I agree. Some say Stilwell also had a hand in it, for reasons similar to what you posit in regard to MacArthur.
Best regards. S&W R.I.P.
On March 4 troops entered Manila. But the war was not over yet. World War II did not end until September 2, 1945, after the Atomic bomb was dropped on Japan.
The atrocities committed by the Japanese were not ignored. Justice had to be served, though nothing could ever be true justice for the victims, survivors, and their families. There were three classifications for war criminals. A Class was the top officials. The International Military Tribunal of the Far East, (IMTFE), tried them. B and C Class criminals were tried by the Allied nations in the areas where the crimes occurred.
The top Japanese war criminal was Tojo Hideki, Japan's war minister and Prime Minister. It was under his orders and with his blessing that the atrocities were committed against the POWs. He made an unsuccessful suicide attempt after Japan surrendered. On December 8, 1945, he was sent to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo as an A Class war criminal. He was executed on December 23, 1948.
Yamashita Tomoyuki also received a death sentence. He was the Japanese Army commander who faced MacArthur as the war ended. His death is significant because, "he was the first ever high level officer of a defeated army to be tried by the victors for command responsibility, specifically for atrocities committed by his troops in the Philippines." (57)
Homma Masaharu, the Japanese general before Bataan fell, was charged with "bombing Manila after it was declared an open city, refusing quarter to the American troops on Corregidor, and - specifically concerning POWs - allowing the massive atrocities of the death march out of Bataan, and the disgusting atrocities at O'Donnell and Cabanatuan that followed." (58) In April 1946 he was executed by a firing squad and not allowed to wear his military uniform.
While hundreds were accused of war crimes, a little over two dozen were tried and sentenced. Over 300,000 Japanese were charged as B and C Class criminals, but all were not tried due to their vast numbers. Over 5,700 were brought to trial. Trials lasted anywhere from days to months. Sentences ranged from prison terms to executions. Only seven A Class criminals were put to death, four due to their treatment of POWs.
Twenty-five A Class criminals were convicted and sentenced, seven of them to death, sixteen to life. Five thousand seven hundred-plus B and C Class criminals were brought to trials, about 3,000 were convicted and sentenced, 920 were executed. (59)
This is roughly equal to one Japanese sentence for every fifty POWs held for three-and-one-half years (over 150,000) and one executed for every 250-plus who died due to atrocities (almost 232,000). The Japanese did not believe their sentences were just, saying it was only Allied revenge. (60)
Japan's emperor, Hirohito, remained in power.
The treatment accorded to the American and Filipino soldiers in the Philippines was unnecessary and uncalled for. However, the events on Bataan cannot be blamed on one person or one event. As has been shown, many factors contributed to the thousands of deaths. These range from the Japanese treatment of the POWs to the fact that Europe had priority over the Pacific according to officials in Washington. Hopefully, these types of events will never be repeated again.