Japanese Civil Police Ignore Liberation of Urawa Internment Camp

Four Japanese Civil Policemen ignore the celebrations of their prisoners as United States Navy and Marine medical units arrive at the Urawa Internment Camp, Kamikizaki 5-6-3, Saitama Prefecture, on August 30, 1945. Note that the officer on the extreme left has a scar below his left eye; probably a war injury. Urawa, a camp mostly for male missionaries and clergy interned in 1942 to prevent spying, had better conditions than most of the other prisoner of war camps and civilian internments. That could be due in part to most other camps being run by the Military Police, the Kempeitai. Still, the internees had a difficult relationship with the Civil Police. In the September 4, 1945 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Urawa internee Father Marie Gabriel Groleau (July 28, 1913 - December 25, 2000) was quoted, "The police, ah, the police! They are the rascals! they kick, they slap, they beat everyone." Reporter Kyle Palmer wrote "the police at Urawa ate most of the food rationed to the monastery. The few police at Urawa who hung around the place while while I was there were round-faced, ruddy, and in marked contrast to the Franciscans, [the internees] all of whom were pale and thin." The Civil Police (Bureau Of Police Affairs) reported to the Home Ministry and was one of the few organizations that was not disbanded by Supreme Command Allied Powers (SCAP). A declassified Office of Strategic Services (OSS) report stated, "The pay of the Civil Police, even according to the low standards of the Japanese civil service, is extremely poor. Although the low pay may be partially compensated by the dignity and importantance of the policemen in Japan, the men attracted to the profession are generally mediocre in ability. The war has seriously reduced the number of available men, and has thereby lowered personnel standards even further." Many were veterans recovering from wounds or invalided out of the service or otherwise unavailable for military functions.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives and Records Ad
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Date Photographed: 
Thursday, August 30, 1945