArthur.
In regards to the criminal responsibility of Hirohito, Judge-in-Chief William Webb of Australia declared, "No ruler can commit the crime of launching aggressive war and then validly claim to be excused for doing so because his life would otherwise have been in danger ... It will remain that the men who advised the commission of a crime, if it be one, are in no worse position than the man who directs the crime be committed” (Röling & Rüter, 1977). Justice Henri Bernard of France determined that though Japan's declaration of war had a principal actor Hirohito, he was escaped from all prosecutions of the past crimes (Röling & Rüter, 1977).
Hirohito continued as an Emperor while MacArthur believed that he could only fight against communism. He had been accountable for the endless war and a series of war crimes. Japanese slaughtered 30 million civilians, including children and women, who were raped before being murdered. Imperial Japanese soldiers inhumanly raped even girl children, in addition to elderly women who speared through their vagina (http://www.kevinpezzi.com/blog/Hirohito_war_criminal.php). Imperial Japanese troops terrorized Chinese commoners with brutal atrocities. Those victims such as infants, children and women were killed immediately after being raped; many victims were mutilated by penetrating vaginas with bayonets, bamboo sticks and other objects (Clancey, undated; Gray, February 1996, Dragon Daily, February 7, 1938).
Thus, Hirohito, Active Head of the State, had been one of the most heinous war criminals in the history whose brutality is expected never to be excused. History will recall Hirohito’s war of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity forever till the existence of human beings in the world.
The US President Gerald Ford invited and warmly welcomed Emperor Hirohito in red carpet and the White House organized for a State Dinner on October 2, 1975. The Tribunal satisfied the Supreme Emperor Hirohito and his associates. Japan has been trailing the United States till date since the days of Hirohito as being a satellite anti-communist close-friend. As a result, Japan is has been participating in almost all inhumane war crimes and crimes against humanity being initiated by the USA in the name of terrorist or terrorist acts.
The Tokyo Tribunal had no less a pseudo justice body that had been highly influenced by the military doctrine, revenge politics and retributive justice. It had formed just to show the entire world that allied forces conducted Transitional Justice process to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and to make them accountable (Pathak, 2019). No truth for justice was granted to the real victims or survivors. Indian Justice Radhabinod Pal argued that the Tribunal failed to provide anything other than the opportunity for the victors to retaliate against the losers. And, it had been an exclusion of Western colonialism and the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the list of crimes (Brook, August 2001). Because of the USA’s biased and vested political interest, the Tribunal had worked no more than the acceptance of perpetrators or worked on behalf of victors’ justice (Tanaka, McCormack & Simpson, 2010) rather than losers’ (victims’) justice.
The Tribunal was used as a platform to prove victors’ justice through their own power, politics, property, and privileges further weakening the poor and vulnerable victims, communities and nation as a whole. In fact, the victors were accountable for political assault, physical injury, material damages, mental or emotional impairment, socio-cultural trauma and economic loss. Furthermore, the victors conspiratorially suppressed the pains, sufferings and grievances of victims’ voices forcefully snatching and destroying the evidence what the victims had. As such, the victors applied the threatocracy and crowdocracy against the poor victims and defeated nation to discourage them further.
The Tribunal officials who prioritized cronyism were instructed to deliver one-sided judgment based on victors’ desires. The decision of the Tribunal was inefficient and ineffective, too. The double-standard, hypocrisy and threatocracy prioritized retribution to the junior Japanese soldiers, politicians and bureaucrats-technocrats. Therefore, the Tribunal was no less than tu queque in practice. Neither there would have been any trust of people and victims in the Tokyo Tribunal nor had they performed their tasks properly as an autonomous justice body for the victims (Pathak, 2020). Thus, the Tokyo Tribunal had virtually been victor’s justice with self-righteous fraud and lynching bodies. Most grave crimes committed went unpunished. Thus, justice delivery appeared as a sword in a judge's toupee. Justice becomes elusive for the innocent, weak and poor victims. on the whole, the victors’ justice has been against the International Public Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law in the transitional justice system.
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A Board Member of TRANSCEND Peace University and a former Senior Commissioner at the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), Nepal. Dr. Pathak has been a Noble Peace prize nominee each year from 2013 for his noble finding of Peace-Conflict Lifecycle, similar to the ecosystem. He holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Transformation and Human Rights. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transformation of War Politics to Politics of Nonviolence
REVIEWS, 16 Mar 2020
Prof. Bishnu Pathak – TRANSCEND Media Service
Review of a Book on Gandhica:
12 Mar 2020 – The book Gandhica focuses on Mahatma Gandhi’s ideal for the science of nonviolence. The book particularly advocates for spherons, partons and Tetranet Thinking as a principal new scientific interpretation and the fundamental social rationale.
Gandhica is one step up for global peace and harmony through the means of nonviolence. Nonviolence is a substantively new nonviolent thinking. Nonviolence is the law for normal-regular life. Gandhi says, “Nonviolence which belongs to harmony, peace, truth, love, justice, equality, fraternity is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind”. The adoption of nonviolence is no less than the works of heroism. Therefore, spherons are actors, causes and sources of nonviolence. Gandhica has been system intelligence on the course of rescuing from world ecocide as well as genocide through the means of nonviolence spherons or Varna as Gandhi rejected the caste, but recognized the Varna.
Gandhica describes the fundamental scientific discovery of a new social reality spherons, spheral classes of the population employed in the spheres of social production. Spherons are Gandhi’s greatest force of nonviolence as the genome and actors of the structural peace from harmony of the social production and employment of humanity. Spherons are the noospheral structures of humankind: the sources of energy of nonviolence as the greatest force in the hands of mankind (Gandhi); able to end the war before the war ends humanity (John Kennedy) and shift the arms race into a peace race (Martin Luther King Jr.).
