Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 12 - 18  > Supreme Court dismisses appeal to clear five in ‘Yokohama Incident’
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2008 March 12 - 18 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Supreme Court dismisses appeal to clear five in ‘Yokohama Incident’

March 15, 2008
The Supreme Court on March 14 dismissed appeals made by relatives of five people (now deceased) in a retrial over the "Yokohama Incident," the worst example of suppression of the freedom of speech that took place during the Pacific War. In this repression, many people, including journalists, were convicted on charges of violating the 1925 Public Order Maintenance Law.

The Supreme Court avoided giving a ruling and closed the case on the grounds that the prewar law was repealed after the end of the Pacific War and that the convicted had been “pardoned” after the war’s end.

The five persons included Kimura Toru, a former editor of monthly Chuo-Koron, and Kobayashi Eizaburo, a former worker at Kaizo-sha (a publisher of the monthly Kaizo).

In March 2005, the Tokyo High Court acknowledged that police used torture to force the former defendants to confess their “illegal acts” and that because there was evidence that support their innocence, decided to hold a retrial.

In the retrial, relatives demanded that the court rule that the former defendants were not guilty after a thorough investigation into the incident to meet the spirit of the retrial system. However, the Yokohama District Court gave no ruling, and was supported in this decision by the high court.

  After the end of World War II, former special police officers who took part in the investigations and assaulted the defendants were convicted.

Lawyers of the relatives of the former defendants issued a statement criticizing the Supreme Court for making an unjustifiable decision full of judicial rhetoric.

In the “Yokohama Incident” in July 1942, about 60 people were arrested by the special high police (Tokko) in Kanagawa Prefecture. Four of them died in prison during investigations, apparently from torture. About 30 were found guilty of violating the Public Order Maintenance Law.

Tokko charged that a monthly Kaizo article written by critic Hosokawa Karoku, who later was elected Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors, was communist propaganda, and that a banquet held by Hosokawa in Toyama Prefecture was aimed at preparing to reconstruct the JCP.

This was a false charge based on a frame-up and suppressing the freedom of expression. Tokko tortured former plaintiffs to force them to confess of their “involvement” in the reconstruction of the JCP. Later, the court threw support behind Tokko’s false allegation.
- Akahata, March 15, 2008
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved