SCAP Investigation Report

Akenobe       ex Sakurajima



9 February 1946


SUBJECT: Re Investigation of AKENOBE Prisoner of War Camp.

By direction of the Chief, Investigation Division, Lt. J B Ammon and Lt. S. Walters, accompanied by T/4 Toda as interpreter, proceeded to Akenobe and made an investigation of the Prisoner of War Camp there.(The report to supply information for the prosecution of War Criminals)

1. Location:
Wada, Minamitoni-mura, Yabu-gun, Hyogo Pref.
Military Objectives: No military objective within close proximity to this camp. The Akenobe Mine is about 10 minutes walk from the camp. The camp is protected by high mountains and a turn in the canyon.

2. Description:
The camp was split by a river. On one side were the Japanese quarters, warehouse, offices and firehouse. All these buildings were of wooden frame construction, and complete information can be found on the sketch in Exhibit B.
   On the other side of the river was situated the camp itself, which was surrounded by a ten foot high board fence with 2' sharp bamboo stakes on top. There was a flood on 17 Sept 1945, and three buildings were washed away. The resst are intact.
   Just inside the gate on the right was the guard office, quarters and latine. This buildings had been washed away by the flood. It was a frame affair, 45 feet long and 13 feet wide.
   Next to the guard house was the P.O.W. bath buildings, 30' x 18'. It was also of wooden construction and contained the following: Shower and bath room; there was no evidence of showers but there was a cement tub 10' x 6'. Cloak room and boiler room.
    Next to the bath house and higher up the slope was the dispensary and sick ward, a wooden one-story building. Dimensions 75' x 19'. It contained a treatment or consultation room 15' x 15', the pharmacy 15' x 15' and three rooms for sick patients 17' x 15'. One room was the isolation ward and used solely by nine tuberculosis cases, these men also had a separate part of the latrine.
    The kitchen was a one story frame affair, 60' x 18' in size. At one end were two food storerooms, each 12' x 9'. The kitchen had eight brick stoves, one bake oven and several wooden sinks and tables. The floor was earth.
    The next building was also of wood and one story. Its dimensions were 87' x 19'. At both ends were wooden wash troughs. The other five rooms, all 19' x 15' in size contained the following: Quarters for medical personnel, quarters for POW's with minor illnesses, shoe repair shop, POW office, and a work shop for the prisoners who could only do light work.
    The one remaining building was the POW latrine, a one story wooden building 29' x 12' in size. It contained 2 cement urinals and 12 toilets which were the usual wooden booth with a hole in the floor..
    The barracks 84' x 39' housing the POW's was washed away by the flood as well as the latrine at the other end of it. The POW's slept on triple decker bunks, which had straw mats on top of the boards. There were no regular heating facilities, except a few charcoal pots, these were burned only in rainy weather.

3. Utilization:
Akenobe Prisoner of War Camp was established to furnish labor for the Akenobe Mining Co., which is a branch of the Ikuno copper mining Co. [Mitsubishi Corp]
    Clothing: The prisoners were furnished the regular Jap Army summer uniform, for work in the mines cotton fatigues were given the prisoners. For shoes the men had canvas rubber soled Japanese styled sneakers. In off hours the prisoners wore their own issue shoes.

4. Prisoner of War personnel:
Camp established 16 May 1945, 300 POWs arrived 17 May from Taisho, Sakurajima and Yodogawa Camps. At the end of the war, 286 prisoners released, 14 in the hospital. [Note- no deaths recorded] A complete roster of the prisoners is attached as Exhibit D. [missing]

5. Guards:
A complete roster of the army personnel at Akenobe camp is attached to this report as Exhibit C. [missing]

6: Work:
All the prisoners in this camp worked at the Akenobe mine and Surface Plant, a subdivision of the Ikuno Mine which is controlled by the MITSUBISHI HOLDINGS. The mine was located 3300 meters from camp. Most of the men worked underground at the mine, shoveling, pushing ore cars, working with rock drills, picking ore from waste and helping with the maintenance of machinery and electrical devices. On the surface the prisoners did general laboring, maintenance work. Some of the weaker prisoners worked in the company farms,
     Working hours, 0730 - 1600, part of this time was spent in the movement from the portal of the mine into the working places. One or two hours for lunch. Sunday off. The prisoners walked to and from the mine.
    The pay was the usual 1 yen per day paid to the army, none of the persons interrogated were sure of the prisoners' pay.
    Red Cross packages were distributed on one occasion, 300 boxes given out for the entire camp.
    The prisoners were allowed to conduct church services on Sunday, and were given the freedom of the camp on that day.

7. Food:
An average days menu is as follows:

Breakfast: Rice and soup
Dinner: Rice, fish (nearly everyday), 2 vegetables (Cabbage, seaweed, eggplant)
Supper: Rice, soup, fish and tomatoes nearly everyday, squash, Meat only 2 or 3 times during the camp operation.
The mining company furnished most of the food which the army paid for.
[Note: This information furnished post war by Japanese officials- certainly contrary to POW reports]

8. Medical:
No deaths at this camp. The medical personnel consisted of 1 dentist, 2 doctors, 5 medics, all prisoners plus 3 Jap medics. No Japanese army doctor at the camp at any time.
The average in the hospital was 20; 7 or 8 with T.B., the rest with colds or minor injuries. No one was seriously injured at the mine. Most of the men were suffering to some degree with beri beri and boils. For supplies the medical staff relied on Red Cross boxes and medicines from the mining company. The army supply was very small.

9. Sanitation: See 2 above

10. Safety Measures:
No air raid shelter within the camp itself. When questioned about this the ex-guards stated that in the event of an air raid they planned to use a mine tunnel which was about 100 meters from the camp. No air raid alarms were given during the time the prisoners were at the camp.

11. Punishment and Discipline:
No information was gathered that would lead to belief that any prisoners were mistreated at this camp. When questioned the ex-guards said that the ranking prisoners officers took care of punishment themselves.

12. Conclusion:
No information or leads to any atrocities at Akenobe camp were uncovered during this investigation.


We, S Walters Lt., O-1332112 and J B Ammon Lt., O-1185962 certify that the above mentioned facts are as we saw or as were told to us during our investigation of the Akenobe Prisoner of War Camp on 7 - 9 February 1946.

/S/ Samuel E. Walters
SAMUEL E. WALTERS 2d Lt O-1332112
Investigating Officer
Legal Section GHQ SCAP

/S/ James B. Ammon
JAMES B. AMMON, 2d Lt., O-1185962
Investigating Officer
Legal Section GHQ SCAP

Osaka, Japan
9 February 1946