When China was attacked by Japanese Bioweapons

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A badly burned baby cries amidst the wreckage of Nanking, 1937

[ Editor’s note: Last year, one delusional researcher disgraced himself by claiming that the Rape of Nanking never happened, after allowing himself to be duped by neo-Nationalist Japanese academics.

Yes, the Japanese Army did rape Nanking; they slaughtered hundreds of thousands with sword and bayonet, including playing a sick ‘game’ of tossing babies in the air and catching them by impaling them on their bayonets.

Japanese soldier beheads Chinese civilian during the Rape of Nanking, 1937

However, by far the worst crime against humanity the Japanese committed during their brutal, genocidal war against China from 1932 until 1945 was the dropping of bioweapons onto Chinese cities. Often they dropped children’s toys infected with goodies like the bubonic plague and cholera.

We must never forget these terrible crimes, never allow delusional researchers desperate to make a name for themselves by uncovering great conspiracies where there are none to be found to cloud our knowledge of past atrocities.

The simple reason is that, to paraphrase Georges Santayana: those who ignore history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Ian ]


Japan Said To Drop Plague Fleas on China in WWII

by MARI YAMAGUCHI

January 14, 1993

TOKYO (AP) _ Documents found in China describe how Japanese planes dropped plague- carrying fleas as part of a germ-warfare campaign that killed hundreds of people in eastern China in the 1940s, a Japanese teacher said Wednesday.

According to the documents, more than 400 Chinese died of the plague after fleas and other contaminated objects were dropped, said Masataka Mori, who teaches social studies in a junior high school in central Japan.

In a telephone interview, Mori said he uncovered the documents at a government archives in Ningbo, a port about 90 miles south of Shanghai, while conducting research for a film on Japanese germ warfare.

Historians and former members of a Japanese secret army unit have said the unit, based in northeast China, injected war prisoners with typhus, cholera and other diseases as part of germ warfare research.

The government has never acknowledged waging germ warfare in World War II, saying records no longer exist to confirm the reports.

But Mori said one Chinese document reports more than 300 Chinese died of the plague in Yiwu, a small village about 160 miles southwest of Shanghai, in March 1942 after a Japanese plane dropped plague-carrying fleas.

Previously, only some casualties among Japanese soldiers camped nearby had been known.

Mori said a 1963 research paper by a Chinese physician, who examined the victims before they died, described 103 Ningbo residents dying of the plague three days after a Japanese airplane flew over the city on Oct. 27, 1940, releasing wheat, corn and rags that had been injected with plague germs.

Other documents showed 200 houses in Ningbo had been burned by December 1940 to prevent the disease from spreading, he said.

Mori and other historians say the flea operation was conducted as a joint project by Unit 1644 based in Nanking and Unit 731, which operated in Harbin. Unit 731 also reportedly induced gangrene, performed vivisections and froze prisoners to death in endurance tests.

In 1949, former members of Unit 1644 testified that the unit had produced plague-carrying fleas.

Asian nations accuse Japan of playing down or denying atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers during the war. The government never denied the existence of Unit 731, but never acknowledged the nature of its experiments.


Japan ‘bombed city with plague’

by Jonathan Watts in Tokyo

Thu 25 Jan 2001 02.44 GMT

A Tokyo court heard yesterday that the Japanese army dumped fleas infected with bubonic plague on a Chinese city in 1940, in a deadly trial of germ warfare.

The claim was made by a Chinese scientist in a case against the Japanese government brought by 180 relatives of those who were killed in experiments carried out by the imperial army’s notorious Unit 731 during the second world war.

Huang Ketai, a bacteriologist, said at least 109 people were killed in an outbreak of plague in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, in November and December 1940.

Just a few days before the onset of the disease, several people saw Japanese planes drop fleas and grain over houses in the city, leading him to conclude that the population was being used as a guinea pig for a deadly pathogen.

“It is very clear that the outbreak was caused deliberately,” he said in response to questions from the three judges hear the case, which is nearing the end after more than four years.

“The timing and geographical spread of the disease all point to the conclusion that its origin was the cargo dumped by the planes.”

