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Piffle Prospector
Aug 2, 2001
The US Military was also said to have acquired a great deal of data on biological weapons from the infamous Japanese camp, where the POWs called Logs of Wood, were exposed to Typhus and routinely subjected to living autopsies. I've some details about this somewhere.
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I believe that there was a large corpus of information on the breaking strains of limbs in living humans supplied by both the Nazis and the Japanese.
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The Sickening Secret.

The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time by Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen.

No one can be certain what genius first realized that disease could be turned from an uncontrollable killer into a weapon. Maybe some fourteenth-century Tartar. Perhaps the same one who got the bright idea, as he watched his comrades dropping from plague during their three-year siege of the Genoan-occupied Black Sea town of Caffa, to catapult cadavers over the city walls.

Nice move, if a little shortsighted. The Genoans fled the city all right. Then they dispersed, bacillus-ridden, throughout Europe.

Or perhaps it was whichever German surmised that anthrax might do quite nicely in cutting down Europe's livestock supply during World War I. It really doesn't matter who thought of it first, the fact is, biowar got its biggest boost from exactly the effort designed to curtail it: the 1925 Geneva Convention. On June 17, 1925, most of the global powers at the convention affixed their stamps to a protocol banning the use of biological weapons.

There were two important abstainees. The United States didn't sign, which was slightly curious because at that point, America showed little interest in developing germ weapons [allegedly]. The other no-show was a different story. With the impetus of an ambitious and, in a twisted way, visionary young military doctor named Shiro Ishii, Japan had become infatuated with dreams of infecting its enemies. A decade later Japan occupied Manchuria and Ishii commanded his very own biowar empire, replete with the emperor's seal.

The sprawling operation was centered in a remote Manchurian town called Pingfan and was euphemistically named the Anti-Epidemic Water Supply Unit, Unit 731, now better known as the Ishii Corps.

Unit 731's research methods were scientifically sloppy and ethically, well, not quite right. Their test subjects were humans: Koreans, Chinese, and Russians at first. Then, after Japan went to war with the West, American, British, and Australian prisoners found themselves marched, shipped, and hauled to an encampment near the faraway Manchurian city of Mukden. There they were met by a masked welcoming committee of medical personnel who greeted them by spraying some indeterminate liquid in their faces, ramming glass probes in their rectums, and injecting them with mysterious serum.

Many of the soldiers, unsurprisingly, died. But their bodies were not disposed of according to orthodox disease-control techniques. To say the least. The creepy team of scientists came back and dissected the corpses.

These practices were a matter of routine for Ishii's Unit 731, whose vast kingdom of disease is thought to have traversed much of eastern Asia. The lab at Pingfan, alone, held germ factories that bred eight tons of toxins per month. It also contained an impressive flea farm useful in vectoring Ishii's personal favorite malady, bubonic plague. Ishii's unit pelted several Chinese cities with "flea bombs," igniting outbursts of plague.

Unit 731 infected thousands of humans, American and British POW among them, with plague, tetanus, anthrax, botulism, meningitis, tuberculosis, and a potpourri of similar noxious concoctions. Ishii's team of medical experts coolly charted their subjects' illnesses from infection to death. Prisoners who complained of crippling diarrhoea were "tested" by being compelled to run laps around the camp until they dropped from exhaustion. Some were made to stand naked in 40-below weather until their limbs froze, ostensibly to study the effects of disease in cold climates. The details aren't really important.

At least not to the United States War Department and General Douglas MacArthur. In Ishii and his files, the military brass realized, they had a motherlode of data that the United States could never develop on its own due to - as two American biowarfare researchers eloquently put it upon returning from interviews with Ishii and his underlings in Tokyo - "scruples attached to human experimentation."

Taking a unique approach to supporting our boys in the field, MacArthur suggested a deal that would allow Ishii and the rest of Unit 731's mad scientists immunity from war-crimes prosecution if they would just share their test results with American researchers, an arrangement that suited Ishii just fine. Only the state department objected, on grounds that later revelation of the deal might "seriously embarrass" the U.S. government.

Ishii slipped into reclusive retirement, devoted, according to his daughter, to religious study - though rumors ran rampant that he made repeated visits to Korea helping the United States mount a biowarfare campaign there. Dr. Murray Sanders, the military physician who finally blew the whistle on the secret deal, believed that Ishii gave lectures at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where American scientists immersed themselves in a supersecret germ weapons project after the war.

Many of Ishii's top associates went on to illustrious and rewarding careers with Japanese universities, corporations, and the government. The doctor who oversaw the cold-weather experiments struck lucrative deals with commercial fisheries as a "freezing specialist." His contribution to the frozen fish industry can only be guessed at.

The extensive unpleasantness that was Unit 731 remains one of World War II's more obscure large-scale crimes against humanity, thanks to both a U.S. government coverup reflex and Japan's always intriguing compulsion to transform, ignore, or reinvent its own history [much like the rest of the planet].

Indeed, if a Tokyo graduate student in the early eighties hadn't stumbled across a shred of Ishii's scant remaining paper trail, the Japanese public might never have known about its existence.

