Nagoya #6 Nomachi
SCAP Investigation Report

1st Lts Joseph G. Breaune and Richard H. Wills Jr.

Nagoya #6 Main

Source: NARA RG 331 Box 942



9 Jan 1946

SUBJECT: Report on Investigation of Prisoner of War Camp, Nagoya Branch Camp No. 6
TO: Chief of the investigation Division

1. By direction of the Chief, Investigation Division, 1st Lt. Joseph G. Breaune and 1st Lt. Richard H. Wills, Jr., accompanied by T/4 Hiroshi Okada, as interpreter, proceeded to Takaoka City. Toyama Prefecture, Honshu, Japan and made an investigation of the Prisoner of War Camp, Nagoya Branch camp No. 6, between 1 January 1946 and 6 January 1946.

2. Information contained in the following report was obtained through a physical inspection of the remains of the camp and interrogation of the following informants:

(a.) KATO, Junichi, Vice Manager if Nomachi Factory on whose property the camp was located and at which many of the prisoners were employed.
(b.) KANEHIRA, Tsutomu, Business Manager of Nomachi Factory.
(c.) TOMIOKA, S-----, Director, Hokkai Denka Company, Fushiki, Takaokashi, at which many of the prisoners were employed.
(d.) YOSHINO, Hiraki (Kei) - Doctor, Takaoka City, Shinminato, Rokudoji, 935.

3. Contact was made with S-2 of II Bn, 136 Inf. And 42 Area CIC but no pertinent information was developed.


(a.) LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION: Camp #6 was located on the property of the Nomachi Factory, a ferro-alloy smelting company located in Nomachi, a suburb of Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture. The Takaoka area was not subjected to serial bombardment although there were numerous factories in the area that were producing war material.

The camp compound was constructed by the Nomachi Factory and operated from September of 1944 to September of 1945. See exhibits A,B, and C for detailed drawings of the camp. These drawings are the plans made by the Nomachi Factory. The parts lined out indicate where there was no actual constructions as planned. On December 21, 1945, all but one corner of the prisoner quarters building was burned to the ground, reportedly as a result of potato drying operations. Because of this and the fact that the ground was covered with snow at the time of the inspection, it was impossible to get a definite picture of the prisoners' quarters. However, considering the foundation of the quarters and the location and type of buildings not burned it is believed the camp was constructed as pictures in exhibits A,B, and C.
The compound was inclosed by a 10-foot high board fence and apparently there were no guard towers or floodlights. The area inclosed amounted to approximately 16,000 square yards. There were six buildings within the compound: prisoners quarters and infirmary, guard quarters, guard office, camp office and a storage house. The buildings were all of concrete foundation, wooden structure and tile roof. The prisoner quarters and the camp office were the only buildings with platered walls.

(b.) CAMP PERSONNEL: The Army personnel consisted of one officer, Captain Keiji NAGAHARA, two non-commissioned officers, 1st Sgt. Eyoe KURODA and Sgt. Hideo YOSHIDA, and twelve privates whose names were not determined. The Army guards were on dut at the compound and also accompanied the prisoners to and from their places of work. While at work the prisoners were guards by the plant employees (se Exhibits E and F). There were two civilians who were employed as interpreters, Masao MATSUMARU and Yoshio KAMEI. Another civilian, Dr. Kei (Hiraki) YOSHINO, visited the camp weekly.

(c.) PRISONER PERSONNEL: The prisoner personnel consisted of a high of 303. On 8 September 1944, 150 Americans arrived from the Philippines and on 21 May 1945, 150 English arrived. In addition to these, three officers were brought in sometimes in March of 1945. Three sick prisoners were transferred to a hospital near Tokyo and 13 prisoners died. At the time of their liberation, there were 287 prisoners at the camp. There were five officers among the prisoners and the remainer was divided about evenly between non-commissioned officers and privates. No rosters were found available. The officers' names reported to be Major Brene; Captain M. Bernstein (MC); 1st Lt. Sence; 1st Lt. Whiting; and 2nd Lt. Abreson. Of these, four were American and one English.

