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Japan excavating site linked to WWII human experiments by Unit 731

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Japan is trying to come clean after 60+ years?

Wonderful.

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Toyo Ishii, now 88, broke 60 years of silence in 2006

I've got mixed feelings about this. What are her motives for waiting so long? It's good that she (unlike the rest of her scumbag colleagues) is speaking, but speaking earlier would have shown a lot more sympathy and respect for her tortured victims.

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The 1989 find revealed dozens of fragmented thigh bones and skulls, some with holes drilled in them or sections cut out. Police denied there was any evidence of criminal activity.

Hmmm, do I detect a cover up perhaps?

The ministry concluded that ... the remains were mostly of non-Japanese Asians and were likely from bodies used in “medical education” or brought back from the war zone for analysis at the medical school.

Yes, I think I do.

I don't blame them for trying to find evidence that these remains were not from 731, but it seems they're using even the facts that make it obvious they were from 731 to somehow prove that 731 wasn't involved. I must say that on the face of this article (which, unfortunately, is not fully comprehensive nor legally binding,) it looks like one massive cover-up, and I can only expect more of the same from this new exhumation.

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Despicable and Evil. I hope the people that did that rot in Hell. She shall never be forgiven.

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I've got mixed feelings about this. What are her motives for waiting so long? It's good that she (unlike the rest of her scumbag colleagues) is speaking, but speaking earlier would have shown a lot more sympathy and respect for her tortured victims.

Perhaps she's been under threat not to reveal anything and those who issued the threat are now dead? Or perhaps the guilt has become to much and she'd like some solace before she dies?

Any way, later is better than never I suppose. It's not like Japan is the only country trying to deny such facts. As long as the investigation doesn't turn into one big cover up again.

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Perhaps she's been under threat not to reveal anything and those who issued the threat are now dead?

Given that the people responsible for unit 731 were given immunity by the Americans in exchange for their data, that's pretty likely.

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mushroomcloud at 07:09 AM JST - 21st February Japan is trying to come clean after 60+ years?

Come clean? you didn't know about Unit 731 till now?

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A number of ex-731 members have confessed to their activities as they were close to dying, in the hope of obtaining some form of forgiveness/ absolution. The author Rumiko Nishino held meetings around Japan where many came forth and spoke of what they had done; the bizarre surgical experiments, live autopsies, and the rest. Many are documented in her book. There is a unique memorial in a park near Kokubunji, in West Tokyo, where they meet each year.

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Great news (if that's the right term). I hope everything gets laid bare for all Japanese to see what the rest of the world has known for 60 years.

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There is nothing shadowy about 731. What it did was well known and there is a lot of material published about it in Japanese (the Japanese Wikipedia article on 731部隊 runs several pages with many references). Access of information was complicated by the US trying to keep the "research" from falling into the hands of the Soviets. In fact, in a deal with the US, all but one of the 731 researchers were pardoned from the Tokyo Tribunal in exchange for receiving all the "research" to keep it out of Russian hands. So ask the US where the material is. And yes, it is condemned in Japan.

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ahh yes the Japanese Auschwitz version. X-Files really liked to use that in their episodes. Most countries have their own version of Auschwitz experimentation along with nuclear weapons testing, germ, chemical and biological warfare.

I'm actually more concerned about the experiments that go on today in the name of humanity. Whether than be dna genome re-sequencing, cloning along with any form of advanced weapons research on humans. I think China falls into the category of using prisoners for experiments and selling body parts. US and Europe are the ones that obscure the grey area to insure continued research on both trying to help humans and exterminated ethnic groups at the same time. I believe their was interesting research going in to target specific groups and gender as well as sterilization. My favorite would be the one targeting just the smokers with x amount of nicotinie in their system (bind it with something). Scary stuff.

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After they dig, they will find exactly this:

“We are not certain if the survey will find anything,” Kawauchi said. “If anything is dug up, it may not be related to Unit 731.”

And Kawauchi will say, "We did our best but nothing was found."