But it seems Ishii's empire extended into Tokyo, where things become a little tougher to conceal, seeing as how there are fifteen million people there. In 1989, a construction crew hit on a chock-full stash of human remains beneath the pavement of Shinjuku, Tokyo's futuristic redevelopment zone. "The remains were found just steps from the site of the wartime laboratory of Lt. Gen. Shiro Ishfi," reported the Asabi Evening News, which noted the belief of Kanagawa University Professor Kefichi Tsuneishi - Japan's leading 731 authority - that Ishii's unit had transported the bodies of its victims to Tokyo for further "study."

In August of 1993, several Chinese families, who think that bones of family members may be among the ghoulish heap, began demanding that Japan identify the skeletons. So far the government's approach to the unusual archaeological find has been ho-hum, declining to investigate where the bones came from or run any tests.

Not that the United States always provides a better example of openness, at least on the topic of biowarfare. For some reason, a chapter of Peter Williams and David Wallace's book "Unit 731: The Japanese Army's Secret of Secrets", was omitted from the American edition. It appeared in England, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

The chapter was titled "Korean War" and it explored the still controversial evidence that the United States military employed Ishii's techniques against China and North Korea. The charges had been around since the fifties, and were either hushed up or brushed off as commie propaganda (REDS' PHOTOGRAPHS ON GERM WARFARE EXPOSED AS FAKES-EVIDENCE IS CONCLUSIVE, hollered a March 15, 1952, New York Times headline). Williams and Wallace base their account largely on the findings of the International Scientific Commission for the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China (ISC), the one source "generally accepted today as being of high quality," the authors say.

The ISC found that numerous Chinese and Korean sites suffered unexplained outbreaks of bubonic plague and other diseases that coincided with the appearance of non-indigenous or out-of-season insects in those areas. A Chinese plague expert who examined the Korean outbreak told the ISC that his results "explain the reasons why the Americans deliberately protected the Japanese bacteriological war criminals." The United States used Ishii's "flea bomb" method to spread the plagues, ISC evidence indicated.

Nor were fleas the only weapon deployed by American biowarriors. On an April night in 1952 an American F-82 fighter was spotted flying over a Chinese village near the Inner Mongolian border. With the break of day, residents were greeted by an infestation of more than seven hundred voles. Of the voles who survived both the night cold and ravaging cats, many "were sluggish or had fractured legs."

A test on one dead vole showed that it was infected with plague. At first, "the Commission was puzzled how the voles had been dropped from the air," write Williams and Wallace. "But Unit 731 had devised such methods."

In North Korea, the ISC learned of a bizarre clam bombing. In what the ISC determined was a failed attempt to contaminate a local water supply, American planes unloaded cholera-infested clams on a hillside near a water purification plant.

"Japanese research had shown that marine lamelli-branch mollusks were well suited as media for the growth of cholera vibrio," Williams and Wallace report.

Such were the rewards of MacArthur's secret deal. Several MuMen survivors - who years later still suffered from unexplained outbreaks of fever and illness - tried to pry the truth from their own recalcitrant governments. As late as 1987, British and American MuMen vets were told "no evidence" existed that Allied prisoners were victimized by Ishii's brand of scientific inquiry. In fact, such evidence had existed for more than forty years, and was known to MacArthur when he conceived the secret deal.

It was through this covert pact, and the subsequent conspiracy to cover it up within the U.S. and British governments, that Shiro Ishii became the father of modern biological weapons. The U.S. biowarfare program was lackadaisical until 1942, 'When Chiang Kai-shek wrote a letter to Winston Churchill filling him in on Ishii's machinations. The British had their own quite minor research effort going, and the United States joined in. A year later, the Americans got their own project off the ground at a place called Camp - later Fort - Detrick in Maryland.

The quest for the "biological bomb" was conducted under the same air of paranoid self-importance as was its atomic counterpart. But unlike the Manhattan Project*, which drew leading physicists of the day, biowarfare research repulsed the nation's top biologists who recoiled from the endeavor. Those darn scruples again.

The government announced the biowarfare project in 1946, but the public's horrified response prompted the army's chief of staff, Dwight Eisenhower, to slap a three-year gag order on the project - broken only by Defense Secretary James Forrestal's 1949 debunking of public concerns as "unduly spectacular."

In the meantime, Fort Detrick, now largely an outpost of the CIA, plugged away at such unspectacular enterprises as the search for toxins that could disguise assassinations as natural deaths and other spooky schemes that have since became the stuff of spy-buff legend.

U.S. researchers did test toxins on humans, albeit volunteers. Prison inmates and, weirdly, Seventh Day Adventists lined up to get shot up with psittacosis, equine encephalitis, and tularaemia.

But it still wasn't enough. One of the biggest problems in deploying biological weapons is somehow ensuring that - oops! - the germs don't blow back in your own army's face. To check how germ clouds drifted under actual weather conditions, the military started dousing American cities with bacteria.

A 1950 "attack" on San Francisco, in which a navy minesweeper spewed rae serratia bacteria all over the City by the Bay, sent eleven people to the hospital. One person died. Researchers also unleashed toxins into the Pentagon air conditioning system and the New York subways.

A lawsuit against the government by the San Francisco victim's family revealed three-hundred "open air" germ tests between 1950 and 1969. In 1972 the U.S. government officially renounced the development and use of biochemical weapons.

