In November 1948 the conclusion of the International War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo handed down to future generations a clear and unequivocal judgement on Japan’s responsibility for the Asian half of the Second World War. The Tribunal declared that the evidence it had heard proved that the 25 defendants at the trial, who were referred to as a ‘criminal and militaristic clique’, had conspired from 1928 to 1945 to wage ‘aggressive war’ against Japan’s neighbours. They were therefore guilty of crimes against peace, as well as, in a number of cases, crimes against humanity.1 As a result of this judgement seven of the defendants, including the former prime minister, General Hideki Tōjō, and the former prime minister and foreign minister, Kōki Hirota, were executed. The other defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from life imprisonment to seven years.
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