Ningbo was no stranger to the plague, which at the time struck north-east China every few years.

But Dr Huang, the first scientist to give evidence in the case, said there were several differences in the 1940 outbreak: it came in winter rather than summer, killed humans but few rats, and was carried by a flea that was not native to the region. It was also unusual in the the rapid rate at which the outbreak spread, the number of lives it claimed and its short duration.

“This was a particularly virulent form of the plague that could only have been created artificially by Unit 731,” he told the court.

According to the plaintiffs’ case, Unit 731 killed at least 2,100 – mostly Chinese – people in an attempt to develop a biological weapon that could win the war for Japan.

Witnesses have said that the effects of the unit’s germ warfare experiments are still being felt in China, because the germ bombs released pathogens which continue to return.

As well as the psychological fear of a fresh outbreak of disease, people in north-east China have to bear the cost of razing properties suspected of being infected.

For years after the war, the activities of Unit 731 remained veiled in secrecy. According to academics, its actions were barely covered in the proceedings of the Tokyo war crimes tribunal because the United States wanted to use the results on live subjects.

Recently, after a series of confessions by veterans, the Japanese government acknowledged the unit’s existence. But it still refuses to reveal the scope of the scientists’ activities.

Government lawyers maintained this policy of silence in the courtroom yesterday, not challenging, not challenge a single word of the claims made by Dr Huang and two other Chinese academics.

“I suspect they will seek to have the case overturned on a legal technicality rather than try to dispute the facts,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Tsuchiya Kohken, said.
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“That’s because the facts are indisputable.”

The verdict is expected in early summer.


During World War II Japan “bombed” China with fleas infected with Bubonic plague

Oct 15, 2016 Goran Blazeski

During WWII, the Japanese army had a secret biological warfare research unit in Manchuria called Unit 731. Unit 731 was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japan. General Shiro Ishii was the lead physician of Unit 731.

Biological Warfare was banned by the Geneva protocol of 1925, and General Shiro Ishii thought that since it was banned, it must be effective. Unit 731 conducted a series of cruel experiments in order to test how the human body reacts when subjected to harsh conditions, poisonous substances, and lethal diseases.

Unit 731 was housed in a gigantic complex in Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, covering six square kilometers and consisted of more than 150 buildings, surrounded by a wall and high voltage wires, with living quarters and amenities for up to 3,000 Japanese staff members, 300-500 of whom were medical doctors and scientists.

The Japanese had 4,500 containers for raising fleas, six giant cauldrons to produce various chemicals, and around 1,800 containers to produce biological agents in the complex. Many bacterial diseases were studied to determine their warfare potential, including plague, anthrax, dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, cholera, in addition to many others. Insects, new drugs, chemical toxins, and frostbite were also studied.

Unit 731 had a bacterial production area that was designed to produce large quantities of bacteria for eventual use as biological weapons. To test the bacteria they deliberately infected and vivisected human subjects. They used live patients but no anesthesia, thinking that otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to obtain accurate information on what was happening to the human body.

They also researched how to protect themselves against the disease, which means that their biological weapons program was strong offensively and defensively.

General Ishii turned his attention to the plague bacterium as a candidate for a biological weapon since its casualties were higher than other diseases. So he constructed a clay bomb filled with oxygen and plague-infected fleas that could be dropped from aircraft at a height of 200-300 meters without leaving a trace. Each bomb contained 30,000 fleas.

On October 4, 1940, the Japanese dropped plague-infected fleas over Quzhou, a small town in western Zhejiang Province. In just one year more than 2,000 people in Quzhou died from this plague. The next year, a railway worker brought the plague from Quzhou to the city of Yiwu and more that 1,000 people in Yiwu died from this plague within a year.

In 1942 the Japanese also made a series of anthrax and glanders attacks on many villages in the Jinhua area of Zhejiang Province and around 6,000 inhabitants of Jinhua were infected by bacteria from biological weapons. More than 3,000 people died after they got infected.

For over 13 years, the Japanese performed experiments in the Unit 731 Complex. Their activities were ended in 1945 when Russia invaded Manchuria in August. Unit 731 was burned and all evidence were destroyed. General Shiro Ishii and the other workers were never punished for their war crimes.

