Names, in­for­ma­tion of Unit 731 dis­closed

China Daily - - WORLD -

TOKYO — The names of 3,607 mem­bers of the Im­pe­rial Ja­panese Army’s clan­des­tine Unit 731, known for con­duct­ing heinous live germ and chem­i­cal war­fare ex­per­i­ments on thou­sands of Chi­nese vic­tims, have been dis­closed by the Na­tional Archives of Japan, a re­search pro­fes­sor said on Mon­day.

“It is the first time that al­most all the real names of the unit’s mem­bers have been un­veiled. We will post them on the web­site so they can be uti­lized for re­search,” Kat­suo Nishiyama, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of Shiga Uni­ver­sity of Med­i­cal Sci­ence, told a press brief­ing on the mat­ter on Mon­day.

The names of those work­ing at the head­quar­ters of the no­to­ri­ous unit, as well as their ranks and other in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing their ad­dresses and fam­ily mem­bers, are dis­closed on the list, which is dated Jan 1, 1945.

The list cov­ers 52 sur­geons, 49 en­gi­neers, 38 nurses and 1,117 com­bat medics op­er­at­ing out of the head­quar­ters of the unit, de­cep­tively dubbed the Epi­demic Preven­tion and Wa­ter Pu­rifi­ca­tion Depart­ment of the Kwan­tung Army.

Unit 731 of the IJA was based in the Ping­fang district of Harbin, the largest city then in north­east China.

The unit was set up at around 1936 and con­ducted vivi­sec­tion ex­per­i­ments on live hu­mans to test germ-re­leas­ing bombs and chem­i­cal bombs among other crim­i­nal atroc­i­ties.

The unit be­came Japan’s top-se­cret bi­o­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare re­search base and oper­ated as the nerve cen­ter of Ja­panese bi­o­log­i­cal war­fare in China and South­east Asia dur­ing World War II.

Bi­o­log­i­cal weapons

At least 3,000 peo­ple were used for hu­man ex­per­i­men­ta­tion by Unit 731 along with a small per­cent­age of Sovi­ets, Mon­go­lians, Kore­ans, and sol­diers of the Al­lied Forces taken captive. Some of those who were bru­tally killed were just chil­dren.

More than 300,000 peo­ple across China were killed by Japan’s bi­o­log­i­cal weapons dur­ing World War II.

The Ja­panese gov­ern­ment de­nied the ex­is­tence of the unit un­til 1998, when the Supreme Court in­di­rectly ac­knowl­edged it by rul­ing there was an aca­demic con­sen­sus that Unit 731 ex­isted.

The first list con­tain­ing de­tails of Unit 731’s war crim­i­nals was re­leased in Japan af­ter a re­quest in 2015, but in­for­ma­tion on the unit’s par­tic­i­pants was heav­ily redacted.

A de­clas­si­fied list re­leased in Jan­uary still ob­scured some of the in­for­ma­tion of the unit’s per­son­nel.

The no­to­ri­ous Unit 731 man­aged to keep its atroc­i­ties largely con­cealed due to the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East not prose­cut­ing the unit’s com­man­ders un­der con­di­tion they handed over the germ war­fare data to the United States.

Right-wing forces here have also, since the unit’s abom­inable crimes com­mit­ted be­fore and dur­ing World War II, at­tempted to se­quester the facts of the unit, go­ing as far as deny­ing its ac­tual ex­is­tence.

SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Chi­nese vic­tims of Japan’s World War II germ war­fare pro­gram by Unit 731, Zhang Lizhong (left) and Wang Jin­hua, show a fam­ily por­trait dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Tokyo on July 20, 2005.

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