Or am I being too cynical again?

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I just discovered that there is a "unit 731" article in English Wikipedia. Nothing hidden about it. And remember, not to get to far off topic, but the US conducted human experiments too. Remember Tuskegee? Not treating syphilis in blacks to see what happens. I guess it was not uncommon.

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chotto at 08:55 AM JST - 21st February Great news (if that's the right term). I hope everything gets laid bare >for all Japanese to see what the rest of the world has known for 60 y years.

Several years ago there was a widely read book in Japan. It was titled Unit 731. It's hardly a secret. Nor is the U.S. governments role in covering it up either.

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Gosh, there were apartments over this site? Would not have wanted to live there... This is the stuff of horror movies.

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@belachan- good point. Me too. I wonder if there was any paranormal activity?

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OssanAmerican: "Come clean? You didn't know about Unit 731 until now?"

Bro, whether he knew of it's existence or not doesn't matter, given that the government STILL denies it, and is preceding this 'investigation' with Kawauchi ALREADY proclaiming that, “If anything is dug up, it may not be related to Unit 731.”

Or here, read the article yourself:

"Shadowy experiments conducted by the unit on war prisoners have never been officially acknowledged by the government but have been documented by historians and participants."

Yes, much like sexual slavery 'it never happened' according to the Japanese government (or at least, you recall Abe trying to rescind the apology for the 'comfort women'). So, mushroomcloud's comment is not off-base at all; the government has never, ever 'come clean' on the issue, have they? The only thing wrong with mushroomcloud's statement is the presumption that they finally WILL come clean, for I strongly suspect this investigation will 'yield no conclusive results' and the government will continue its denial.

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shinjukuboy: "And remember, not to get to far off topic, but the US conducted human experiments too. Remember Tuskegee?"

Ahhh... so that makes vivisection on live human beings okay, not to mention all the other stuff they purportedly did? Not only are they not even REMOTELY comparable, even if you think they are two wrongs don't make a right. But once again, as I said to Ossan, YES the existence of 731 is acknowledged by certain people, but NOT the government.

The only problem with this investigation is that it's probably going to be carried out solely by 'Japanese historians' (the same guys who say Nanjing never happened, and who claim that no Japanese Imperial troops had anything to do with 'comfort women', etc.) and no one else will be allowed in. Does anyone honestly doubt what the results of people like this would be? It'll be worse than Israel conducting an investigation into a massacre its troops committed (minus the live footage to counter their 'results').

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JeffLee: "I've got mixed feelings about this. What are her motives for waiting so long? "

This woman probably wants to finally be rid of the burden she's kept with her for so long, and do her part to repent. You see the same thing with the old Imperial troops who go to Nanjing and make tearful speeches to Chinese, admitting what they did and seeking forgiveness (for which the J-government spits on them and claims they simply have 'faulty memories').

And then there's the possibility she was threatened to keep silent, but figures it's been long enough that she can finally let out what she cannot bear any longer without any further threats (although the government may try to discredit her).

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killdamessenger,

I wonder if there was any paranormal activity?

"Paranormal activity" serves as a good blanket description for Japan.

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Man there is still so so much the J-govt doesnt have the nads to own up to, better late than never(for the woman), but Jpn as a country still keeps its head in the sand & cant comprehend what it did in the 1930-40s let alone admit it, and this has & continues to hold Jpn back is so many ways, clearly white wash & deny has done great harm to Jpn & its neighbours

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The ministry concluded that the bones could not be directly linked to Unit 731. It said the remains were mostly of non-Japanese Asians and were likely from bodies used in “medical education” or brought back from the war zone for analysis at the medical school.

What we can argue from this excavation is that the imperial Japanese government had a superb technology in medicine and military science during the wartime.

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amerijap: "What we can argue from this excavation is that the imperial Japanese government had a superb technology in medicine and military science during the wartime."

Yeah... putting someone in a fridge and seeing how long they can cry out until they die is the ultimate in R&D and accomplishment. Or when they cut open some poor, live soul and said, "Look! the Chinese have organs, too!" you just KNOW they would rival the top medical scientists of the modern age.