Experiments

Unit 731 and Unit 100 were the two biological warfare research centres set up in spite of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 banning biological and chemical warfare.

Led by Lieutenant-General Ishii Shiro, 3,000 Japanese researchers working at Unit 731’s headquarters in Harbin infected live human beings with diseases such as the plague and anthrax and then eviscerated them without anesthesia to see how the diseases infected human organs.

Because of the Unit’s secret nature, there is no complete list of the experiments that were undertaken by Unit 731.

Testimonies from participants shed some light about parts of the experiments.

An anonymous medical assistant described in a 1995 New York Times interview his first vivisection:

“The fellow knew that it was over for him, and so he didn’t struggle when they led him into the room and tied him down.

But when I picked up the scalpel, that’s when he began screaming.

I cut him open from the chest to the stomach, and he screamed terribly, and his face was all twisted in agony. He made this unimaginable sound, he was screaming so horribly. But then finally he stopped.

This was all in a day’s work for the surgeons, but it really left an impression on me because it was my first time.”

But the Unit was not only infamous for its vivisections.

Some prisoners sent to Unit 731 were taken outside and tied to stakes. The Japanese would then test new biological weapons such as plague cultures or bombs filled with plague-infested fleas on them.

Other studies involved exposing human guinea pigs, called ‘logs’ by the Japanese scientists, to their limits. Humans were locked inside pressure chambers to test how much the body could take before their eyes popped out.

Some human test subjects were taken outside during the harsh winter until their limbs froze off for the doctors to experiment how best to treat frostbite.

Since the Japanese army used poison gas during the war, one of the Unit 731’s mission was to develop a more potent poison gas, thus prisoners were subjected to poisoning.

In 1984, a graduate student at Keio Medical University in Tokyo found records of human experiments in a bookstore.

The pages described the effects of massive dosages of tetanus vaccine. There were tables describing the length of time it took victims to die and recorded the muscle spasms in their bodies.

At least 3,000 people, not just Chinese but also Russians, Mongolians and Koreans, died from the experiments performed by Unit 731 between 1939 and 1945. No prisoner came out alive of the Unit’s gates.

During the war, the Japanese Imperial Army used biological weapons developed and manufactured by Unit 731’s laboratory in Harbin throughout China, killing or injuring an estimated 300,000 people.


Pure Evil: Wartime Japanese Doctor Had No Regard for Human Suffering

May 28, 2014
Pure Evil: Wartime Japanese Doctor Had No Regard for Human Suffering

Dr. Ishii studied medicine at Kyoto Imperial University in Japan and was a microbiologist by trade. He spent his professional career as a medical officer in the Imperial Japanese Army, beginning as a surgeon in 1921, and by 1945, reaching the position of surgeon general. To attain that pinnacle, Ishii left behind a trail of human blood, body parts, and entrails and committed horrifyingly wicked inhumane acts along the way to reach the top echelon of military medicine in Japan.

Early in his career, Ishii extensively researched the effects of biological and chemical warfare that took place during World War I. He was obsessed with building upon this base of knowledge, and the Japanese army obliged. Ishii’s military medical career began to blossom in 1932 when he was chosen to head up the biological warfare division. His mission was to conduct covert experiments on human test subjects at a secret prison camp.

In 1936, some escapees spread the word of Ishii’s crimes against humanity and the Japanese were forced to destroy the camp. They subsequently moved their medical testing operations to Pingfang, an area outside the city of Harbin, China, and again appointed Ishii as director. Funded by the Japanese government, Ishii had more than 150 buildings constructed across a huge compound covering over 2 square miles and able to house up to 400 prisoners.

This prison camp was known as Unit 731. Its operations were conducted under the guise of its official name: the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army of Japan, which was supposed to be researching contagious diseases and water supplies.

A Killing Field

From 1942 through 1945, Dr. Ishii unleashed a barrage of the most shockingly cruel experiments perpetrated on human beings the civilized world has ever known. Ishii thought up many hideous medical experiments spontaneously. All atrocities were in the name of medical research meant to defeat Japan’s wartime enemies, as the effects of Ishii’s torture were studied and recorded.

