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Unit 731

Unit 731 was a secret military medical unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that researched biological warfare and other topics through human experimentation during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and World War II era. The unit was disguised as a water purification unit. It was based in Ping Fang, near the city of Harbin in northeastern China, the region which was sometimes referred to as Manchuria or Manchukuo.

Table of contents
1 Formation
2 Activities
3 Members
4 Facilities
5 Disbanding
6 End of World War II
7 Legal action
8 Present day
9 Documents
10 Memorials
11 Cultural depictions and representations
12 External links
13 References






End of World War II

The United States believed that the research data was valuable because the US and its allies would never conduct this type of human experimentation. Also, the US did not want any other nation, particularly Communist Russia, to acquire data on biological weapons. Therefore, in exchange for the data, the United States did not charge the officers of Unit 731 with war crimes.

Many former members of Unit 731 have become part of the Japanese medical establishment. Dr Masaji Kitano led Japan's largest pharmaceutical company, the Green Cross. Others have headed medical schools or worked for the Japanese health ministry.

Legal action

In 1997, 180 Chinese, either victims or the family of victims of Unit 731, sued the Japanese government for a full disclosure, apology and compensation.

In August 2002, the Tokyo District Court acknowledged the existence of Unit 731 and its biological warfare activities, but ruled that all compensation issues were settled by the Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China of September 29, 1972.

Present day

Unit 731 activities are denied by right-wing nationalist Japanese historians, who say they are fabrications by Chinese propaganda. References to Unit 731 are omitted from many Japanese history textbooks. Some see this as evidence that, in modern Japan, revisionist history is part of the mainstream.


In 2000, the United States Congress passed the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act to declassify most classified US Government records about war criminals and crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II. As of 2003, this will be done through the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) [1].


Cultural depictions and representations

External links