According to the Japanese government, the remains of a former prime minister were found in a farmhouse in Niigata Prefecture. It’s not clear whether the remains are those of Nobusuke Kishi, who served as prime minister from 1957 to 1960, or possibly Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister.

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The Japanese government released a few more personal items from the grave of Hideki Tojo, the prime minister and Army General in the early days of World War II who was later convicted of war crimes and executed by the Allies in 1948.

At the time of his execution for war crimes in 1948, General Hideki Tojo, Japan’s wartime prime minister, was considered the archenemy of the Japanese war machine. But after the high-profile trial and execution of one of the organizers of the Pearl Harbor attack, the world was left in the dark about the whereabouts of Tojo’s remains.

To this day, this place remains a well-kept secret.

The eighth. In June, Hiroaki Takazawa, a professor at Nihon University who specializes in military courts, announced that he had discovered the site where Tojo’s ashes were scattered, the Associated Press reported.

In 2018, while perusing the U.S. National Archives in Washington, Takazawa came across declassified documents detailing a once top-secret mission to disperse the remains of Tojo and six other war criminals executed on Dec. 23, 1948. After several years of revising and refining the details, Takazawa mapped the approximate location where Tojo’s remains were released.

Documents show that Tojo’s ashes were dropped by a US military plane over the Pacific Ocean, about 30 kilometers east of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, south of Tokyo, AP writes.

The details were never made public and until recently her whereabouts were a closely guarded secret to prevent her becoming a martyr at the hands of the ultra-nationalists.

According to the National Defense Research Institute of Japan and the Japan Asian Historical Records Center, the documents discovered by Takazawa are the first public record of the handling of the remains of seven war criminals.

Tojo was one of 28 Japanese warlords tried for crimes against peace by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East from 1946 to 1948. The defendants, writes historian Robert Barr Smith, were charged with 55 counts, an unusual document largely written by Arthur Comyns-Carr, the British prosecutor.

Tojo speaks before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East(Keystone/Getty Images)

After Decades-Long Mystery, War Criminal Tojo’s Remains Revealed

All defendants were found guilty. Toji, Foreign Minister Koki Hirota and five generals (Kenji Doihara, Seishiro Itagaki, Hioturo Kimura, Iwane Matsui and Akira Muto) were sentenced to death by hanging. Sixteen were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Shigenori Togo and Mamoru Shigemitsu received different sentences.

Takazawa testified that one of the documents, dated 23. December 1948, was marked secret, and U.S. Army Major Luther Frierson wrote I certify that I received the remains of the following executed war criminals from the Eighth Army liaison aircraft, that I supervised the cremation, and that I personally scattered the ashes at sea.

In the United States, great care was taken to remove all traces of the ashes after cremation. The furnaces were completely cleared of debris and special precautions were taken to prevent the smallest debris particles from entering, Frierson wrote.

In addition to their attempt to prevent the glorification of the remains, I believe the U.S. military was adamant about not allowing the remains to return to Japanese territory ….. as the ultimate humiliation, Takazawa told the AP.

Although the remains are not buried at the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, the executed war criminals, along with the 2.5 million war dead, are now considered holy spirits in the Shinto religion.

Yasukuni has become a point of tension between Japan and its neighbors, China and South Korea, writes the AP, which sees the immortalization as proof that Japan has no remorse for its aggression during the war. Five other convicted warlords and hundreds of other war criminals are also buried at Yasukuni.

For Tojo’s grandson, Hidetoshi Tojo, the professor’s latest revelation is an opportunity to research his family history.

Everything about my great-grandfather was sealed, including his speeches. Given that, I think the refusal to preserve the remains was part of the occupation policy, he said. I’m hoping for more revelations about unknown facts from the past.

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