The Tokyo Trial, like the Nuremberg Trial, was unique as a judicial event. Presided over by eleven Allied judges, Japan’s wartime leaders were individually tried in an international court of justice for crimes against international law. After two years of hearings, a majority judgment found twenty-five of the accused guilty; seven were sentenced to death. However, factionalism amongst justices and competing political interests served to undermine the final judgment, widely criticized as “victors’ justice.” Some seventy years later, its legacy continues to inform international politics and polarize ideological debate.
In this revised English edition of his 2008 book, Tōkyō Saiban, winner in the History and Civilization category of the 30th Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities, eminent political scientist Dr. HIGURASHI Yoshinobu sets aside routine ideological approaches that have characterized study of the tribunal until now and focuses our attention on the engrossing political dynamics surrounding the Tokyo Trial and its current impacts.
Drawing on exhaustive research into foreign policy documents and inter-ministerial correspondence, Higurashi traces the contours of diplomacy in the wake of World War II, revisiting the Tokyo Trial from the viewpoint of Japan’s postwar international relations to shed new light on an event unprecedented in world history.