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Japanese WWII germ warfare document released

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-15 20:32
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HARBIN - A 17-page copy of the confessions of a commander of the notorious Japanese germ warfare unit to US investigators after World War II has been released in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province on Sunday.

Masaji Kitano, the second commander of the Japanese Army Unit 731, wrote the confessions on the human experiments and bacterial warfare conducted by Unit 731 in China to investigators of Fort Detrick of the US Army, after he was extradited to Japan by the United States in 1946, according to Jin Chengmin, curator of the Museum of Evidence of War Crimes by the Japanese Army Unit 731.

The United States extradited Kitano from a prison camp in Shanghai to obtain core secrets of Unit 731, Jin noted.

Kitano's confessions include five aspects of content, including Unit 731's founder Shiro Ishii, its missions, composition, study and germ warfare weapons. The original copy is now stored in the National Archives of the United States.

According to a report by the US investigators, Kitano admitted in the interrogation that Unit 731 conducted human experiments, though in academic papers published during the war, Kitano said monkeys were used in the experiments.

After obtaining the material, the US Army accelerated its development of biological weapons in Fort Detrick and pardoned major members of Unit 731, irrespective of their crimes against humanity, said Jin.

Kitano served as the second commander of the Japanese Army Unit 731 from Aug. 3, 1942, to March 1, 1945, during which he led the unit's human experiments, conducted large-scale research and development in the field of biological warfare, and sped up the manufacturing of germ weapons.

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