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smithinjapan.

You forget that the Germans did those same experiements, Mauthausen had a dedicated vivisection room, etc.

Said that as with Unit 731 the results of those tests were in high demand after WWII as doctors were not allowed to do those procedures but knew that they carried valuable data to advance medicine.

The Allieds fought viciously over german and japanese scientists after the war and lets face it those scientists helped the US win the space-race, etc.

Even if they find remains doubt that it will change anything.

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What with Unit 731 and the whaling going on today, the Japanese have made the term "research" so loose you could drive a runaway lexus through it.

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Zenny11: "You forget that the Germans did those same experiements, Mauthausen had a dedicated vivisection room, etc."

Actually, no I don't. What I also don't forget is that Germany has admitted to its war crimes and has no only cracked down on those responsible, but makes attempts to atone for its history EVERY year, with some Chancellors even prostrating themselves in front of death camp monuments and begging for forgiveness.

Now contrast that with Japan. Perhaps YOU forget that, as stated above, not only do two wrongs not make a right, but that at least some governments admit their history.

"Even if they find remains doubt that it will change anything."

Agreed. Japan will still deny it.

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Agreed. Japan will still deny it.

Correction: "Agreed, Japanese Goverment will still deny it."

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Shadowy experiments conducted by the unit on war prisoners have never been officially acknowledged by the government

Is that true?

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Since last year there's been a building in Kawasaki opened to the public as a free museum. During the war it was part of the same organization as Unit 731 and called Noborito Kyu Ken (No. 9 Noborito Laboratory) and used for chemo, bio and other evil experiments. I read something about it last October I think. It's on the campus of Meiji University somewhere along the Odakyu line. Does anybody else have information about this?

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If it's really true that the Japanese govt. has not officially acknowledged the existence and activities of Unit 731, and formally apologized specifically for it, then that's incredible. I was aware of the dispute over numbers of people killed in Nanking, and the level of coersion placed on ALL the comfort women, but I didn't think there was much dispute about 731.

If you don't know much about 731 and decide to read up on it, be warned. It's probably one of the worst things you could imagine humans doing to other humans. And then baffling, that the perpetrators went back to normal lives.

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Oxymoron: They will dig it up to cover it up.

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Unit 731 is the kind of thing I would call an unforgivable outrage; I wonder what Kan and Maehara would call it? Let me guess: "regrettable".

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"Health Ministry official Kazuhiko Kawauchi said the excavation is aimed at finding out if anything is buried in the plot.

“We are not certain if the survey will find anything,” Kawauchi said. “If anything is dug up, it may not be related to Unit 731.”"

There you go Kawauchi, get in front of it and start playing the denial game early!! May you rot in hell with the rest of the scum that had anything to do with this!!

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Zenny11: "Correction: "Agreed, Japanese Goverment will still deny it."'

You're absolutely right on that, sorry. My bad (in this case, it was unintentional). While I don't know that a lot of Japanese KNOW about unit 731 (I doubt it's in the history books), I know that various Japanese have made efforts to let it be know, in particular the woman in question in this article, and a few historians. I just think it's a major shame the government still refuses to admit it, and allowed the people responsible to go back to normal lives.

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Good people, listen up: Unit 731 did not operate in Japan. Let's get the history straight: 731 existed in Manchukuo only (presently the Pingfan district of Harbin City). There was another unit, with a different number, operating at a hospital in Nanjing, in China proper. But any facility in Japan would have been attached to the main Scientific Laboratory of the Japanese Imperial Army, which oversaw 731 and all related organizations.

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According to some historians, Americans negociated to get the results of these "research" exercices against the promise not to sue Japan for these crimes in post WWII trial...

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According to some historians, Americans negociated to get the results of these "research" exercices against the promise not to sue Japan for these crimes in post WWII trial...

