Rejection of Tokyo Trial threatens peace

By Ni Tao
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, March 12, 2014
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Like the Nazi war crimes trial in Nuremberg, the prosecution 60 years ago in Tokyo of Japanese war criminals in World War II carries far-reaching implications for post-war peace and the world order.

Time to pull back [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Although more than six decades have passed since the Tokyo Trial, conducted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) from January 19, 1946, to November 12, 1948, its outcomes and significance still fuel scholarly discussion and heated debate.

The trial's legacy was revisited in a seminar at Fudan University's School of Law on March 5.

It is particularly fitting to examine the war crimes legacy at a time of a growing revisionist tendency in Japan to question and even doubt the legitimacy of the Tokyo Trial.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for example, clearly signaled his disapproval of the trial when he told Parliament's Upper House Budget Committee last March, "Judgment of the war was not rendered by Japanese. Rather, culpability was established by the victorious Allied powers."

In fact, the Tokyo trial has been dogged by controversy ever since the International Military Tribunal was founded to indict and try Japanese war criminals. It is occasionally branded "the victors' justice" and thus frequently repudiated by some Japanese, Gao Xiudong, professor at the Chinese University of Foreign Affairs, told the forum.


Japanese revisionists dispute the legality of trying 28 Class-A war criminals and many Class-B and Class-C war criminals. They describe it as "illegal."

Some revisionists criticized the introduction of the little-tested legal doctrine, namely crimes against peace, said Yuma Totani, associate professor at the University of Hawaii.

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