CIA recruited Japanese war criminals





TOKYO - Col. Masanobu Tsuji was a fanatical Japanese militarist and brutal warrior, hunted after World War II for massacres of Chinese civilians and complicity in the Bataan Death March. And then he became a U.S. spy. Newly declassified CIA records, released by the U.S. National Archives and examined by The Associated Press, document more fully than ever how Tsuji and other suspected Japanese war criminals were recruited by U.S. intelligence in the early days of the Cold War. The documents also show how ineffective the effort was, in the CIA's view.

The records, declassified in 2005 and 2006 under an act of Congress in tandem with Nazi war crime-related files, fill in many of the blanks in the previously spotty documentation of the occupation authority's intelligence arm and its involvement with Japanese ultra-nationalists and war criminals, historians say.

In addition to Tsuji, who escaped Allied prosecution and was elected to parliament in the 1950s, conspicuous figures in U.S.-funded operations included mob boss and war profiteer Yoshio Kodama, and Takushiro Hattori, former private secretary to Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister hanged as a war criminal in 1948.

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