Chinese prisoners of war were not the only test subjects imprisoned at Unit 731. Ishii wanted a wider cross section of human guinea pigs, so he had the Kempeitai military police round up imprisoned criminals from surrounding areas, anti-Japanese political prisoners, as well as people determined to be conducting “suspicious activities,” which just happened to include men, women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and even infants. The Kempeitai arrested thousands of victims and delivered them to Unit 731. Ishii showed no mercy and did not discriminate, experimenting on every single one of his captives.

Unit 731 had a freezer that could be set to 50°F below zero. Hands and arms were frozen to create frostbite; some frozen limbs were thawed to study the rotting of human flesh. Other victims were dehydrated to the point of death.

Prisoners were shot in the stomach so that Japanese surgeons could practice removing bullets. Legs and arms were amputated without administering anesthesia. People were injected with seawater to determine if it could be used as a substitute for saline solution. Parts of livers were removed to determine how long one could live with only a partial organ.

To study blood loss, some had their limbs amputated. Sometimes researchers would reattach body parts in novel ways. For example, a stomach would be surgically removed, and then the esophagus would be attached directly to the intestines.

To determine the length of time until death, subjects were placed into high-pressure chambers, placed into centrifuges and spun to death, deprived of food and water, or exposed to lethal doses of x-rays. To determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and length of survival, prisoners were torched with flame throwers or exposed to phosphorus or chloride gas. Some were injected with animal blood. Some were buried alive.

Viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens were created in the laboratory at Unit 731 so that prisoners could be injected with bubonic plague, anthrax, cholera, gangrene, typhoid, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, dysentery, smallpox, and botulism; the victims were told the injections were vaccinations. Vivisections were performed on the infected prisoners without administering anesthesia. These experiments were conducted while the prisoners were still alive because it was thought that decomposing flesh would skew results.

To test the effects of shrapnel, prisoners were chained to stakes in open fields and grenades were exploded at varying distances from the victims. Other mind-boggling experiments included forced spontaneous abortions, heart attack and stroke simulations, and forced hypothermia. To test the effects of bombs containing bubonic plague and other aforementioned diseases, similar tactics were used. Researchers wearing protective suits would walk the killing field and examine the dying victims.

Battlefield Testing

Also beginning in 1942, Unit 731 developed dispersion techniques for germ warfare via bio-warfare weapons, which were operationally tested on civilians in Chinese cities. Bio-warfare weapons containing bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax, and other deadly diseases were dropped by low-flying airplanes on innocent residents of these cities.

In addition, Unit 731 bred plague-infested fleas in their labs and devised “flea bombs” and other devices designed to spread germs and parasites, which were dropped on Chinese military personnel and civilians throughout World War II. In addition, Ishii had water sources contaminated and crops infected. He poisoned food and candy and distributed them to unsuspecting victims who were living in poverty and welcomed what they thought was kindness from Japanese soldiers; after consumption, victims were then examined.

Death toll estimates from the deadly pathogens released under Ishii’s orders, which caused epidemics, range from 200,000 to 580,000; most of the dead were Chinese. Estimates of the total number of men, women, children, and infants who were tortured and slaughtered at Unit 731 are between 3000 and 12,000.

Nearly 30% of those who died at Unit 731 were captured Soviet soldiers. Other unfortunates included Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders. It’s estimated that close to 200 American and British allies also perished at the death camp.

“How Many Logs Fell Today?”

At Unit 731, the diabolical doctor referred to his victims as “logs” because after he tortured them to death with his hideous medical tests, he had their bodies burned to ashes. Throughout his reign of horror, Ishii was praised by the Japanese government and even was decorated with the coveted Order of the Golden Kite.

The Living Hell Ends but Not Without Dr. Ishii’s Final Acts of Terror and Devastation

On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito surrendered unconditionally, which ended Japan’s involvement in World War II as well as the war with the Chinese. Immediately after surrender, the Japanese demolished Unit 731 in order to erase all evidence and memory of the atrocities committed at the despicable death camp. Ishii ordered the remaining 150 subjects to be executed. Bodies and body parts were buried.

