Japan, WWII - Kill-All Policy

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This image depicts the original of an exhibit introduced during the Tokyo War Crimes Trial.  It is known as the “Kill All Policy” and was admitted into evidence on the 9th of January, 1947. 

Issued on the 1st of August, 1945, the memo is from Japan’s Vice Minister of War.  It was sent to the Commanding General of Military Police in Taiwan [then known as Formosa]. 

The purpose of the memo is to set forth the conditions under which Japanese commanders could execute prisoners of war without first receiving approval from decision-makers and order-givers in Tokyo.

Stephen Green, an American cryptographer, translated this intercepted message into English:

1.  (entries about money, promotions of Formosans at Branch camps including promotion of Yo Yu-Toku to 1st Cl Keibiin - 5 entries)

2.  The following answer about extreme measures for P.O.W.'s was sent to the Chief of Staff of the 11th Unit (Formosa P.O.W. Security No. 10).

"Under the present situation if there were a mere explosion or fire a shelter for the time being could be had in nearby buildings such as the school, a warehouse, or the like. However at such time as the situation became urgent, and it be extremely important, the P.O.W.'s will be concentrated and confined in their present location and under heavy guard the preparation for the final disposition will be made."

The time and method of this disposition are as follows:

  • The Time.

         Although the basic aim is to act under superior orders individual disposion may be made in the following circumstances.

         (a) When an uprising of large numbers cannot be suppressed without the use of firearms.

         (b) When escapees from the camp may turn into a hostile fighting force.

  • 2. The Methods.

        (a) Whether they are destroyed individually or in groups or however it is done, with mass bombing, poisonous smoke, poisons, drowning, decapitation, or what, dispose of them as the situation dictates.

        (b) In any case it is the aim not to allow the escape of a single one, to annihilate them all, and not to leave any traces.

  • 3. To: The Commanding General

        To: The Commanding General of Military Police

        Reported matters conferred on with the 11th Unit, the Kiirun Fortified Area H.Q., and each prefecture concerning the extreme security in Taiwan P.O.W. Camps.

        3. (The next entry concerns the will of a deceased P.O.W.).

I hereby certify that this is a true translation from the Journal of the Taiwan P.O.W. H.Q. in Taiwan, entry 1 August 1944.

STEPHEN H. GREEN [American cryptographer]

From the Journal of the Taiwan P.O.W. Camp H.Q. in Taihoku, entry 1 August 1944.

This document was transmitted to every POW Command and every POW prison camp commander.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy U.S. National Archives.





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"Japan, WWII - Kill-All Policy" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 21, 2020.
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