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China Plans Tours of World War II Japanese Biowarfare Lab

Personnel excavate World War II-era Japanese chemical weapons in northeastern China in 2006. Beijing plans next year to start allowing visitors at a biological- and chemical-arms laboratory operated by Japan during the war. Personnel excavate World War II-era Japanese chemical weapons in northeastern China in 2006. Beijing plans next year to start allowing visitors at a biological- and chemical-arms laboratory operated by Japan during the war. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

China plans next year to begin allowing visits to a biological- and chemical-warfare facility used by Japan during World War II, the Xinhua News Agency reports.

A project manager on Monday said the move would showcase the often-fatal human experiments once conducted by Japanese scientists at the site, located in the Chinese city of Harbin. Crews are now excavating the laboratory, which hosted research by a Japanese army unit that specialized in developing biological and chemical agents for use in combat.

"We will try to open it to the public around the 70th anniversary of victory in the anti-Japanese War," said Jin Chengmin, curator of the Museum of Evidence of War Crimes by Japanese Army Unit 731.

The laboratory operated in secrecy between its 1935 launch and its destruction a decade later, according to Xinhua. Japanese troops demolished the facility in anticipation of its capture by invading Soviet forces, the Chinese state-run news service reported.

The site's research was responsible for the death of more than 10,000 people, Xinhua said. The individuals who died in experiments reportedly included noncombatants and captured military personnel from China, the Soviet Union, the Korean Peninsula and Mongolia.

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