“Stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners” -Potsdam Declaration
Witness how the judges from 11 victorious nations gather after World War II to bring justice and hold the Empire of Japan accountable for its gruesome acts.
The four-part historical drama miniseries depicts the military trial of the leaders of the Empire of Japan after World War II conducted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). The series focused on the discussions of the judges on the crimes committed by the war criminals, and on the legality of the charter which convened the tribunal. Therein lies the problem of this series. It is propaganda to make Japan’s leaders seemed innocent of their horrible crimes during the war. As a Filipino, I’m appalled by the show’s script.
The series is based mostly on the recollections of Justice Bert Röling of the Netherlands in the novel De Offers (The Sacrifices) and from his son Hugo’s book. Röling, with Justice Henri Bernard of France and Justice Radhabinod Pal of India, are the judges who wrote the dissenting opinion in the case. By putting them in the spotlight, the show only legitimized the actions of war criminals, with Röling saying that the criminals are “good, decent men, men this country will need in order to rebuild itself.”
Justice Pal from India is the most diabolical character in the series and the main lead in pushing forward the narrative of the Japanese criminals. His thoughts are shocking especially when he said that “war is an inevitable evil” with the other judges saying that it might soon trigger World War III and that Pal’s definition of justice will not prevent mass violence in the future. Pal’s ass licking is so deplorable. Maybe because India did not suffer as much as we in Southeast Asia did. It’s a good thing that Justice Delfin Jaranilla from the Philippines wrote his separate opinion (concurring with the majority) “to counter his (Pal) one-sided opinion for the Japanese.”
Mortal Worthy (3 out of 5 stars). “Tokyo Trial” tried to walk the narrow path of balancing the views of the victors and the war criminals but the very sense of giving air time to the dissenting judges and putting them into good light make this series just propaganda to delegitimize the tribunal charter and make the dissenting judges heroes. The series is also careful in not discussing the real sentiment of the Japanese on the trial. The good thing about the series is it gave a rare glimpse of the trial which is not as discussed compared to the infamous Nuremberg Trials.
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