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DATE= 05-Mar-99 3:31 PM EST (2031 UTC) TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42781 TITLE=JAPAN GERM WARFARE RECORDS BYLINE=MIKE O'SULLIVAN DATELINE=LOS ANGELES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS SAY THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN HAS REFUSED TO GRANT ACCESS TO ITS RECORDS ON JAPANESE CHEMICAL AND GERM WARFARE EXPERIMENTS DURING WORLD WAR TWO. V-O-A'S MIKE O'SULLIVAN REPORTS A JEWISH HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION IS ALSO CALLING FOR PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE THE COUNTRY'S WARTIME RECORDS. TEXT: HISTORIANS SAY JAPANESE MILITARY UNITS CONDUCTED MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS ON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN OCCUPIED PARTS OF ASIA BEFORE AND DURING WORLD WAR TWO. THE MOST NOTORIOUS OF THESE HUMAN TESTS WERE CONDUCTED BY WHAT IS KNOWN AS UNIT 731 OF JAPAN'S IMPERIAL ARMY. HISTORIAN SHELDON HARRIS STUDIED THIS UNIT FOR 20 YEARS. HE RECORDED HIS FINDINGS IN 1994 IN A BOOK CALLED "FACTORIES OF DEATH." PROFESSOR HARRIS SAYS MANY VICTIMS WERE INNOCENT VILLAGERS, WHO WERE EXPOSED TYPHUS, ANTHRAX OR OTHER BIOLOGICAL AGENTS IN FIELD TESTS. A SMALLER NUMBER WERE SUBJECTS OF LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS, WHICH WERE CONDUCTED ON PEOPLE ARRESTED IN OCCUPIED COUNTRIES, AND PRISONERS OF WAR. /// HARRIS ACT /// I'M GIVING YOU CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATES. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TEN-THOUSAND AND TWELVE-THOUSAND CHINESE, KOREAN, RUSSIAN, P-O-W'S FROM VARIOUS WESTERN NATIONS, INCLUDING PROBABLY U-S SOLDIERS, AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHINESE AND SOVIET CITIZENS WERE KILLED IN FIELD TESTS AS THE JAPANESE WERE TRYING TO DEVELOP WEAPONS, DELIVERY SYSTEMS, THAT COULD CONVEY GERM AND CHEMICAL WARFARE TO THE ENEMY. /// END ACT /// MANY EXPERIMENTS WERE CARRIED OUT IN LABORATORIES NEAR HARBIN IN NORTHEASTERN CHINA. FIELD TESTS OF GERM AND CHEMICAL AGENTS MAY HAVE ALSO BEEN CONDUCTED IN CHINA AS WELL AS KOREA, BURMA, THAILAND, SINGAPORE, AND PRESENT-DAY INDONESIA. U-S RECORDS SHOW THAT AFTER THE WAR AND THE FALL OF JAPAN, U-S AUTHORITIES FACED A DILEMMA. AN OPEN TRIAL WOULD REVEAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION ABOUT EFFECTIVE METHODS OF GERM AND CHEMICAL WARFARE. HISTORIAN SHELDON HARRIS BELIEVES U-S AUTHORITIES ALSO WANTED ACCESS TO THE JAPANESE MEDICAL DATA. /// OPT HARRIS ACT /// THE UNITED STATES, AT THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO, THE MINUTE IT OCCUPIED JAPAN BEGAN NEGOTIATIONS WITH KNOWN WAR CRIMINALS FOR THEIR INFORMATION, THEIR DATA, THEIR SCIENTIFIC SKILLS, AND RIGHT FROM THE START -- DESPITE THE "UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER" PROPAGANDA -- THE NEGOTIATIONS WERE UNDERLAID BY THE PROPOSITION THAT NOTHING YOU REVEAL TO US WILL EVER BE USED IN A WAR CRIMES TRIAL. YOU WILL ULTIMATELY BE GRANTED IMMUNITY FOR EVERYTHING YOU DID, IF YOU WILL ONLY GIVE US THIS INFORMATION. /// END OPT -- END ACT /// AFTER THREE YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS, U-S OFFICIALS OFFERED IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL SHIRO ISHII (SHEE-ROH EE-SHEE), THE COMMANDER OF UNIT 731. NO MEMBER OF THAT UNIT WAS EVER PROSECUTED AS A WAR CRIMINAL. GENERAL ISHII DIED IN THE LATE 1950S, BUT SEVERAL HUNDRED MEMBERS OF UNIT 731 SURVIVE. AN OFFICIAL OF THE WIESENTHAL CENTER VISITED ONE OF THEM. IN JANUARY, RABBI ABRAHAM COOPER WENT TO THE HOME OF 76-YEAR-OLD TOSHIMI MIZOBUCHI (TOH-'SHEE-MEE MEE-ZOH-'BOO-CHEE), NEAR THE CITY OF KOBE. /// COOPER ACT /// HE IS THE RANKING SURVIVING OFFICER OF UNIT 731. I WAS GRACIOUSLY GREETED BY HE AND HIS WIFE. THEY KNEW WHO I WAS. THAT I WAS WITH THE WIESENTHAL CENTER. THAT SIMON WIESENTHAL IS THE WELL-KNOWN NAZI HUNTER. THAT I WAS GOING TO SHARE THE RESULTS OF MY DISCUSSION WITH HIM WITH THE PUBLIC, WITH THE PRESS. (HE WAS) ABSOLUTELY PROUD OF EVERYTHING HE DID. /// END ACT /// IN A TRANSCRIPT OF THEIR DISCUSSION, THE JAPANESE VETERAN OF UNIT 731 SAID HE KNEW OF THE MEDICAL TESTS, BUT DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN THEM. HE BELIEVED THEY WERE JUSTIFIED BECAUSE THEY WERE CARRIED OUT ON PEOPLE HE CALLED "SPIES OR CONSPIRATORS," WHO HAD BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH AND THEREFORE WERE VIEWED AS "MARUTA" (MAH-ROO-TAH), OR "LOGS." HE SAYS HE DOES NOT BELIEVE REPORTS OF THE MASS RELEASE OF GERM AGENTS IN VILLAGES. THE JAPANESE VETERAN NOTES THAT UNIT 731 HOLDS AN ANNUAL REUNION, AND HE INVITED A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER TO COME TO THE NEXT ONE. AFTER WORLD WAR TWO, THE U-S GOVERNMENT SEIZED THE RECORDS OF UNIT 731, BUT RETURNED THEM TO JAPAN IN 1958. U-S OFFICIALS SAY ONLY A FEW WERE COPIED. POLITICAL SCIENTIST ALFRED BALITZER, WHO HAS ALSO STUDIED THE ISSUE, FAULTS U-S AUTHORITIES FOR NOT PURSUING PROSECUTION OF MEMBERS OF UNIT 731. BUT HE SAYS IT IS NOW UP TO JAPAN TO OPEN ITS WARTIME RECORDS, TO FINALLY HEAL THE LINGERING WOUNDS FROM WORLD WAR TWO. A U-S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL EXPRESSES THE SAME HOPE. (SIGNED) NEB/PT 05-Mar-99 3:31 PM EST (2031 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .