Iwane Matsui was born in 1878. A commanding officer in the Japanese army, he rose to the rank of General in 1933.
He was accused of having conspired to wage wars of aggression and of having taken part in such wars.
Matsui retired in 1935, but was recalled to active duty in 1937 and given the command of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force, before being appointed Commander in Chief of the army in the central China area. His troops took Nanking on 13 December 1937. The Chinese army had evacuated the city just before it was taken. The ensuing occupation was therefore that of a defenceless city. The Japanese troops nevertheless carried out unspeakable atrocities: massacre, rape, pillaging and destruction were routinely committed. During a six to seven week period, more than 100’000 civilians were killed and thousands of women raped. Against this backdrop, Matsui marched triumphantly into Nanking on 17 December 1937 and remained there for several days.
Iwane Matsui was arrested by the American occupation authorities after the surrender of Japan.
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