Friday, April 22, 2016

Unit 731

Unit 731 was set up in 1938 in Japanese-occupied China with the aim of developing biological weapons. It also operated a secret research and experimental school in Shinjuku, central Tokyo. Its head was Lieutenant Shiro Ishii.
The unit was supported by Japanese universities and medical schools which supplied doctors and research staff.
An estimated 3,000 of enemy soldiers and civilians were used as guinea pigs. They were infected with plague, anthrax, cholera and other pathogens. Other experiments included vivisection without anesthesia and pressure chambers to see how much a human could take before his eyes popped out.
The prisoners were also used to breed pathogens and develop diseases that might have biological weapons potential. Hisato Yoshimura was in charge of the frostbite experiments. (It is said after the war he went on to occupy key medical and other posts in public and private sectors.)
Before Japan’s surrender, the site of the experiments was completely destroyed, so that no evidence is left. Then, the remaining 400 prisoners were shot and employees of the unit had to swear secrecy. The mice kept in the laboratory were infected with the bubonic plague; they were then released. The effect of their release is unknown.
It is also said that in a secret deal, the post-war American administration gave them immunity for prosecution in return for details of their experiments.
Lieutenant Shiro Ishii:
Shiro Ishii - The Unit 731 Commander

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