Special Research Units

Special Research Units

Special Research Units were covert medical experiment units of the "Imperial Japanese Army" which conducted biological warfare research and development through human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945) and World War II. These units responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel. Initially set up as a political and ideological section of the Kempeitai military police of pre-Pacific War Japan, they were meant to counter the ideological or political influence of Japan's enemies, and to reinforce the ideology of military units.

In military campaigns, the Japanese army used biological weapons on Chinese soldiers and civilians. This employment was largely viewed as ineffective, due to inefficient delivery systems. However, information has surfaced in the last decade, which alleges a more active Japanese usage. For example, firsthand accounts testify the Japanese infected civilians through the distribution of plague-infested foodstuffs, such as dumplings and vegetables. There are also reports of contaminated water supplies. Such estimates report over 580,000 victims, largely due to plague and cholera outbreaks. In addition, repeated seasonal outbreaks after the conclusion of the war bring the death toll much higher. During Changde chemical weapon attack attacks, the Japanese also employed biological warfare by intentionally spreading cholera, dysentery, typhoid, bubonic plague, and anthrax. Other battles include Kaimingye germ weapon attack.

Related activities

*Running prisoner of war and forced labor and special camps (The Kempeitai apparently provided guards for several 'human experimentation' units which housed 'difficult' prisoners, including over 3,500 Americans, Chinese, Europeans, Koreans and Russians sent to Unit 100 and Unit 731.}
*Provision of "comfort" women ("jugun ianfu") for the "comfort houses" (These were brothels maintained by the IJA for the use of its troops. Originally Japanese volunteers were used but as these became rare or limited to the use of officers, many Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, and some European women were kidnapped and placed in these facilities to be "used" by members of Japan's military. The Kempeitai also regulated the accommodation facilities of the brothels, checked the identities of their customers, and controlled the violence and drunkenness within.)
*Managed esoteric sciences, alternative energy sources, and advanced technologies for media of Unit 831 special section joining with Black Dragon/Green Dragon Societies and Tibetan Green Men Order.

The Units

Unit 731 was the headquarters of many subsidiary units used by the Japanese to research biological warfare; other units included
* Unit 100 (Shenyang)
* Unit 200 (Manchuria)
* Unit 516 (Qiqihar)
* Unit 543 (Hailar)
* Unit 731 (Pingfang)
* Unit 773 (Songo)
* Unit Ei 1644 (Nanjing)
* Unit 1855 (Nanjing)
* Unit 2646 or Unit 80 (Hailar)
* Unit 8604 or Nami Unit (Guangzhou)
* Unit 9420 or Oka Unit (Singapore)


A special project code-named "Maruta" used human beings for experiments. Test subjects were gathered from the surrounding population and were sometimes referred to euphemistically as nihongo|"logs"|丸太|maruta.cite news | title = Doctors of Depravity | publisher = Daily Mail | author = Christopher Hudson |date=2 March 2007 | url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=439776&in_page_id=1770] This term originated as a joke on the part of the staff because the official cover story for the facility given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill. [ [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=439776&in_page_id=1770 Doctors of Depravity | Mail Online ] ] The test subjects were selected to give a wide cross section of the population, and included common criminals, captured bandits and anti-Japanese partisans, political prisoners, and also people rounded up by the secret police for alleged "suspicious activities" and included infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.


* Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia. cite news | title = Dissect them alive: order not to be disobeyed | author = Richard Lloyd Parry | publisher = Times Online |date=February 25, 2007 | url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1438491.ece]
* Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was felt that the decomposition process would affect the results. [ [http://www.technologyartist.com/unit_731/ Interview with former Unit 731 member Nobuo Kamada] ] The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE2D71630F934A25750C0A963958260&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=print "Unmasking Horror"] Nicholas D. Kristof (March 17, 1995) New York Times. A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity]
* Vivisections were also performed on pregnant women, sometimes impregnated by doctors, and the fetus removed. [ [http://www.nesa.org.uk/html/unlocking_a_deadly_secret.htm Unlocking a deadly secret] Photos of vivisection ]
* Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss.
* Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body.
* Some prisoners' limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
* Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines.
* Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc. were removed from some prisoners. [ [http://www.ww2pacific.com/unit731.html Japan Admits Dissecting WW-II POWs] James Bauer. "Japanese Unit 731 Biological Warfare Unit" Viewed January 16, 2007]

In 2007, Doctor Ken Yuasa testified to the "Japan Times" that "I was afraid during my first vivisection, but the second time around, it was much easier. By the third time, I was willing to do it." He believes at least 1,000 persons, including surgeons, were involved in vivisections over mainland China. ["Vivisectionist recalls his day of reckoning", http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071024w1.html]

Weapons testing

* Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in different positions.
* Flame throwers were tested on humans.
* Humans were tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons and explosive bombs.

Germ warfare attacks

* Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects.
* To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea, then studied.
* Prisoners were infested with fleas in order to acquire large quantities of disease-carrying fleas for the purposes of studying the viability of germ warfare.
* Plague fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. The resulting cholera, anthrax, and plague were estimated to have killed around 200,000 Chinese civilians.
* Tularemia was tested on Chinese civilians. [ [http://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/epr/historyofbt/wmcc/07_tularemia_cc.wmv Video] adapted from "Biological Warfare & Terrorism: The Military and Public Health Response", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 21, 2007]
* Unit 731 and its affiliated units (Unit 1644, Unit 100, et cetera) were actively involved not only in research and development, but also in experimental deployment of epidemic-creating biowarfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both civilian and military) throughout World War II. Plague-infested fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, coastal Ningbo in 1940, and Changde, Hunan Province, in 1941. This military aerial spraying killed thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics. [Barenblatt, Daniel. "A Plague Upon Humanity: the Secret Genocide of Axis Japan's Germ Warfare Operation", HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN 0-06-018625-9 ]

Other experiments

Prisoners were subjected to other experiments such as:
* being hung upside down to see how long it would take for them to choke to death.
* having air injected into their arteries to determine the time until the onset of embolism.
* having horse urine injected into their kidneys.
* being deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death.
* being placed into high-pressure chambers until death.
* being exposed to extreme temperatures and developed frostbite to determine how long humans could survive with such an affliction, and to determine the effects of rotting and gangrene on human flesh.
* having experiments performed upon prisoners to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival.
* being placed into centrifuges and spun until dead.
* having animal blood injected and the effects studied.
* being exposed to lethal doses of x-ray radiation.
* having various chemical weapons tested on prisoners inside gas chambers.
* being injected with sea water to determine if it could be a substitute for saline.
* being given a large amount of water to drink and the effect observed

ee also

* Kempeitai Political Department and Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory


* [http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/kempei/index.html U.S. Report on "Kempei" (1945)]

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