Now, a Japanese college professor has revealed declassified U.S. army paperwork that seem to carry the reply.
The paperwork present the cremated ashes of Tojo, one of many masterminds of the Pearl Harbor assault, have been scattered from a U.S. Military plane over the Pacific Ocean about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest metropolis, south of Tokyo.
It was a tension-filled, extremely secretive mission, with American officers apparently taking excessive steps meant to maintain Tojo’s stays, and people of six others executed with him, away from ultra-nationalists seeking to glorify them as martyrs. The seven have been hanged for struggle crimes simply earlier than Christmas in 1948, three years after Japan’s defeat.
The invention brings partial closure to a painful chapter of Japanese historical past that also performs out at the moment, as conservative Japanese politicians try and whitewash historical past, resulting in friction with wartime victims, particularly China and South Korea.
After years spent verifying and checking particulars and evaluating the importance of what he’d discovered, Nihon College Professor Hiroaki Takazawa publicly launched the clues to the stays’ location final week. He got here throughout the declassified paperwork in 2018 on the U.S. Nationwide Archives in Washington. It’s believed to be the primary time official paperwork displaying the dealing with of the seven struggle criminals’ stays have been made public, in response to Japan’s Nationwide Institute for Protection Research and the Japan Middle for Asian Historic Information.
Hidetoshi Tojo, the chief’s great-grandson, advised The Related Press that the absence of the stays has lengthy been a humiliation for the bereaved households, however he is relieved the knowledge has come to gentle.
“If his stays have been not less than scattered in Japanese territorial waters … I believe he was nonetheless considerably lucky,” Tojo stated. “I wish to invite my associates and lay flowers to pay tribute to him” if additional particulars in regards to the stays’ location turns into out there.
Hideki Tojo, prime minister throughout a lot of World Conflict II, is a sophisticated determine, revered by some conservatives as a patriot however loathed by many within the West for prolonging the struggle, which ended solely after the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A few month after Aug. 15, 1945, when then-Emperor Hirohito introduced Japan’s defeat to a shocked nation, Tojo shot himself in a failed suicide try as he was about to be arrested at his modest Tokyo house.
Takazawa, the Nihon College professor specializing in struggle tribunal points, discovered the paperwork throughout analysis on the U.S. archives into different struggle crimes trials. The paperwork, he stated, are beneficial as a result of they formally element beforehand little-known details about what occurred and supply a tough location of the place the ashes have been scattered.
He plans to proceed analysis into different executions. Greater than 4,000 individuals have been convicted of struggle crimes in different worldwide tribunals, and about 920 of them have been executed.
Tojo and the six others who have been hanged have been amongst 28 Japanese wartime leaders tried for struggle crimes on the 1946-1948 Worldwide Navy Tribunal for the Far East. Twenty-five have been convicted, together with 16 sentenced to life in jail, with two getting shorter jail phrases. Two others died whereas on trial and one case was dropped.
In one of many newly revealed paperwork — dated Dec. 23, 1948 and carrying a “secret” stamp — U.S. Military Maj. Luther Frierson wrote: “I certify that I acquired the stays, supervised cremation, and personally scattered the ashes of the next executed struggle criminals at sea from an Eighth Military liaison aircraft.”
Your entire operation was tense, with U.S. officers extraordinarily cautious about not leaving a single speck of ashes behind, apparently to forestall them from being stolen by admiring ultra-nationalists, Takazawa stated.
“Along with their try to forestall the stays from being glorified, I believe the U.S. army was adamant about not letting the stays return to Japanese territory … as an final humiliation,” Takazawa stated.
The paperwork state that when the cremation was accomplished, the ovens have been “cleared of the stays of their entirety.”
“Particular precaution was taken to preclude overlooking even the smallest particles of stays,” Frierson wrote.
Here is how the operation went.
At 2:10 a.m. on Dec. 23, 1948, caskets carrying the our bodies of Tojo and the six others have been loaded on a 2.5-ton truck and brought out of the jail after fingerprinting for verification, Frierson wrote in a Jan. 4, 1949 doc.
About an hour and a half later, the motorcade guarded by truckloads of armed troopers to guard the our bodies arrived at a U.S. army graves registration platoon in Yokohama for a remaining examine.
The truck left the realm at 7:25 a.m. and arrived at a Yokohama crematorium half-hour later. The caskets have been unloaded from the truck and positioned straight “within the ovens” in 10 minutes, whereas troopers guarded the realm.
The stays have been then transported underneath guard to a close-by airstrip and loaded onto a aircraft that Frierson boarded. “We proceeded to a degree roughly 30 miles over the Pacific Ocean east of Yokohama the place I personally scattered the cremated stays over a large space.”
In the present day, even with out the ashes, bereaved households and conservative Japanese lawmakers akin to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe often pay tribute at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, the place the executed struggle criminals are enshrined with 2.5 million struggle useless thought of “sacred spirits” within the Shinto faith. No stays are enshrined at Yasukuni.
After the seven executed struggle criminals have been enshrined there in 1978, Yasukuni has turn into a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors China and South Korea, who see the enshrinement as proof of Japan’s lack of regret over its wartime aggression. Yasukuni additionally enshrines 5 different convicted wartime leaders and lots of of different struggle criminals.
Hidetoshi Tojo stated his great-grandfather was constantly made a taboo in postwar Japan, by no means glorified.
“The whole lot about my great-grandfather was sealed, together with his speeches. Taking that into consideration, I believe not preserving the stays was a part of the occupation coverage,” he stated. “I hope to see additional revelations in regards to the unknown details of the previous.”