"Japan's Dirty Secret"
Documentary, May 2003
Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures
Uploaded to YouTube, March 10, 2008
Memories of Japanese war crimes continue to poison Japan's relations with its neighbours. Many Chinese are still suffering the effects of a vicious campaign of germ warfare.The story of how the United States gave amnesty to the war criminals who ran the Japanese Emperor's biological and chemical warfare program in the 1930s and 1940s has been told a number of times now, but after over 40 years of U.S. denials and censorship, it's not surprising the story is still barely known by the average American.
"Our unit did things no human being should ever do," confesses Unit 731 member Yoshio Shinozuka. His unit developed the deadly pathogens which were used to infect 250,000 Chinese. Japan's refusal to apologise for its actions, or to acknowledge Unit 731's existence, has further upset its victims.
Few books in print still examine the issue, but they are good ones. See Sheldon Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-45 and the American Cover-Up; also Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimonies; and Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan's Biological Warfare Program.
The entire history of modern Asia is mostly unknown by U.S. citizens, and that's especially true when it comes to the post-War period in Japan, China and Korea. And yet, bizarrely, the U.S. itself has fought two major wars in Asia (Korea and Vietnam), and lost many tens of thousands of its own citizens, with very little idea of what U.S. policy even was or is in that part of the world.
One's education can begin with the biggest cover-up of a war crime in U.S. history: the U.S. amnesty of the germ warfare researchers in Japan, their brutal murder, sometimes via vivisection, of thousands of human "guinea pigs", including, it seems likely, U.S. POWs. When the Soviet Union tried some of these military researchers as war criminals in the late 1940s, the US derided it as fake propaganda.
Such was the evil of the time that the US lied about this. The lies were not formally withdrawn for 50 years, and even then with a minimum of fanfare.
The ABC documentary is short but powerful. I offer it here with the hope that greater education of these issues will make people more politically aware and better able to intervene in the political process.
For further viewing, see this History International five part video on Unit 731, and also my reposting of Japanese professor Shingo Shibata's essay, "The Atomic Victims as Human Guinea Pigs."