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  • 1. Unit 731
    By David Disler
  • 2. On June 7, 1925 Japan Signed the “Geneva Protocol”
    Also called the “Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.”
    Signed after WWI, the treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons.
    Geneva Protocol
  • 3. THE UNDERSIGNED PLENIPOTENTIARIES, in the name of their respective Governments :
    Whereas the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, has been justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilised world; and
    Whereas the prohibition of such use has been declared in Treaties to which the majority of Powers of the world are Parties; and
    To the end that this prohibition shall be universally accepted as a part of International Law, binding alike the conscience and the practice of nations;
    That the High Contracting Parties, so far as they are not already Parties to Treaties prohibiting such use, accept this prohibition, agree to extend this prohibition to the use of bacteriological methods of warfare and agree to be bound as between themselves according to the terms of this declaration.
    The High Contracting Parties will exert every effort to induce other States to accede to the present Protocol. Such accession will be notified to the Government of the French Republic, and by the latter to all signatory and acceding Powers, and will take effect on the date of the notification by the Government of the French Republic.
    The present Protocol, of which the French and English texts are both authentic, shall be ratified as soon as possible. It shall bear today's date.
    The ratification of the present Protocol shall be addressed to the Government of the French Republic, which will at once notify the deposit of such ratification to each of the signatory and acceding Powers.
    The instruments of ratification of and accession to the present Protocol will remain deposited in the archives of the Government of the French Republic.
    The present Protocol will come into force for each signatory Power as from the date of deposit of its ratification, and, from that moment, each Power will be bound as regards other Powers which have already deposited their ratifications.
    Text of the Geneva Protocol
  • 4.
  • 5. Covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army
     It was located in the Pingfang district of Harbin
     More than 10,000 people were taken by the Japanese army and imprisoned in Unit 731 to be experimented on
     Of these individuals, 95% were Chinese and Korean (of that group many were civilians).
     It is estimated that between 200,000 and 580,000 individual were killed from biological weapons created from the research obtained from Unit 731
  • 6. Unit 731 was divided into eight divisions:
    Division 1: Research on bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax, typhoid and tuberculosis using live human subjects.
    Division 2: Research for biological weapons used in the field, in particular the production of devices to spread germs and parasites.
    Division 3: Production of shells containing biological agents.
    Division 4: Production of other miscellaneous agents.
    Division 5: Training of personnel.
    Divisions 6–8: Equipment, medical and administrative units.
    Organization of Unit 731
  • 7. Covered six square kilometers
    Consisted of more than 150 buildings
    Designed so it would be difficult to destroy by bombing
    Contained around 4,500 containers to be used to raise fleas, six giant cauldrons to produce various chemicals and around 1,800 containers to produce biological agents.
    Because of this approximately 30 kg of bubonic plague bacteria could be produced in several days.
    Unit 731 Complex
  • 8. In 1914, Ishii, an intelligent and wealthy individual, studies medicine at Kyoto Imperial University
    In 1928, he took a two year tour of the West, doing extensive research on the effects biological and chemical warfare on World War I.
    In 1932, he began his own experiments in biological warfare as a secret project for the Japanese military
    In 1936, he convinces the Emperor to allow him to construct Unit 731
    Shiro Ishii
  • 9. In 1938, he is promoted to full colonel and given a staff of 3,000, many of which highly-skilled medical doctors and researchers. Also around 17,000 individuals from surrounding research centers will work on his projects.
    In 1940, he is appointed Chief of the Biological Warfare Section of the Army.
    Ishii also states the purpose of his research facility, stating, “although a doctor’s mission is to cure the sick, the work his staff are about to embark on is the complete opposite of these principles”
    In 1942, he was appointed Chief of the Medical Section of the Japanese First Army
    Shiro Ishii
  • 10.
  • 11. Experimented on more than 10,000 prisoners of war and civilians from China, the Korean Peninsula, Mongolia, and the former Soviet Union.
    However a great majority were Chinese and Korean
    Around 500 could be imprisoned at Unit 731 at a time
    Whenever new subjects were needed, it was not uncommon for Japanese military forces to go into local villages and capture civilians
    Test Subjects
  • 12. Men, women, the elderly, and children were all included in these experiments
    Once experimented on an individual’s life lasted about 4 to 6 weeks
    After that time the individual was either killed or dissected
    Once dead, bodies were disposed of in two large burning facilities
    Test Subjects (Continued)
  • 13. A special project code name, “Maruta,” used human beings for experiments
    The reason “Maruta” was chosen was that it translates to “logs.”
    Two part joke for the staff:
    The cover story they for the facility they had given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill
    They treated the humans they were experimenting on as if they were logs, cutting them up and burning them when they were needed.
    Test Subjects (Continued)
  • 14. Vivisections: experiments on living organisms.
