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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 September 25 - October 1  > Former soldier testifies on lethal human experimentation
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2013 September 25 - October 1 [HISTORY]

Former soldier testifies on lethal human experimentation

September 29, 2013
Akahata Sunday edition

Amid the Abe Cabinet’s attempt to distort Japan’s past war of aggression, a former Japanese soldier testified about Japan’s bacteriological warfare experiments he was involved in. Akahata Sunday edition carried his story.

In August 1944, Okawa Fukumatsu was transferred from the Japanese Army’s hospital in Beian to Unit 731 in Harbin in northeast China, where he was involved in the vivisection of two or three people a day, including a pregnant “comfort woman.”

“We gave a small amount of anesthetic only to captives’ noses. They passed out from the tremendous pain,” said Okawa. Those who were used as guinea pigs were Chinese, Russian, and Korean captives.

Unit 731 infected the captives with plague and typhoid, called them by number, and dissected them in order to determine the infection routes. It analyzed which bacteria can be more effectively used against human bodies and cultivated them. The dissected bodies were directly thrown into an incinerator from the operating table.

The typhoid bacillus Okawa developed was put in glass bottles and dropped as weapons. According to a confidential report, 19,646 people were killed by bacteriological weapons Unit 731 used in six areas in China from 1940 to 1942.

After the war ended, Unit 731 officials were not brought to the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals. Their war crimes were exempted from the court in exchange for turning over the experimental data to the U.S. forces.

Okawa, 93 years old now, said that to him Japan’s postwar attempt to hide the facts related to Unit 731 overlaps with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s rejection of the facts related to the country’s wartime sex slavery. “In order to prevent us from walking the same path, this injustice must be revealed before the public,” he stressed.

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