Germ warfare. The secrets of Unit 731 - 27 August, 2002 - News

The atrocities by Japanese soldiers were some of the worst of the war

Over a hundred Chinese people filed a lawsuit in a Japanese court five years ago. They wanted to be acknowledged as victims of the biological war that Japan was waging in China during World War II. The trial ended recently. The court refused to accept the claims.

Yet, as the BBC informed, the judges acknowledged the fact of the use of biological weapons. This concerns Japan’s infamous Unit 731.

The Japanese army was the first in history to use biological weapons. This warfare was presumably conducted in the northeast of China. Bacteria killed thousands of Chinese and cattle. There were three methods in this germ warfare: dispersing bacteria with shells and mines, dropping infected bombs from planes, and infecting residential areas, water, and pastures.

Unit 731 was in charge of germ warfare. The unit was commanded by medical service Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii. He used to say that the most interesting thing about germ warfare is its high efficiency. Metal bullets were not at all harmful. They could kill only certain objects on a certain territory. Bacteria are capable of causing a growing kind of damage, when they spread from one area to another. Germs cause a very high death rate. People can hardly recover after a biological attack. Another peculiarity of biological warfare, as Shiro Ishii thought, was the fact of its profitability to Japan. The country was not rich with mineral resources. Germs did not require a lot of research, experiments, or expensive equipment. Furthermore, all those works could be performed under the disguise of medical tests.

Unit 731 had more than two thousand soldiers by 1945. According to eyewitnesses, people were extremely horrified with just a rumor of a group from Unit 731 coming to their village.

The victims of germ warfare demanded that the Japanese government pay $84 thousand to each of the plaintiffs. However, the judges actually shared the point of view of the Japanese government: “let the past stay in the past.”

It is worth mentioning that the German government agreed to pay compensations to the victims of National Socialism, although the government had nothing to do with Hitler’s crimes. It deems that Tokyo is not ready to follow the example of the German authorities. As a matter of fact, there is the impression that Japan does not feel ready to acknowledge its responsibility for unleashing the WWII, as well as for the crimes that the Japanese troops committed on the occupied territories. Furthermore, the war against China was conducted since the beginning of the 1930s. It should also be said that not one soldier of Unit 731 soldiers has been convicted of any crimes.

Apparently, Japanese courts will keep on dismissing such suits in the future. The latest occasion is not the only one of its kind. As the BBC said, the courts have repeatedly dismissed other such suits. The Plaintiffs were asking paybacks for working like slaves or prostitutes for the Japanese.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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