(d.) QUARTERS: The prisoners were all quartered in one building (see Exhibit A), the officers having a room to themselves and the enlisted men occupying the rest of the sleeping quarters. The English prisoners were in ine half and the Americans in the other. Beds consisted of wooden shelves, in two decks, about 7 feet long and 18 feet wide for 6 persons. Straw mats were used for mattresses and from four to six blankets were furnished each prisoner. The sleeping quarters were lighted by electric lughts and were heated by four wood or coal burners, two in the aisle of each half of the quarters. The officers had a regular stove in their room that burned either coal or wood. There was a small window, about tewo feet by four feet, with glass pane, opposite each row of bunks, both upper and lower. There were twenty four toilet spaces, a wash room, and a bath consisting of three cold water showers and a large tub with heated water. Water for the tub was heated by a pit-type fire next to the tub.

(e.) RATIONS: The prisoners supplied their own kitchen staff and prepared their own food. Three meals a day, consisting primarily of rice and vegetables, were served. There was a well inside the compound which supplied adequate potable water. Meals were cooked and water heated over a large wood-fed brick pit fire. The prisoners used their own or Japanese Army mess gear and ate in the aisles of the sleeping quarters. The factory is reported to have served a small lunch to the work details in addition to the three meals prepared at the camp. There was no chance to buy extra food but the prisoners did have a small garden of their own from which they obtained some supplemental vegetables. There was apparently almost no meat and very little fish and potatoes.
f. CLOTHING: The prisoners wore either Japanese Army clothing or their own and what little was obtained from two Red Cross shipments received at the camp. No information was obtained as to the amount of clothing furnished or whether there were facilities for repairing.

(g.) HYGIENE AND SANITATION: The prisoners who were physically able worked 12 hours a day so there was little opportunity for additional fresh air or exercise. Whatever sterilization of mess and kitchen equipment there was was done by the prisoners themselves. There were no screens over wither the kitchen or toilet windows, Garbage was fed to the hogs kept by the prisoners and human wastes were taken for fertilizer. The prisoners themselves cleaned the barracks and had a laundry room for cleaning their clothing.

(h.) MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSPECTIONS: One of the prisoners, Captain M. Bernstein, MC, operated the camp infirmary and three enlisted prisoners assisted him. It was a wooden structure and was heated only by charcoal burners, No medical help was supplied by the Army except that a civilian doctor, Hiraki (Kei) Yoshino made weekly visits to the infirmary to assist Capt. Bernstein. Only one examination was made by Dr. Yoshino to all of the prisoners and that was in October of 1944 when there were 150 prisoners at the camp. All other examinations by Dr. Yoshino were limited to person confined to bed or the infirmary. The only immunization given the prisoners was a typhoid inoculation in March 1945. The Army furnished very few medical supplies and the majority of supplies was obtained through the Nomachi Factory and the two Red Cross shipments.
There was an average of from 4 to 6 persons in the infirmary every day. Others were confined to their beds however, and there is reason to believe that many who should have been in bed were sent to work. Of the 13 prisoners who died between September 1944 and September 1945, nine of then died of pneumonia in the winter of 1944. Two prisoners died as a result of malaria, one died of beri beri and another died of concussion from being hit on the head while at work. Dr. Yoshino's opinion of the reason for so many pneumonia deaths was the change in climate from the Philippines and the fact that the buildings did not offer adequate protection from the cold. He also said that the type of diet could have caused some of the sickness.
Records concerning the medical history of the prisoners were apparently kept only by Captain Bernstein and the Army. Investigation disclosed no further information in this regard.

(i.) SPECIAL SERVICES: Investigation disclosed and inadequacy in this field. The prisoners were confined to the compound except when on work details or when tending their small garden located about two hundred yards from the compound. There was no canteen and Red Cross supplies were received only twice in the year the camp operated. Apparently religious freedom was allowed but no facilities for services were provided. A few toilet articles were supplied by the Army and the factory furnished a phonograph and records and some toilet articles.

(j.) WORK: The rpisoners at the camp were employed at the Namachi Factory, adjacent to the camp itself, and at Hokkai Denka Company about two miles distance from the camp in a suburb of Takaoka, called Fushiki. Both plants were smelters of ferro-alloys used in the manufacture of steel products. The prisoners who worked at the Nomachi Factory had to walk about 300 to 400 yeards from the camp. The ones at Hokkai Denka had a 7 minute walk to a nearby river and then a 5 minute boat ride.
Prior to May 1945, when the 150 English prisoners arrived, about 60 prisoners were used at the Nomachi Plant and about 80 at Hokkai Denka. After May 1945, about 120 worked at Nomachi nad 145 at Hokkai Denka. The officers were not forced to work and there were always some prisoners too sick to work in addition to those who were at the camp on kitchen and hospital details.
Camp guards escorted the prisoners to and from work. While at work the prisoners were supervised by plant foremen and guarded by employees detailed as guards (see exhibits E and G). The guards carried a wooden stick about 2 feet long and two inches wide. The working day was 12 hours long and prisoners worked both day and night although the majority was employed on the day shift. The companies paid the Army 1 yen per day per man and the men were allowed one day off in ten. At the Nomachi plant the prisoners returned to camp fir the noon meal but if working at Hokkai Denka, they carried their lunch with them. A small snack was sometimes provided by the companies in addition to the meals provided by the Army.

