Unfinished Business Associated with Japan’s Biological and Chemical Warfare in China

On August 26, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “The use of chemical weapons in attacks on civilians in Syria last week was undeniable and that the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for a ‘moral obscenity’ that has shocked the world’s conscience.”  But on the much greater ‘moral obscenity’ of massive biological and chemical weapons that Japan unleashed on China during WWII, there is much unfinished business involving the U.S. also.

During WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army deployed biological and chemical weapons in China thousands of times in over a dozen provinces, killing hundreds of thousands of Chinese and injuring many more.  There are survivors who are still suffering from the damages inflicted on them 70, 75 years ago, including the rotten-leg-disease victims [1].  Biological weapons included anthrax, bubonic plague, cholera, glanders [2].  Chemical weapons included mustard gas, cyanide, and other poison gases.  All these biological and chemical weapons were prohibited by the Geneva Convention of 1925 which was also signed by Japan.  Furthermore, there are still hundreds of thousands of chemical weapons abandoned in China by the Japanese by burying them underground or dumping them into rivers.  These chemical weapons are frequently accidentally exploded killing many innocent victims and still waiting to be excavated, a responsibility required of Japan by the United Nations’ 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Sixty eight years have passed since the end of WWII, yet the Japanese government still has not officially acknowledged and apologized for the massive and inhumane atrocities that the Japanese Imperial Army committed in China and other parts of Asia during WWII.  As a matter of fact, her political leaders including her prime ministers, have even denied the occurrence of these atrocities, and claimed that they were fabricated by the victims.  The U.S., being the country that put Japan back on her feet after the end of WWII, has tremendous influence on Japan, and could have easily persuaded Japan to acknowledge and apologize for their WWII crimes against humanity, as was done by Germany.  Not only that the U.S. has turned a blind eye on the actions or inactions of Japan, she has groomed Japan to be her junior partner to pursue her dangerous policy to surround, contain, and weaken China.  The U.S. is even willing to go to war by declaring that even though the territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is unsettled, the Diaoyu Islands are under the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.  For a more detailed discussion of this issue, see the article “The U.S.’s Military-Industrial-Academic Complex” in this issue of this website.

Turning a blind eye to such moral obscenity actually goes back to the end of WWII.  The leaders and top scientists and medical doctors who ran Unit 731, Japan’s massive research center and factory of biological and chemical weapons near Harbin in Northeast China during WWII were never prosecuted.  Their crimes against humanity included performing many vivisections on live humans.  Why?   According to the American doctor and medical historian Dr. Martin Furmanski, who researched this issue and wrote “In a disgraceful agreement with the Japanese biological weapons war criminals, the U.S. offered immunity from war crimes prosecution in exchange for the scientific data the Japanese had collected from murdering Chinese citizens, as well as citizens of other countries, both in their laboratories and in field applications.  The official U.S. and Japanese policy became one of denying the existence of the Japanese biological weapons program.” [3]

For the U.S. to take the high moral ground to condemn Syria’s use of chemical weapons, she must be consistent and pressure her junior partner Japan to join the rank of civilized countries by acknowledging and apologizing her massive and inhumane atrocities committed during WWII, including the extensive use of biological and chemical weapons.


[1]  See the article in this website “Japan’s Biological and Chemical Warfare in China during WWII.”

[2]  See the article in this website “Heroic and Critical Battles in Yunnan During WWII.”

[3]  Dr. Martin Furmanski’s article “An Investigation of the Afflicted Area of Anthrax and Glanders Attacks by Japanese Aggressors” in the book Blood-Weeping Accusations:  Records of Anthrax Victims, by Li Xiaofang, 2005.


There will be a special exhibition and presentation on “Japan’s Biological and Chemical Warfare in China” on September 11, 2013 at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ.  For more information, click here.


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One Response to “Unfinished Business Associated with Japan’s Biological and Chemical Warfare in China”

  1. Julie says:

    This article is poignantly timely. It is hypocritical for the US government to stage attack against Syria because Assad is using chemical weapons against civilians. We do not tolerate what Assad is doing now nor do we tolerate what Japan did not too long ago. But US continues to turn a blind eye to Japan’s chemical warfare waged upon millions of Chinese just 75 years ago. History is repeating itself, but this is the time the US demands that Japan acknowledge its crime and be held accountable.
    Thanks for your very informative website.

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