I believe that is correct. General Ishii and his cohorts were not prosecuted and the US military obtained the research materials. The Soviets did prosecute some of the lower-ranked staff who they captured at the end of the war. It is difficult to establish whether the US used any of 731's "products" in Korea or Vietnam. As far as I know, Agent Orange was pretty much a US-developed defoliant produced in the Monsanto laboratories.

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WordStar,

Unit 731 as a unit may not have operated in Japan however there where plenty of other units (the same as 731) operating all around the Pacific theater including in Japan. I think that people refer to the whole organisition as Unit 731 as this is the most widely know of the units regardless what all units did was trully disgusting, inhuman and viel. However what the US did by letting these people go at the end of the war was equally viel and disgusting after reading numerous reports and articles on this topic l cannot understand how they could have been let go with no punishment.

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I think that people refer to the whole organisition as Unit 731 as this is the most widely know of the units regardless what all units did

There's a good reason for not referring to the "whole organization" as Unit 731, which is that the Army Scientific Laboratory operated secretly, at the highest level, under the patronage of Chichibu the younger brother of Hirohito.

To quote Wikipedia: On 9 February 1939, Chichibu attended a lecture on bacteriological warfare, given by Shiro Ishii, in the War Ministry Grand Conference Hall in Tokyo. He also attended vivisection demonstrations by Ishii.

So we are not talking about some rogue individuals who operated in China here, but involvement by people at the very top of the government.

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Wordstar,

Completely agree with your statement, but would like to also add that in 1936 Hirohito also by imperial decree, authorised the expansion of this unit and its integration into the Kwantung Army as the Epidemic Prevention Department. So the crimes went all the way to the top.

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bodies used in “medical education” or brought back from the war zone for analysis at the medical school.

.............................

sort of like the whales brought back for scientific research ?

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It will be interesting to see how the government will deal with the findings. Particularly the DNA samples and if they are provided to the Chinese government.

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It will be interesting to see how the government will deal with the findings. Particularly the DNA samples and if they are provided to the Chinese government.

M51T -- not sure. Seems to me the government is already laying the groundwork for a "nothing conclusive" conclusion. I simply cannot believe that anyone in the Health Ministry has the desire, or the guts, to conclude that Japan committed the kind of atrocities that have been alleged. That would force too much real soul-searching on Japan's part, and really lay waste to their victim mentality. Not to mention all the re-writes required in the history texts. No, better for the Wa that Japanese people not know the truth about this, Nanjing, comfort women, etc. Denial is a much easier path to take.

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Denial is a much easier path to take.

...................and that is the problem of post war japan.

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WordStar,

To quote Wikipedia

The Wikipedia page has no mention of Chichibu. You just pull this out of your ...

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Actually Yankdownunder you should read before commenting as it does clearly state "On 9 February 1939, Chichibu attended a lecture on bacteriological warfare, given by Shiro Ishii, in the War Ministry Grand Conference Hall in Tokyo.[2] He also attended vivisection demonstrations by Ishii"

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For an excellent in-depth coverage of Ishii, Unit 731 and other aspects of human experiments done by the Japanese during the war, you should read "Factories of Death" by Sheldon Harris.

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This has b-movie horror flick written all over it.

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Totally shocking! I can't believe that it's taking so long to get to the bottom of this, similarly with the Nazi war criminal cases...

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Any you folks remember the ex-731 guy who was in GREEN CROSS that lovely company that KNOWINGLY allowed use of tainted blood products in transfusions that gave a lot of Japanese AIDs & I think hepititus, was some really scary stuff to know this sicko was still around & even killing his own ..............this country still has so much to acknowledge but probably never will

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@AdamB, I have to believe YankDownUnder was on the wrong page. Neither WordStar nor YankDownUnder indicate what pages they were looking at.

This story just goes to further the axiom: "War is Hell". When countries start fighting each other, the ways in which we can torture and slaughter those captured have no limits. After reading about the Bataan Death March, this news about a "Unit 731" doesn't surprise me at all.

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Neither WordStar nor YankDownUnder indicate what pages they were looking at.