Inexplicably, as the camp was being demolished, the Japanese released thousands of plague-infested rats into the surrounding provinces. In addition, the Japanese released millions upon millions of plague-infested fleas into the area. As a result, an additional 20,000 to 30,000 Chinese died from plague and other diseases over the following 3 years.

Realizing he would be prosecuted for war crimes, Dr. Ishii faked his own death and went into hiding to evade justice. He was found in 1946 and turned over to American occupation forces for interrogation.

The US was desperate not to have Ishii’s knowledge of biological weapons fall into the hands of Russia, including the results of his myriad medical experiments on humans. The US also wanted to supplement its own germ warfare program knowledge base with the results of the biological warfare experiments conducted at Unit 731.

After his capture, Dr. Ishii offered to reveal details of the experiments conducted at Unit 731 in exchange for immunity from all of the war crimes he committed. The US agreed to the plea bargain, which also included immunity for top-level members of Ishii’s medical research team.

In addition to the promise of not being prosecuted for war crimes, these researchers were enticed with money and other gifts from the US to share what was learned at Unit 731. Dr. Shiro Ishii was never punished for his crimes; he succumbed to throat cancer in 1960 at the age of 67.

Many of Dr. Ishii’s staff (dubbed the Devil’s Doctors) went on to obtain high-profile and influential careers in politics, medicine, and business. They took on leadership roles at such institutions as the Japanese Medical Association, National Institute for Health, and National Cancer Center; others secured high-level positions at pharmaceutical companies.

The immunity deal granted to Dr. Ishii and members of his senior medical staff was kept secret from the public for years (with the assistance of the British government), until details of the atrocities finally appeared in the media in the 1980s.

In 2001, a documentary titled Japanese Devils was released that was created from first-hand accounts of the death camp by members of Unit 731 who had been taken prisoner by the Chinese and later released. To this day, Japan denies what happened at Unit 731, explaining that many of the accounts were exaggerated or did not take place at all.

Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science Heads West

In Japan the US Army put on its payroll Dr. Shiro Ishii, the head of the Japanese Imperial Army’s biowarfare unit.

Dr. Ishii had deployed a wide range of biological and chemical agents against Chinese and Allied troops, and had also operated a large research center in Manchuria, where he conducted bio-weapons experiments on Chinese, Russian and American prisoners of war. Ishii infected prisoners with tetanus; gave them typhoid-laced tomatoes; developed plague-infected fleas; infected women with syphilis; and exploded germ bombs over dozens of POWs tied to stakes.

Among other atrocities, Ishii’s records show that he often performed “autopsies” on live victims. In a deal hatched by General Douglas MacArthur, Ishii turned over more than 10,000 pages of his “research findings” to the US Army, avoided prosecution for war crimes, and was invited to lecture at Ft. Detrick, the US Army bio-weapons research center near Frederick, Maryland.

Author Details
Ian Greenhalgh is a photographer and historian with a particular interest in military history and the real causes of conflicts.

His studies in history and background in the media industry have given him a keen insight into the use of mass media as a creator of conflict in the modern world.

His favored areas of study include state-sponsored terrorism, media manufactured reality and the role of intelligence services in manipulation of populations and the perception of events.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Of course, this is a very terrible page of the Second world war. I first read about this unit 731 about 12 years ago. What these Japanese bastards were doing “in the name of medicine and science” was terrible. The saddest thing is that the main criminals escaped punishment. But for such crimes, the entire country had to be punished. Yes, I write everything correctly – the whole country. It’s about a perverse Japanese mentality and a kind of sick philosophy. How much grief and suffering they brought to the Chinese and neighboring countries. I am glad that Marshal Zhukov has shredded the million-strong Japanese army of Kwantung in a month. I wonder what the USSR and China had planned for Japan if the Americans had not burned 2 cities in atomic flames. I must look in the literature. And if the British had a strong dislike for German and Japanese war criminals, the United States welcomed all military scoundrels and criminals. Thanks for the article, Ian!
    I am well aware of these events, but we must always remember such world crimes.