Even so, secret germ tests continue, though often under the aegis of universities and private research institutes. Today's experiments have an ominous twist - genetic engineering. In 1986 the Wistar Institute, a venerable research facility in Philadelphia, infected Argentinean cattle with genetically altered rabies virus, catching Argentinean cattle ranchers completely by surprise.

The University of Oregon embarked on similar experiments in New Zealand.

The military found the biology business a hard habit to break. Despite the 1972 ban, the Defense Department was allowed to clone a Shiga toxin gene. Shiga toxin causes dysentery. The military, public spirited as ever, asserted that it merely sought a vaccine against the terminally runny affliction. But if the history of germ warfare research proves anything, it's that in the wacky world of infectious disease, defense and offense are often interchangeable.

The foreboding epilogue, or perhaps epitaph, to this unfortunate account is spelled A-I-D-S. The thesis that this fin de siècle epidemic sprang from biowarfare genetic experiments, perhaps on purpose, is common currency among conspiracy traffickers.

Needless to add, there's nothing on the record to confirm it. But then, there was "no evidence" that American prisoners were subjects of Ishii's human experiments either.


Harris, Robert, and Jeremy Paxman. A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret Story of Chemical and Biological Warfare. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982.

McDermott, Jeanne. The Killing Winds: The Menace of Biological Warfare. New York: Arbor House, 1987.

Piller, Charles, and Keith Yamamoto. Gene Wars: Military Control Over the New Genetic- Technologies. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1988.

Williams, Peter, and David Wallace. Unit 731: The Japanese Army's Secret of Secrets. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1989.

[Emp edit: Source: http://100777.com/node/290 ]
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There were reports that, not long after the end of WW2, Maoist forces in China were subjected to insect-borne biological warfare, delivered by American aircraft. Japanese bio-warfare apparently made great use of insects (and perhaps birds) to be carriers of biological weapons.
Japanese experiments in Manchuria

The Japanese captured Manchuria in 1932 and established Unit 731, commanded by General Shiro Ishii, were based in Harbin and conducted some of the most vile experiments.

Also mention in Peter Brookesmith's "Future plagues" page 145.


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Unlocking a Deadly Secret
text By Nicholas D. Kristof
New York Times
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Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover-up

In Manchuria, before and during World War II, the Japanese army conducted numerous horrifying scientific experiments upon live human beings, including those relating to bacteriological and chemical warfare. After the war, the Japanese scientists who had been engaged in these activities were granted immunity from the US Army's investigation for war crimes in return for the results of their experiments. Factories of Death details the activities of these scientists and the subsequent cover-up. It investigates sensitive topics like who knew of the experiments in the upper echelons of the Japanese military and political establishments, the question of whether or not Allied POWs were subjected to such tests, and the nature of the deal that was brokered with US authorities. Sheldon Harris has based his work on extensive field research in China and previously unavailable records from the US governmental agencies and the KGB. This new edition has been completely updated, and contains an entirely new chapter detailing the numerous revelations that have surfaced since the book's initial publication in 1994.

and an extract from "Demon Doctors: Physicians as Serial Killers" by Kenneth V. Iserson:


Japanese Biowarfare Experiments on Humans

From: "Chapter 8: Viruses and Vivisections: Japan's Inhuman Experiments" in Demon Doctors: Physicians as Serial Killers
By Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.
Galen Press, Ltd., Tucson, AZ,

This chapter chronicles Japan's foray into biological warfare, with the leadership of a military physician-researcher and mass-murderer, Dr. Ishii Shiro, who commanded the infamous Unit 731. Dr. Ishii set this terrible story in motion through his driving ambition, lack of morality, and persistent efforts to stimulate Japan's development of biological weaponry (BW). Over little more than a decade, he and his physician-researcher colleagues were responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. This is a composite scenario of two of their well-documented vivisections (dissection of live people).

These experiments provided the information for the United States' biowarfare program. As described in the chapter, in return for their unique and deadly information, none of the physician-killers were ever prosecuted-and many went on to prestigious and often lucrative careers in the medical-research world.

Manchuria, 1941.

Lin Minga and Tamara Kazursky shrank back in fear, petrified by the sight before them. They stood at the entrance to an operating room with two tables, wearing only flimsy gowns. But neither of them needed an operation.

Petite, 17-year-old Lin Minga had been living with her parents and working in the local factory when the dreaded kenpeitai, the Japanese military police, had taken her to their headquarters for interrogation. Her brother was in the communist-led anti-Japanese resistance, but she did not know anything about it. Yet, after three days of torture, she was bound hand and foot to another woman, put in the back of a closed van, and driven to a prison. A virgin, she had been forced to have sex with numerous men, all of whom, she later discovered, had venereal diseases. Not surprisingly, she became pregnant. During her pregnancy, the Japanese doctors repeatedly examined her and took blood, urine, and vaginal tests. She had given birth to a beautiful son two days ago. Now she had been dragged to this death laboratory.

Nineteen-year-old Tamara Kazursky, a beautiful White Russian girl whose family had lived in Harbin for more than 20 years, worked at her parents' bakery and was engaged to be married. She had been walking home when she was caught in a "sweep" by the local militia. The soldiers had been told to get subjects for experiments, and she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Quickly bundled into a tight "package," she was thrown onto a sealed boxcar and taken to this chamber of horrors. She, too, had been forced to have sex with numerous men, contracting a venereal disease that was causing her severe lower abdominal pain. The Japanese doctors seemed to take a special interest in her once the pain developed.