    Many of the experiments done used vivisection, many times without anesthesia.
    These procedures were often done after infecting the patient with various diseases.
    Surgery was often done to the living and awake patient to remove organs to study the effects of the disease on the human body. The reason the patient was alive was from fear that death would alter the results.
    These procedures were sometimes performed on pregnant women (who were sometimes impregnated by the doctors themselves) so that they could remove and test the fetus.
  • 15. Prisoners would have limbs amputated in order to study blood loss
    The limbs were them sometimes accidentally re-attached to the opposite sides of the body.
    Some subjects limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed.
    Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines
    Some had parts of their brain, lungs, liver, and many other parts of their body removed.
    It is estimated that 1,000’s of people across mainland China were subject to these experimental vivisections.
    Vivisections (continued)
  • 16. The effects of flame throwers were also used on live test subjects
    Subjects were used to test the effects of various weapons by being tied to stakes in different distances and in different positions while explosions were set off
    Test subjects were then used to study the effects of germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs.
    Weapons testing
  • 17. Test subjects were injected with inoculations of diseases (while they were being told they were actually vaccinations for their health)
    These diseases include syphilis and gonorrhea, in which both male and female subjects were left untreated and studied
    Also prisoners were infested with fleas in order to acquire large quantities of disease-carrying fleas for the purpose of studying the viability of germ warfare
    Germ warfare attacks
  • 18. Subjects were:
    hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death
    injected with air into their arteries to determine the time until embolism (the blockage of a blood vessel) would occur
    injection of horse urine into their kidneys
    deprived of food and water to see how long until they would die
    Other Experiments
  • 19. Subjects were:
    placed in high-pressure chambers until death
    exposed to freezing temperatures until they developed frostbite to determine how long the human body could survive such an affliction
    having body parts burned to see how they affect the human body
    Other Experiments Continued
  • 20. being placed into centrifuges and spun to death
    injected with animal blood
    exposed to lethal doses of x-ray radiation
    exposed to chemical weapons inside gas chambers
    injected with sea water
    buried alive
    Other Experiments (Continued)
  • 21.
  • 22. The research from the experiments led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb and the flea bomb (used to spread the bubonic plague)
    Upon Ishii’s recommendation, the bombs were designed with ceramic (porcelain) shells
    The bombs were tested on local villages
    These biological attacks infected the local agriculture, reservoirs, well, and numerous other areas with anthrax, infected fleas, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and other deadly pathogens.
    Weapons Tested
  • 23. Disease-carrying fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies were then dropped on various targets, usually in the surrounded villages. Those infected were then studied. The resulting cholera, anthrax, and plague were estimated to have killed around 400,000 Chinese civilians
    Low flying planes also spread plague-infested fleas in specific Chinese cities, causing a bubonic plague epidemic and killing thousands.
    Weapons Tested (Continued)
  • 24. After dropping the bombs, scientists dressed in protect suits would examine the dying victims.
    Also infected food and clothing were dropped in areas of China (not occupied by Japanese)
    Most atrociously, poisonous food and candy were given to starving children
    Weapons Tested (Continued)
  • 25.
  • 26. In 1945, with Russian forces invading, the unit was abandoned and attempts were made the destroy the building and any evidence of their activities (but because the buildings were well constructed most remained intact)
    The United States, in exchange for providing America with their research, granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731 and ShiroIshii
    A defense was made that it was important to keep the information away from the Soviet Union
    After the War
  • 27. During the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, only one reference to Japanese experiments with poisonous serums on Chinese civilians was made, and eventually any case was dismissed because of a lack of evidence
    In comparison, the Soviet Union prosecuted twelve top military leaders and scientist for their work with Unit 731
    Many former members of Unit 731 returned to Japan and became members of the Japanese medical establishment
    After gaining immunity from the United States, ShiroIshii, it is rumored, moved to Maryland to work on bio-weapons research
    In 1959, Ishii died of throat cancer.
    After the War Continued
  • 28.
  • 29. In Japan today there is little mention of the atrocities that have been committed, nor has their been any real apology by the Japanese government.
    In China, one of the buildings of Unit 731 has been transformed into a War Crimes Museum in an attempt to commemorate the atrocities that were committed against it’s people.
  • 30.
  • 31. Emperor Hirohito
    Yes: without his approval and allocation of funds such a project could never have been undertaken
    Shiro Ishii
    Yes: He was the leader of the project and oversaw all phases of the operation
    Military Establishment
    Yes: They used and tested the weapons. Also oversaw much of the project
    Citizens of Japan
    No: This was a covert operation in which civilians in Japan were probably not informed of
    Japanese Government:
    Yes: Because they refuse admit or apologize for any wrongdoings.
    The United States government:
    Yes: By granting immunity, they are accepting and approving the atrocities that took place.
    Who is to Blame
  • 32.