Yes, sorry, but I am under the impression we are discouraged from including links in these comments. The Wiki entry is for Prince Chichibu.

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OssanAmerica/ULTRA/USA: Doesn't matter it was 65 years ago and decency should make them reveal the true facts. many Japanese historians stil deny Unit 731 existed and gullible right wing Jpaanese and some Japanophile believe it.

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i believe the deal was info & let the scum go free, not deny it happened not the same thing, J-govt fail once again

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@Wordstar

Since last year there's been a building in Kawasaki opened to the public as a free museum. During the war it was part of the same organization as Unit 731 and called Noborito Kyu Ken (No. 9 Noborito Laboratory) and used for chemo, bio and other evil experiments. I read something about it last October I think. It's on the campus of Meiji University somewhere along the Odakyu line. Does anybody else have information about this?

Google: 陸軍技術本部第9研究所

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@oberst

bodies used in “medical education” or brought back from the war zone for analysis at the medical school.

sort of like the whales brought back for scientific research?

I can't believe you are comparing war crimes to a few stupid whales. Comments like that just show how desperate and childish anti-whalers are.

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This has b-movie horror flick written all over it.

It's called, "Men Behind the Sun."

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Ossan: "Bro, the J-govt denies it because that's part of the deal with the United States. I trust that you ARE aware that the US benefitted from Unit 731. And that so did the Soviets."

Fully, bro (I though the mods asked us to stop using bro, but hey). In fact, it's one of the sadder elements of how the victors of war turn out to be as bad as the cause they were fighting against. None the less, it doesn't change the fact that the Japanese government denies unit 731, does it? Nor does it change the point of my comment, which you tried side-stepping. So, yes or no? Does the Japanese government still deny it? It's a pretty straight-forward question, Ossan.

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This is one of the issues where the average Japanese turns their head and give you the " what?.. I didn't know that happened... it's not possible." The J-govenrment hushed this and a lot of other atrocities form the mass population. The vast majority of Japanese still don't admit of the crimes in Korea and China and other places, to include Okinawa. This denial, which is an outright lie is part of the problem of modern Japan. They still think they can do no wrong.... and the result is a society that isn't ready to accept the reality of the world outside Japan. This country will go down from within, unless the Clowns Inc. takes drastic steps to re-educate the youth of this country... or will they try to keep the Gaijins down to a minimum? It is the only industrialized country I know of where a foreigner is blatantly called a "Gaijin". Japan has come far, but it has a long way to go!!!

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I saw years ago a documentary on Unit 731 I couldn't have dinner that day.I wondered how humans could do that to humans.And that nurse could and can sleep after these atrocities.

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I guess asking the J-Pharma execs - and their American handlers - to speak up is out of the question~

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The average Japanese is only dimly aware of Unit 731, if at all. Having been absent from school textbooks up until recently, and the general taboo about televising anything negative about Japan, the subject seems to be fairly unknown.

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I would bet real money they will find something of Unit 731 there, but that it will be labeled "inconclusive" by the government, and either not reported at all, or reported and immediately ignored. The few truth-seekers in Japan will be viewed as disturbing the harmony of the nation, and promptly ignored. The media will follow suit and either avoid covering the story, or spin it so fiercely that it will be unrecognizable. Media outside Japan, though, will pick it up and report it, and the evidence will become part of the historical record. And Japan will be one more step removed from the reality of the world around it.

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The location is in Toyama Park east of Meiji Dori, just southwest of the big open sports area, on the north side of the little bisecting road. There are currently about ten construction workers and two backhoes in action. A few onlookers on occasion. No cops.

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I was listening to CBC interview of a correspondent in yokohama. he was saying that he has talked to experts about if criminal evidences are to found, can it used to prosecute anyone (if there is anyone left!). but he mentioned the experts said since the criminal evidences are over 20 yrs old, they cannot be used. I thought the 20 years time restriction on murder cases has been alleviated @parliament in 2010 already.

anyone?

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