"Get up on the table and take off your gowns," said the Japanese nurse in broken Chinese. "This is a medical procedure, and won't hurt a bit."

Orderlies and doctors quickly stripped the young women and pushed them onto the tables, securing their arms, legs, and torsos. As the two women stared up in horror, eight men in white clustered around the table. One doctor, seemingly in charge, said "No anesthesia; it might compromise our findings."

At each table, a doctor took a scalpel and quickly cut open the women's abdomens. The girls let out nightmarish screams as their bellies were ripped open and their entrails exposed. Lin Minga had enough composure to yell, "Kill me, but not my baby," before she lapsed into unconsciousness. Tamara's body continued to twitch as her uterus and ovaries were removed and blood sprayed the ceiling. Unnoticed by the doctors, their hearts eventually stopped and their agony ended. The doctors had the samples they wanted. Their bodies were dragged to the incinerators and their identities lost forever. None of the doctors felt any guilt. They had done this numerous times and anyway, these were only worthless maruta [logs].

©Galen Press, Ltd., 2001


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This site has a good selection of articles:

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New York Times March 4, 1999: Japanese Germ-War Atrocities : A Half-Century of Stonewalling the World
By Ralph Blumenthal.

March 4, 1999

Japanese Germ-War Atrocities: A Half-Century of Stonewalling the World


More than 50 years after the Japanese army attacked China with germ weapons and conducted gruesome experiments on thousands of human beings, Japan is resisting demands that it compensate the victims or make records of the atrocities public.

The Japanese government has declined to cooperate with efforts by the Justice Department to put the names of several hundred surviving veterans of the germ warfare operations on a list of suspected war criminals barred from entering the United States, U.S. officials say.

It has also rebuffed researchers seeking access to a vast archive of military documents in Tokyo that detail the World War II activities of the Japanese Imperial Army, including its chief biological warfare arm, known as Unit 731.

The American authorities seized the archive after World War II but returned it to Japan in 1958 after only a small number of documents were copied.

Japan's approach stands in contrast to that of Germany, which has paid about billion to war victims and their families. Private industries and banks in Germany and Switzerland plan to pay billions more.

Despite the refusal of the Japanese government to release information, new details are emerging about the scope of the biological program. Research by scholars, campaigns by the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles and the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of World War II in Asia, and a lawsuit in Japan by Chinese plaintiffs have unleashed a flood of new accounts that substantially expand the historical record.

The accounts have heightened tensions between Japan and its neighbors. They suggest that Japan's World War II germ attacks were even more widespread than first thought, stretching from Burma(now Myanmar), Thailand, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to Russia and Chinese cities and hamlets.

The death toll from Japan's biological warfare remains in dispute. Some scholars assert that severalhundred thousand people died, mostly in China. Others say the casualties were far lower. Scholars estimate that an additional 10,000 prisoners were killed in experiments, perhaps a dozen times the number who died at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele and other Nazi scientists.

Eli M. Rosenbaum, director of the Office of Special Investigations in the Justice Department, said the dispute between Tokyo and Washington over suspected war criminals has been quietly building for three years.

The Justice Department's worldwide list of war crimes suspects now includes the names of about 60,000 Germans and other Europeans, including Kurt Waldheim, the former U.N.secretary-general, president of Austria and wartime intelligence officer in Hitler's army.

By contrast, Rosenbaum said the United States had dates of birth and other identifying data on fewer than 100 suspected Japanese war criminals. The Justice Department has hundreds of names to add to the "watch list," but it cannot do so until Japan confirms basic information like dates of birth.

"For a friendly government to deny us access is astonishing, beyond the pale," Rosenbaum said.

"Most outrageous of all is that the Japanese government will not provide the dates of birth of war crimes suspects identified by OSI so that they can be barred from the United States. They won't even tell us if they will ever assist us."

A Japanese Embassy press spokesman in Washington, Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, said his government would have no comment because the issue concerned "the specifics of Japanese cooperation with the United States, which are of a diplomatic nature."

Little was publicly known about Japan's germ operations until the 1980s, when scholars published their first accounts. More recently, veterans of Unit 731 have been speaking publicly in Japan about their misdeeds, seeking expiation.

According to participants, victims and records, the unit mounted widespread germ attacks with anthrax, typhoid and other pathogens. Among other experiments, its doctors infected prisoners with disease germs, removed organs and blood and withheld water to collect data on how the human body copes with illness and deprivation. Many victims were then dissected alive.

Only one former member of the unit was ever turned away from entering the United States: Yushio Shinozuka, who arrived last summer to join a forum and publicly express anguish over having prepared victims for vivisection.

Rather than fading with time, diplomats and scholars say, sensitivities over the issue are becoming sharper as new generations re-examine wartime events, as they have with the Holocaust in Europe.

Complicating the issue is the complicity of American officials in shielding from prosecution top Japanese scientists who turned over their data to the United States, which was developing its own germ warfare program.

Among the questions that remain unresolved is whether doctors working with Unit 731 experimented on American prisoners of war.

