The Puppet Manchu Palace Museum in northeast China's Changchun City has held an exhibition, presenting evidence of Japanese war crimes committed at a secret bio-weapon research facility during World War Two. Our reporter Yu Li has the details.
Founded at the same time as the notorious Unit 731 that conducted lethal human experiments, Unit 100 had a similar mission, but was less known to the public.
PENG CHAO Puppet Manchu Palace Museum "Unit 100 of Japanese invaders was a bacteriological warfare unit established by the Japanese emperor's decree in August 1936. It used animals and plants to study and make anthrax and glanders, and conducted human experiments and field experiments to test the efficacy of the bacteria."
Under the name of Kwantung Army Military Horse Epidemic Prevention Workshop, Unit 100 was a biological warfare force.
In a recently-released recording of the Khabarovsk war crimes trial held in December 1949 in the Soviet Union, former Unit 100 officer Kazuo Mitomo admits that the unit conducted experiments on living humans.
KAZUO MITOMO Non-commissioned Officer Unit 100, Imperial Japanese Army "Human trials were conducted between August and September of 1944. I think the purpose of the trial was to numb them without knowing it. I remember using seven or eight Chinese and Russians in the experiment. The drugs used in the experiment were mandala, heroin, barbiturates, castor beans, etc., which I can't fully remember now. Two weeks into the experiment, the subjects were too thin to continue."
The troops also produced anthrax and glanders and spread the germs into the river as part of what they called field exercises.
ZENSAKU HIRAZAKURA Lieutenant Unit 100, Imperial Japanese Army "There was a river near the border. Yamaguchi and Ida's teams were tasked with checking pollution levels and survival time every 100 meters in an area about a kilometer long in the polluted river. They did this by riding in a rubber boat. But I'm not sure how they spread the germs because I did not see it."
Historian Qin Shiqiang says there is still disagreement among Japanese scholars over whether the Imperial Japanese Army conducted human experiments during the second World War.
QIN SHIQIANG Department of Chinese history Jilin University "Some left-wing scholars in Japanese academia have admitted that Unit 100 conducted human experiments and have referred to them as war crimes. But some right-wing academics deny such experiments. Therefore, Japanese academic circles are divided over the issue."
But evidence of the crimes is irrefutable.
QIN SHIQIANG Department of Chinese history Jilin University "Besides the Khabarovsk trial, there are also Report-A and Report-G in the U.S. Library of Congress and interviews with former members of Unit 100 in the U.S. National Archives that are strong evidence that the human experiments were indeed conducted. This is a fact."
Researchers from Puppet Manchu Palace Museum in Changchun obtained copies of the two reports Qin mentioned from the United States.
"A" represents Anthrax and "G" represents Glanders. The reports document the experiments in detail.
Part of the report said: Nine cases were infected perorally with some food stuffs, which contain some quantity of anthrax bacillus and all patients died definitively after several days by acute abdominal symptoms and severe hemorrhagic ascites.
PENG CHAO Puppet Manchu Palace Museum "According to the recording of Khabarovsk trial, Unit 100's annual bacteria production capacity reached 1,000 kg of anthrax and 500 kg of glanders at its peak."
Peng says when the Unit 100 army was established in 1936, there were only a few dozen people, and by 1945 it had expanded to nearly 1,000. The increase in numbers is actually consistent with the Japanese biological warfare strategy that Japan has insisted on despite the 1925 Geneva Protocol. YU LI, CGTN, CHANGCHUN, JILIN PROVINCE.