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In a controversial trial, Yamashita was found guilty of his troops' atrocities even though there was no evidence that he approved or even knew of them, and indeed many of the atrocities were committed by troops not actually under Yamashita's command.

This ruling – holding the commander responsible for his or her subordinates' war crimes as long as the commander did not attempt to discover and stop them from occurring – came to be known as the Yamashita standard.

Throughout his time in the military he had consistently urged the implementation of his proposals, which included "streamlining the air arm, to mechanise the Army, to integrate control of the armed forces in a defence ministry coordinated by a chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to create a paratroop corps and to employ effective propaganda". It was his belief that victory in Malaya would be successful only if his troops could make an amphibious landing—something that was dependent on whether he would have enough air and naval support to provide a good landing site.

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Yamashita tried to rebuild his army but was forced to retreat from Manila to the Sierra Madre mountains of northern Luzon, as well as the Cordillera Central mountains.Yamashita was promoted to lieutenant-general in November 1937.He insisted that Japan should end the conflict with China and keep peaceful relations with the United States and Great Britain, but he was ignored and subsequently assigned to an unimportant post in the Kwantung Army.While he was unable to stop the US advance, he was able to hold on to part of Luzon until after the formal Japanese surrender in August 1945.After the war, Yamashita was tried for war crimes committed by troops under his command during the Japanese defense of the occupied Philippines in 1944.Yamashita ordered all troops, except those given the task of ensuring security, out of the city.

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