"The cover-up continues," said Sheldon H. Harris, emeritus professor of history at California State University in Northridge and the author of "Factories of Death" (Routledge, 1994), an account of the Japanese germ warfare program and the American hunger for its secrets. The book is scheduled for publication in Japan this spring.

Harris said in an interview that while he had unearthed American translations of three Japanese autopsy reports comprising nearly 1,000 pages recounting wartime medical experiments on dead and living prisoners, 17 other reports were missing, along with some 8,000 photographic slides documenting the experiments.

The origins of Unit 731 go back to 1930 and the Tokyo laboratory of an ultranationalist surgeon and microbiologist, Shiro Ishii, who was later made a general. Within two years, after Japanese troops

overran Manchuria in northeast China, Ishii, using the cover of a sanitation unit, set up the first of several large biological warfare and human research centers in Ping Fan and other areas around Harbin, a heavily Russian city near the Soviet border.

Over the next decade, scholars and researchers say, the Japanese attacked hundreds of heavily populated communities and remote regions with germ bombs. Evidence of the attacks continues to emerge.

"There appears to have been a massive germ war campaign in Yunnan Province bordering Burma," said Daniel Barenblatt, a graduate psychologist and New York City researcher who has been assembling material for five years for a documentary with the film director David Irving, chairman of the undergraduate film and television department at New York University.

"They seem to have been killing ethnic minorities in a jungle campaign," Barenblatt said.

Many questions remain unanswered.

It is still not established, for example, whether American prisoners of war were among those experimented on. Some Americans have said they were sickened by contaminated feathers in their

food, and Japanese accounts tell of jars containing body parts labeled American among other nationalities.

Frank James, 77, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, ended up in 1942 at a Japanese prison camp in Mukden, Manchuria, where, he said, he became a 70-pound living skeleton.

"They gave us shots, sprays in the face," he recounted in a telephone interview from his home in Redwood City, Calif., where he is confined with diabetes and lung disease.

He said one of his jobs at Mukden was to retrieve for dissection frozen corpses that he was certain were American. "They opened them up so they could look into the lining of the stomach," he recalled. "The light pink icicles in the stomach weren't thawed."

A new hourlong documentary to be broadcast on Sunday on the History Channel, "Unit 731:

Nightmare in Manchuria," features interviews with several other surviving American war prisoners who say they were victimized by Japanese experiments.

But records of their debriefings by American officials remain unavailable. Harris, the author, said he applied for the records under the Freedom of Information Act several years ago and was told by the Veterans Administration that they had been destroyed in a fire in St. Louis.

After the war, American interest in prosecuting members of Unit 731 for war crimes faded fast.

While Germany was split in a four-power occupation, the United States had a largely free hand in rebuilding Japan and was forging close ties to the new government.

In addition, Harris said, American scientists were "salivating" over the chance to obtain the forbidden secrets of Japan's human experiments. The American authorities granted Ishii and his associates immunity from prosecution and in exchange received detailed information about the germ warfare program.

The Allies did prosecute 5,570 Japanese, none for biological warfare. Nine Japanese medical school professionals were convicted, and some executed, for vivisecting eight captured American fliers in 1945.

Toshimi Mizobuchi makes no secret of his years with Unit 731. A vigorous 76-year-old real estate manager living outside the Japanese city of Kobe, Mizobuchi is organizing this year's reunion for the several hundred surviving veterans of Unit 731. He says he did not take part in experiments on humans, though he knew of them and argues that they were justifiable.

In a recent interview at home near Kobe with Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center that was recorded and transcribed through an interpreter, Mizobuchi said he still regarded the victims of the experiments as "maruta," or logs.

"They were logs to me," said Mizobuchi, a training officer with the unit. "Logs were not considered to be human. They were either spies or conspirators." As such, he said, "they were already dead. So now they die a second time. We just executed a death sentence."

He said about 30 other veterans of the unit were living near him and that a reunion was held almost every year, drawing 40 or 50. Mizobuchi said he had never visited the American mainland. But in follow-up questions he said he had been to Hawaii twice for sightseeing.

"It's a stain on history," said Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, founded in 1977 in the name of the Viennese concentration camp survivor and Nazi-hunter to keep alive the memory of the genocide of the Jews and to campaign for tolerance and human rights.

Cooper said he had interviewed former germ war soldiers and others last month in Japan and planned to present Congress and the White House with evidence he had gathered.

"This blanket amnesty can't stand," he said.

Nearly 60 years later, Ada Pivo of Los Angeles is still looking for the truth about Unit 731's operations.

During the war, she said in an interview, she lived with her family in Harbin, where the unit made its headquarters. In 1940 her 17-year old sister, Leah, was one of two members of a Jewish youth group who contracted typhoid and died after an outing. Mrs. Pivo believes that her sister was infected by a bottle of lemonade spiked with bacteria by Japanese scientists.

It is known that food and drink and even children's sweets were sometimes laced with pathogens.

But without access to Japanese wartime records, it may never be possible to establish the link to a particular operation in Harbin.

Japan has long restricted access to military records, which were in the hands of the American authorities for nine years after the war.

The documents, first screened by the CIA, include hundreds of thousands of pages of War Ministry records from 1868 to 1942, Naval Ministry records from 1868 to 1939 and operational records of many units throughout the war.