Gandhica has expressed the reality of the theoretical and empirical fundamental tools for mastering the Gandhi’s “greatest force of nonviolence, which is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction” devised by the ingenuity of man. It also pronounces Einstein’s nonviolence manner of thinking which in recent years mentions a common, fundamental and peacemaking societal platform of spherons. Spherons define the large group of people classes covering the population: who are employed in the four spheres: sociosphere, infosphere, orgsphere and technosphere in social production. Spherons are the center of their sociocybernetic genome. Spherons and their statistics are inseparable from each other as the two sides of the same coin.
The book also focuses on the parts of spherons which are called partons. It clearly defines “Partons are the private groups and classes of people employed in various sectors of public activity and constituting the certain branch parts of Spherons”. Partons are historically transient, temporary, stochastic and entropic. They are the inner boundary of spherons, their mediation and explanation. The dialectics of spherons/partons explain the deep societal causes and sources of social structures, functions and states: peace and war, violence and nonviolence, equality and inequality, justice and injustice, stability and variability, extinction/survival and among others similar to harmony and disharmony (inharmony). Spherons/partons are learned and scientifically explained in the Gandhian law of social nonviolence as the fundamental law of any social being. The harmony of spherons ensures the life of a society which is constantly violated by the ruling partons and their dominant elites. They, in turn, are overcome by new, more harmonious partons, their communities and elites as an endless phenomenon similar to the ecosystem. The emerging harmonious Gandhian nonviolent civilization of the 21st century is able to overcome the status of global militarism through the healing structural harmony of spherons in their fraternal love and peaceful coexistence.
Spherons in the book outline the semantic space unfolding in the noospheral nature which is controlled by the sociocybernetic Gandhian nonviolent Tetranet Thinking (TT). The TT elucidates survival and prosperity of humanity and human first transforming wars and militarism towards ensuring the fundamental right to life, peace, harmony and nonviolence. It exists within the framework of the Gandhian law of nonviolence universal life. The TT is substantively a new manner of thinking that has emerged through its own processes: production, distribution, exchange and contribution. Thus, it has its own interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary toolkit. It is mastering the most multifaceted systemic laws of self-organization of society among in which the Gandhian law of nonviolence plays a decisive role in the evolution, structure of survival and sustainable development of humanity at the beginning of the 21st century. The TT is a powerful integrator of human consciousness and integrity of its ontology and epistemology in duplex/tetrad measurement, structural modelling and system design. In regards of the TT, the Global Harmony Association went through several preliminary stages of its comprehension and attempts which are: Magna Carta of Harmony, Harmonious Civilization, The ABC of Harmony, Global Peace Science and The Great Peace Charter XXI.
The book proposes a gradual transformation of the structural domain of power and democratic management and governance. The book urges to restore a distinctive essential pillar for eternal peace and harmony in the world. It describes the ways to transform armed conflict or violence and destruction into the zones of nonviolence for the prosperity and development of human beings. It illustrates social cohesion in societal classes of a larger population. And, the book has been an idea of a condominium for nonviolence (ie, peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding) that unprecedently led the salvatory achievement for human security to all living beings.
The book has precisely observed and analyzed the several patterns of nonviolence as new humankind thinking for the fundamentals of the peace-and-lovemaking globe. Nonviolence creates harmonious existence in all classes in communities, which exists as the first law of human lives. Global peace today is scientific knowledge of the new reality of non-violence and a substantial way forward for civilization. Nonviolence is the greatest art of peace and prosperity for being harmless to self and others in any condition. Nonviolence practically concedes human security that comes for not to hurt people, creatures and the environment. Moreover, it covers moral, spiritual, religious and philosophical principles. It cannot be achieved within traditional violent and autocratic-militaristic cultural-mindset power-holders, power-hunters, power-seekers and power-purchasers. It is against the crimes committed including genocide and ecocide. It teaches cosmic law and order, i.e., duties, rights, conduct, laws, virtues and right way of living similar to the teachings of Lord Buddha, who was born in Nepal. Nonviolence is a substantially new way of thinking that transforms triangular conflict by peaceful political measures.
Gandhica is the 9th book of the Global Harmony Association (GHA) during the last 14 years of its establishment. It has been published by the contributors of over 80 world’s noted coauthors comprising political leaders, peace-harmony academia and Nobel Peace laureates from 25 countries which were led by Professor Leo Semashko, the pioneer of global harmony and the Founder of the GHA. It would further be appreciated if the coauthors could have included more references (of books) in their texts.
This amazing book is a must-read for all (social scientists to politicians, public figures, academia-researchers, policy-change makers, harmony searchers, peace-seekers, peacemakers and peacebuilders) who have a deep interest in conflict transformation by peaceful means. Therefore, Gandhica shall be the most powerful weapon to transform (change) war politics into the politics of nonviolence in future.
Bishnu Pathak is a Ph.D. holder in Conflict Management and Human Rights, and president and director of the Conflict Study Center. He is a Board Member of TRANSCEND International for Nepal and also a BM of the TRANSCEND Peace University. Besides writing the book Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal, he has published a number of research articles on issues related to Human Rights, UN, Security, Peace, Civil-Military Relations, Community Policing, and Federalism. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he had been working as a former senior commissioner at the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), Nepal from February 2015-April 2019. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Dear Leo and Colleagues;
Greetings from Nepal!
Please link in https://www.transcend.org/tms/2020/03/transformation-of-war-politics-to-politics-of-nonviolence/ book review of Gandhica, published my TMS, just now.
Your comments are highly appreciated.