Monday, September 18, 2006

Japanese bio-warfare victim mass grave alleged

It seems the book on WWII history is yet to be closed. Buried evidence of previously unknown horrors still emerges more than 60 years later.

Those people who think the book is closed on Iraq's WMD efforts would do well to reflect on how long it has taken for the detailed story of WWII to develop. A student of history would caution that their hubris is not warranted.

Taipei Times
The Toyama No. 5 apartment block is quiet at midday -- laundry flapping from balconies, old people taking an after-lunch stroll. But the building and its nearby park may be sitting on a gruesome World War II secret.

A wartime nurse has broken more than 60 years of silence to reveal her part in burying dozens -- perhaps hundreds -- of bodies there as US forces occupied the Japanese capital.

The way experts see it, these were no ordinary casualties of war, but possible victims of Tokyo's shadowy wartime experiments on live prisoners of war -- an atrocity that has never been officially recognized by the Japanese government.

The neighborhood on the west side of Tokyo is deeply troubled.

"I feel sorry for remains with such a sad history," said Teppei Kuroda, a college senior who lives there.

Former nurse Toyo Ishii says that during the weeks following Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, she and colleagues at an army hospital at the site were ordered to bury corpses, bones and body parts -- she doesn't know how many -- before the Americans arrived.

A mass grave of between 62 and more than 100 possible war-experiment victims was uncovered in a nearby area in 1989. But Ishii's account -- publicly released in June -- could yield a far larger number and a firmer connection to Unit 731, Japan's dreaded germ and biological warfare outfit...

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