In 1948 the CIA turned over the records to the National Archives, with no indication of what, if anything, had been removed. In 1957 the collection was ordered returned to Japan.

Concerned over the potential loss, a group of scholars including Edwin O. Reischauer of Harvard University and John Young of Georgetown University, obtained a Ford Foundation grant to hurriedly microfilm what they could.

In February 1958, after about 5 percent of the records were copied, Young recalled in an interview, the documents were sent to Baltimore and and loaded aboard a ship for Japan. "There was no way we could read them all," said Young, who deplored the loss.

In any case, Young, who assisted Allied war crimes investigators in China after the war, compiled a 144-page index to the pages that were microfilmed.

A microfilm set was presented to the National Diet Library in Tokyo, an irony, Young said, considering that Japan has now closed off the collection. "I can tell you frankly, the militarists felt relieved," Young said. "As a historian I couldn't stand it."

Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

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New York Times March 7, 1999: World War II Atrocities: Comparing the Unspeakable to the Unthinkable, By Ralph Blumenthal

" Though not approaching the systematic exterminations by the Nazis, the Japanese record of atrocities -- what victims call "the Asian Holocaust" -- is still producing revelations more than 50 years after the end of World War II. The delay illustrates the West's Eurocentric view of wartime suffering as well as striking differences in the willingness of the two former Axis allies to come to terms with their past. "

New York Times March 7, 1999

World War II Atrocities: Comparing the Unspeakable to the Unthinkable


Auschwitz. Dachau. Ping Fan. Changchun. In the shorthand of World War II atrocities, some names are more recognizable than others.

But while Nazi scientists like Josef Mengele conducted hideous experiments on concentration camp prisoners, their lesser-known Japanese counterparts, led by Gen. Shiro Ishii, were waging full-scale biological warfare and subjecting human beings to ghastly experiments of their own -- and on a far greater scale than the Germans.

"Imagine hundreds of Mengeles," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who has been calling on the Japanese to face up to their past as openly as the Germans have.

Ping Fan, built by Ishii, the mastermind of Japanese germ warfare and its infamous Unit 731, was a camp of plague-bearing fleas, rat cages and warrens for human guinea pigs. Changchun, 150 miles south, was another huge installation for germ tests on plants, animals and people.

Though not approaching the systematic exterminations by the Nazis, the Japanese record of atrocities -- what victims call "the Asian Holocaust" -- is still producing revelations more than 50 years after the end of World War II. The delay illustrates the West's Eurocentric view of wartime suffering as well as striking differences in the willingness of the two former Axis allies to come to terms with their past.

It has also thrown a harsh light on Cold War rivalries. As early as 1949, the Soviet Union convicted 12 Japanese for biological war crimes. Although the published transcript contained exhaustive details of Unit 731's crimes, the accounts were largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda. The Allies did, however, prosecute 5,570 Japanese, but none for biological warfare.

In the early 1980s, American and British scholars and journalists rediscovered the germ war issue, adding new details of U.S. involvement in covering up the crimes. The story has since taken on a new momentum and questions of the guilt of Emperor Hirohito persist. Justice Department officials, unfettered by the State Department, are complaining that the Japanese are refusing to provide data on suspected war criminals, who would be barred from entering the United States, just as 60,000 Germans and other Europeans are now.

At the same time, a 1997 Japanese lawsuit by Chinese seeks compensation for victims of Japan's germ warfare. Former members of Unit 731 have been confessing crimes. Chinese researchers say they keep uncovering new sites where anthrax, typhoid, plague and other diseases were spread, wiping out perhaps hundreds of thousands of Chinese. Another 10,000 or more Chinese, Russians and perhaps some U.S. prisoners of war as well, researchers say, were killed in ghoulish experiments.

Japanese officials insist they lack proof, although by other accounts they have sealed wartime archives returned to them by the U.S. authorities in the 1950s. With powerful right-wing and militaristic factions long opposed to confessions of wartime guilt, the Japanese publisher of a translation of "The Rape of Nanking," the 1997 best-seller by Iris Chang (Basic Books), postponed its publication.

For decades after the war, veterans of Unit 731 and other biological warfare detachments led Japanese medicine, say scholars like Sheldon H. Harris, emeritus professor of history at California State University at Northridge, and author of "Factories of Death" (Routledge, 1994), on the Japanese germ war program.

It was only in 1992 that the government officially acknowledged that the Japanese army forced several hundred thousand Korean women into prostitution in World War II, and it was only last year that a Japanese court ordered the government to pay ,300 each to three plaintiffs. By contrast, Germany, in its schools and the press, has dealt unflinchingly with its past and paid victims reparations now amounting to about billion, with private industry planning to pay billions more.

Japanese accountability for germ war atrocities got lost in the Cold War. With the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States competed to snare Ishii's data. The Americans won out, promising immunity from war-crimes prosecution.

Bob Dohini, a former lawyer on the U.S. prosecution team in Tokyo, said recently he had no idea that the crimes had included germ warfare. In December 1945, he said, he had carried a top-secret message to the U.S. authorities in Tokyo. "I assumed it had to do with the emperor, because soon after, I discovered we were not able to try him," he said.

He now calls the decision a big mistake, since revelations have pointed to the monarch's knowledge of germ warfare. "I don't think there is any question of the emperor's guilt," he said.