The work at the two plants was very similar. It consisted primarily of mixing raw material (iron, coke and limestone) and either shoveling it directly into the furnace or mixing it, pushing it on carts about 100 to 200 yards and then shoveling it into the furnace. There was also other work done around the furnace, such as stirring the ore after it had been put in the furnace to make it melt faster, and puddling the moulten (sic) steel as it came out of the furnace. Some few prisoners were used in the machine shop and as crane operators. At both plants the apparently was no difference in the work done by non-commissioned officers and privates. The work around the furnace was extremely hot. Many prisoners were burned or blistered and some fainted from the heat. It is known that prisonerers were slapped, kicked, and pushed by the furnace leaders and other employees. Cotton gloves were furnished and sometimes glasses were available but other that this no protective equipment or clothing was furnished. The Nomachi Factory may have supplied fatigue work clothes to the prisoners but the clothing at best was merely a fatigue type and offered no special protection against the heat. Methods at both plants were obsolete and very inefficient.. The equipment at the Nomachi factory was very poor and obsolete. At Hokkai Denka the equipment was better but the methods were of a low degree of efficiency. Very little work, if any, was done by machine. The shoveling, mixing of ore, and carrying the ore to the furnace was all done by hand. There was apparently a total lack of safety precautions at both plants. During air raids they were returned only of sufficient warning was given. Investigation disclosed no such instance.

(k.) SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: As has already been mentioned, there was almost a total absence of safety precautions at the places the prisoners worked. Reportedly there were 30 fire extinguishers and three hand pumps inside the compound. (In considering whether this was adequate fire protection it should be kept in mind that in December of 1945 the building used by the prisoners for quarters burned to the ground). There was an underground air raid shelter which is said to have been able to accommodate 300 men. As the shelter had been filled in at the time of this investigation it was impossible to determine if the shelter had that capacity. There is serious doubt that it did.

(l.) PUNITIVE MEASURES: Due to the fact that the only informant contacted who spent any time within the confines of the camp was Dr. Yoshino, very little was developed in this regard. Dr. Yoshino's visits, though weekly, were restricted primarily to the infirmary and he denied knowing of any punitive measures used.

(m.) MISCELLANEOUS: Matters of monthly pay, right to elect spokesmen and voice complaints, camp visits by the International Red Cross or the Protecting Power, correspondence, judicial proceedings, etc., were discussed with the informants but little of consequence was uncovered. Informants advised that there were no camp inspections or visits and that only two shipments of Red Cross supplies were received.

(n.) SUMMARY: Although considerable information regarding Nagoya Branch Camp #6 was obtained in this investigation it must be kept in mind that none of the informants contacted were closely connected with the operation of the camp. For more reliable information it would be well to contact one of the camp interpreters whose names and addresses are set forth under the undeveloped leads. IN considering the value of the information in this report it should eb also kept in mind that at the time of the investigation, the principle building of the camp, the prisoners' quarters, had burned to the ground and that snow covered the entire area. It is significant that thirteen prisoners died during one year or less that the camp was in operation. Investigation indicates that lack of proper medical supplies, inadequate diet both as to quality and quantity played a big part in this high death rate.
Although no mistreatment of prisoners was disclosed within the confines of the camp, it was established the prisoners on work details were subjected to undue risk to their person and inhumane treatment by the plant employees.

(o.) Undeveloped Leads:

1. Captain Keiji NAGAHARA, Camp Commander now at Omori Prison.
2. KAMEI, Yoshio, camp Interpreter; now employed by Allied Forces at Nagoya; address Nagoya Shi, Naka Ku, Kuana Machi, Nichone 4 (originally the Kusunoki Hospital)
3. MATSUMARU, Masao; Totori Ken Nishihaku Gun, Ostumura, Fukunari. (Camp Interpreter)

/s/ Joseph G. Breaune
Investigating Officer
Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP

/s/ Richard H. Wills Jr
Investigating Officer
Investigating Officer
Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP