The people of northeast China hate Japan

The "region of rotten legs"

The Japanese army developed biological weapons in occupied Manchuria during World War II. Military doctors tortured thousands of prisoners of war to death in cruel human experiments, and later they used the bacterial weapons on a large scale in China.

There are survivors who have been tormented by purulent wounds on their legs for over 60 years. One of them is Dai Zhaokai, a farmer in the Chinese province of Zhejiang. He still remembers the day in 1942 when the Japanese army raided his home village. He and his family fled to the nearby mountains, where they had to stay in caves for two months before they dared go home again. Certain death awaited them there, invisible, in the village well, in the huts, in the fields. Many villagers were shaken by a high fever after their return and entire families were completely exterminated. Others developed red pustules on their legs that got bigger and bigger and left purulent wounds that were never supposed to heal. Dai Zhaokai has been tormented like this for 64 years. He has hated the Japanese for 64 years, from the bottom of his heart, 64 years of torture, he says. Other villages and towns in the province fared similarly; the area around the small town of Jinhua is known throughout China as the "Rotten Legs Region." Later, at a Soviet war crimes tribunal, Japanese officers testified that biological weapons, including those causing typhus, paratyphoid fever, anthrax and snot, were used en masse in Zhejiang. Shortly before, US bombers had attacked Tokyo and hit Japan right in the heart. To do this, they used runways in Zhejiang Province. In an unprecedented campaign of revenge, Japanese troops now marched through the region and left a trail of destruction. It was similar in other areas: after 1940, more than 5,000 inhabitants died as a result of an attack with plague-infested fleas on the city of Quzhou. Ten years ago, the bioweapons victims in China began to organize themselves in a movement from below. In years of detailed work - supported by Japanese peace activists - they gathered evidence and brought a lawsuit against Tokyo. They demand an apology from the Japanese government and compensation of ten million yen (approx. 68,000 euros) for each victim. They achieved partial success in 2002 when a district court in Tokyo first recognized that the B-weapon attacks had actually occurred. However, it declined compensation and apology. The case is now with the Tokyo Supreme Court and a decision is expected shortly. The center of Japanese bioweapons research was in Ping Fan, a small town in northeast China. There, the notorious Unit 731 operated a huge laboratory area, in which all imaginable pathogens were examined to see whether they could be suitable as a weapon. The scientists also tested their developments on prisoners, thousands of whom were dragged off to Ping Fan to serve as human guinea pigs - and to die. In addition to bioweapons research, the death laboratories were used for basic medical research. Not only a few sadistic, ambitious military doctors were involved, but also parts of the Japanese research elite of the time. It is not uncommon for the results of the research in Ping Fan to be published in specialist journals. The test objects were cynically referred to as "Manchurian monkeys", an easily understandable code for Chinese prisoners, since the exact scientific name for the respective species was recorded in all experiments that were actually carried out on monkeys. A museum now stands on the site of the former Ping Fan death laboratory. The director, Wang Peng, calls the actions of Unit 731 "a culmination of human cruelty." He draws the comparison to Auschwitz, incinerators, rail transport, subhuman doctrine, scientific killing. In contrast to Auschwitz and Berlin, however, in Ping Fan and Tokyo, historical processing is still at the very beginning. To this day, official Japan has closed its eyes to this dark chapter of its own history. We don't know, is the stereotypical answer from the Tokyo Foreign Ministry, we don't have enough documents to prove the human experiments or the use of biological weapons. The government's ostrich policy is only possible because the murderous scientists of Unit 731 have not been tried by the Allies. Immediately after the end of the war, the US Department of Defense decided that the technical information and research results from Ping Fan were so valuable that they should by no means become public and fall into the hands of the Soviet Union. The leaders of the unit fortunate enough to be captured by the United States were granted impunity in exchange for their bio-weapons expertise.

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