Link is dead. The MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:

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Following up some of Emp's links brought me up against 'The Rape of Nanking' for the first time.

Unspeakable horror.
Alexius said:
Following up some of Emp's links brought me up against 'The Rape of Nanking' for the first time.
Unspeakable horror.

Much of the Japanese behaviour during WWII was glossed over following the war, since we needed them as allies against the Soviets. I think that's the reason that horrors such as the rapes of Nanking and Manila are so little known in comparison to Nazi atrocities.

Iris Chang wrote an excellent history of the Rape of Nanking. http://www.irischang.net/books.cfm has details.
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Unit 731

Reminded by the thread on testing vaccines on 'unwanted' children I remembered unit 731 (Apologies if this has been posted before, I did search but :rolleyes: )

I wanted to watch a programme on this last week on the history channel but missed it so I've been doing my own research and I'm appalled that I've never heard of this before.

Biological testing on innocent humans in WW2, what can you say??? Seems like Mengele wasn't the only one.

Info here and here .

It's pretty gruelling stuff so really if you (like me) can't handle too much inhumanity it's best avoided. I hope there's a special place in hell for these people.
As if the tale were not appalling enough, I believe most of the leading figures were amnestied by the US on condition they contributed their research and expertise to the development of American weapons of mass destruction.

I also believe the veterans still hold annual reunions.
Re: Unit 731

Messalina said:
Apologies if this has been posted before, I did search but :rolleyes:

Its discussed here:

[Emp edit: I looked at a split and it just wouldn't have worked as things weave in and out of each other so I have merged the threads]

but I think it needs splitting up and it would be worth haivng a thread specifically for Unit 731. I'll have a try later.
Re: Unit 731

Messalina said:
Biological testing on innocent humans in WW2, what can you say??? Seems like Mengele wasn't the only one.
There is a chapter of Unit 731 in the book Plague wars by Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg. After the war Ishii was located by American investigators, keen to get hold of his knowledge. He wangled himself immunity and never had to face any consequences. To make things worse it was discovered that actually his "work" didn't even add to what the Americans already knew.:mad:
Men Behind the Sun

I stumbled across these four films that are a gorey fictional take on Unit 731 and the Rape of Nanking:

Men Behind the Sun / Hei tai yang 731
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000AQ ... enantmc-20
www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000 ... ntmagaz-21

MBtS 2:

MBtS 3:

MBtS 4 - although as they'd rather scraped the barrel with 3 (which sounds dreadful) this moves on and its alternate title sums it up better "Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre":

[edit: And an interesting thing are the horror stories people tell about the actual film:

1. That a real corpse is used in the pressure chamber sequence.
2. That a boy was bought and dissected live for the film.
3. That a live cat was thrown into a pit of rats.

The first two appear to be way off the mark it is more a testament to special effects and the human imagination in the first case and the use of a real body in the second case but number 3........]
I've only read of the films on the net, and viewed some stills - they appear appallingly exploitative, although they claim to have been made to highlight the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during its occupation of the mainland.

And then there are the ULs attached - did they really put a corpse in a pressure chamber? Was the dissection scene 'real'?

Has anybody actually seen the films?
Alexius said:
I've only read of the films on the net, and viewed some stills - they appear appallingly exploitative, although they claim to have been made to highlight the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during its occupation of the mainland.

And yet it might be better to actually watch a documentary about this - anyoen know if there is a good one?

Better yet read a book!! There are quite a few on this:


There looks to be a good one just out:

A Plague upon Humanity : The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan's Germ Warfare Operation
by Daniel Barenblatt (2004)
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060186 ... enantmc-20
www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/00601 ... ntmagaz-21

Alexius said:
And then there are the ULs attached - did they really put a corpse in a pressure chamber? Was the dissection scene 'real'?[/quoe]

Just from a quick read round it appears:

1. The presure chamber scene was done with a large man blowing animal intestines down a tube coming up through the floor of the chamber.

2. A boy died nearby who liked very similar to the actor so they filmed his autopsy.

Alexius said:
Has anybody actually seen the films?

I'm still asking myself why I should bother really ;)
Alexius said:
Has anybody actually seen the films?

Yeah, i've seen MbtS 1 and the 4th one, the Nanking Massacre.

From what i've heard numbers 2&3 are like the "Evil dead 2" - same story but with slightly higher production values.

As for Men behind the Sun 1, ghaa, i don't know. I like shlock horror movies, HK exploitation flicks and the like so i wasn't totally appalled by what i saw. Some of the special effects are incredible, the prosthetic work and puppetry is superb. But the director did use cadavers (with permission from their families) for the pressure chamber and "vivisection" scenses (in reality there was a fake heart, complete with foot pump attachment, inserted into the boy's chest cavity to make it look like it was still beating) and i think many people would have a problem with that.

And then you've got the cat / rat sequence which goes on for far, far too long. And is obviously as real as can be. It's actually the only bit of the movie i fast-forwarded through.

Men behind the Sun 4 is a different kettle of fish in that the action and gore is much reduced (as someone on the imdb board points out - you become de-sensitised to the movie's effects after the 100th wave of civilians are mown down by Jap machine guns), and the acting actually not bad. The baby-bayoneted-from-expectant-mother's-womb is much touted by reviewers, but from what i can remember that's the one instance of *extreme* violence in the whole movie, and it's not a particularly well-framed sequence anyway.
I've seen Men Behind The Sun (I had read about, and I got it from a friend who dealt in rare and obscure movies, who got it from a friend who worked in Chinatown).

