JAPAN: Flowers for the Prosecution

On the afternoon of Aug. 10, 1945, Osamu Satano's superior officers took him to an open field near the Fukuoka crematory in northern Kyushu. There Satano had to "volunteer" to behead a captured U.S. B-29 airman. After he had swung the executioner's sword, Satano watched one of his officers torture another prisoner to death by shooting arrows at him.

Last week, in a musty military courtroom in Yokohama, 27-year-old Satano rose to be sentenced by a five-man military tribunal. Just before the sentence was pronounced, the defendant's mother presented the embarrassed U.S. prosecutor with a bouquet of...

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