The United States Role in Transitional Justice for Japan

I. Background

Shorthand references to transitional justice for Nazi Germany, as discussed in the previous chapter, are similarly misleading as those for Imperial Japan. What is popularly known as “Tokyo” is actually a series of trials that took place in Tokyo, Japan, and elsewhere in East Asia from 1945 to 1951.1 Like with “Nuremberg,” these proceedings can be divided into two sets. The first was the “trial and punishment of the major war criminals in the Far East” before the IMTFE in Tokyo between 1946 and 1948 (what is commonly referred to as the “Tokyo Tribunal”).2 The second set was the proceedings by ad hoc, unilateral Allied military commissions throughout the Far East between 1945 and 1951. And, as will be discussed, like the IMT and NMT in the case of Germany, the IMTFE and the Allied military commissions were two of only several transitional justice options the USG supported for addressing Japanese suspected of committing atrocities during WWII.

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