It's pretty grim stuff - I got rid of it years ago, as it's not the sort of thing you would want to watch more than once.

The bit I found hardest to watch was the woman put in stocks outside in the snow. A soldier brought out her baby, dumped it in the snow and stomped on it.

I actually had to turn it off after that, and go outside for a while. It took me about a week to return to it after that.

I knew it wasn't going to be a laugh-riot going in, but the film stayed with me for a while afterward.
TMS said:
Alexius said:
Has anybody actually seen the films?

Yeah, i've seen MbtS 1 and the 4th one, the Nanking Massacre.

From what i've heard numbers 2&3 are like the "Evil dead 2" - same story but with slightly higher production values.

I had read somewhere that MbtS 2 & 3 aren't really part of the series but were done to cash in on the success of the first film cobbling together a story connected to the real events so they could throw in some grim stuff. I was checking the director of another film found out he was also the director of MbtS 2 & 3 and lo and behold who is he - the infamous Godfrey Ho:


He has come up in discussion here before due to his jumping on the ninja bandwagon in the 70s and 80s with his "just add ninja" formula of splicing Hong Kong films with footage of pasty Americans running around in daft ninja costumes as discussed here:

www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.ph ... 381#441381

He was churning out a ninja film a month some years (I think his best has 17 in 1987!!).

Seems he was jumping on another bandwagon again.
... the story behind Unit 731, the Imperial Japanese Army's biological warfare unit is horrifically fascinating. To those who haven't already heard about what went on there between 1935 and 1945, I suggest reading up on it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731


Years ago I saw a film based on the events which is called Men Behind the Sun (1988), was powerful yet at the same time quite tedious.

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You should probably add a warning to posts if you're linking to something like Men Behind the Sun!
A dark episode in Japanese military history which l’ve only just heard about:

Golden Bat (cigarette)

Golden Bat (Or Kinshi as it was known from 1940 to May 1949) is a Japanese filterless brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by Japan Tobacco.


The brand was launched in 1906. The background of using a bat as the brand, at first exported to China, in which a bat symbolized good luck, was being planned.

As part of the plans for the exploitation of China, during the 1930s and 1940s the subsidiary tobacco industry of Mitsui had started production of special "Golden Bat" cigarettes using the then-popular in the Far East trademark. Their circulation was prohibited in Japan and was used only for export.

Local Japanese secret service under the controversial Imperial Japanese Army general Kenji Doihara, had control of their distribution in China and Manchuria, where the production was exported. In their mouthpieces, there were hidden small doses of opium or heroin and by this, millions of unsuspecting consumers were addicted into these narcotics, while creating huge profits.

Mastermind of the plan, Doihara was later prosecuted and convicted for war crimes before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentenced him to death, but no actions ever took place against the company which profited from their production.

According to a testimony presented at the Tokyo war crimes trials in 1948, the revenue from the narcotization policy in China, including Manchukuo, was estimated to be 20 to 30 million yen per year, while another authority stated that the annual revenue was estimated by the Japanese military at 300 million dollars a year.


maximus otter
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Chinese archaeologists uncover World War II ‘horror bunker’ where Japanese scientists conducted lethal human experiments and shared data with US

Archaeologists have located an underground research facility where Japanese military scientists conducted “horrific biological weapon experiments” on human subjects during WW2 in northeast China.


The facility, near the city of Anda in Heilongjiang province, was the largest and most frequently used test site for the Japanese Imperial Army’s notorious Unit 731 that carried out some of the most brutal human experiments in history between 1935 and 1945.

Historical records show Unit 731’s experiments at the Anda site included infecting prisoners with deadly diseases and testing new biological weapons. Some of the most gruesome studies were conducted in underground bunkers designed to contain and control the spread of infectious agents.

The archaeologists, who are yet to enter the bunkers, started their investigation in 2019 using various techniques including geophysical prospecting, drilling and excavation.

The survey revealed an underground facility consisting of interconnected tunnels and chambers with complex functions and purposes.

It is here the archaeologists believe human subjects were brought for observation and dissection after they were infected with disease or exposed to chemical agents. While not very big, the rooms are large enough to suggest the cluster was a laboratory.

[Experiments] are known to have included the dissection of living subjects, frostbite and syphilis testing, as well as exposing victims to deadly diseases. The unit’s researchers developed ways to weaponise bubonic plague, anthrax, cholera and typhoid fever.


maximus otter

Archaeologists have located an underground research facility where Japanese military scientists conducted “horrific biological weapon experiments” on human subjects during WW2 in northeast China.

Historical records show Unit 731’s experiments at the Anda site included infecting prisoners with deadly diseases and testing new biological weapons. Some of the most gruesome studies were conducted in underground bunkers designed to contain and control the spread of infectious agents.
And now, after giving the infectious bioweapon agents 70 years to mutate and escape the unmaintained bunkers, we're going in...
And now, after giving the infectious bioweapon agents 70 years to mutate and escape the unmaintained bunkers, we're going in...
Wasn't there a whole series of films with a plot similar to that?