The court denied the lawsuit’s request for damages of $84,000 to each elderly victim. This decision continues the adamant refusal of the Japanese courts to grant legal claims brought on behalf of other victims of Japanese imperialist assaults of the 1930s and ‘40s.
"It is absurd that the ruling confirmed Japan’s biological warfare, but the Japanese government doesn’t have to take any responsibility," stated Wang Xuan, 50, whose search into her family’s past led her to get involved. Chinese plaintiffs and Japanese supporters staged a rally in Tokyo immediately after the court rejected the plaintiffs’ compensation claims.
At the trial several members of Japan’s infamous Unit 731 testified that they deliberately infected fleas with bubonic plague that were then air-dropped over the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Hunan from 1940 to 1942, causing devastating epidemics. Other testimony from former Japanese soldiers described how part of these biological experiments included infecting food with cholera. The Chinese government estimates that 270,000 civilians died of diseases introduced by the Japanese occupiers, and that some 3,000 people died after being injected with live viruses ranging from anthrax to bubonic plague.
Yoshio Shinosuka, 77, who was assigned to Unit 731’s headquarters in Harbin, China, testified that Chinese subjects were injected with the plague and then split open for autopsy immediately after or even moments before dying an agonizing death.
Washington collaborated with Tokyo in covering up these operations. In fact, the U.S. rulers made a secret deal to exempt the germ warfare crimes from scrutiny of the Tokyo trials, which were held after the end of World War II. In return, Washington received the results of the experiments.
Members of Unit 731 have never been prosecuted. Some have become figures in Japanese society. The Japanese government still maintains, in the face of a mountain of evidence, that it has no knowledge of what the unit did.
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