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Heitaro Kimura

Sentenced
Sentenced on 12 November 1948 to death by hanging; executed on 23 December 1948
General, Member of the Supreme Council of the War, Commander in Chief of the Japanese army in Burma

Heitaro Kimura was born on 28 September 1888 in Tokyo.

In 1908, he graduated from the Academy of the Japanese Imperial Army as an officer of artillery.

Between 1918 and 1919, he served in the Japanese expedition to Siberia to fight against the Bolshevik army. He was then sent as a military attaché to Germany. He was promoted to Colonel in 1928.

From 1929 to 1931, Heitaro Kimura was the Japanese delegate at the London Conference on Disarmament.

Upon his return to Japan, he became an artillery instructor. He was promoted to Major-General in 1936, then Lieutenant-General in 1938. In 1940, he was appointed Chief of General Staff of the Army of Guandong, one of the most important branches of the Japanese army, which at the time controlled the State of Manchukuo.

In 1941, Kimura was recalled to Tokyo where he was appointed Vice-Minister of the war in the Tojo cabinet (see "related cases"). Therefore, it was alleged that he had perfect knowledge of the plans and preparations for war in the Pacific and China, and he would have supported the plans for Japanese aggression. He was accused of having knowledge of the illegality of the Pacific War and doing nothing to try to prevent it, having even participated. He was relieved of his duties as Vice-Minister of the War in March 1943. He then became a member of the Supreme Council of the War until 1944.

In August 1944, Heitaro Kimura was appointed Commander in Chief of the Japanese army stationed in Burma. He held this post until the surrender of Japan. It iwasalleged that in carrying out his functions, Kimura violated the laws and customs of war in approving the use of prisoners of war for hazardous work, from which they are usually prohibited. They were forced to work in very dangerous conditions and several thousands died. Heitaro Kimura allegedly gave the order and approved the use of prisoners of war for the construction of the railway between Burma and the Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand). In addition, he did not take the necessary disciplinary measures to prevent or to punish the commission of atrocities by his troops.

Despite his failure to counter the Allied attacks and to retain control of Burma, Kimura was promoted to the rank of General in 1945.

At the end of the war, he was arrested by the Allies and imprisoned in Sugamo.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Japan 28.09.1888 1940  - 1945 06.05.1946  - 12.11.1948
War crimes
Aggression
Crimes against humanity
05.07.2011
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