Japan should answer demands for an apology and compensation made by Chinese citizens subjected to the Japanese germ warfare program during World War II, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said today (see GSN, July 19).
Yesterday, a Japanese court rejected a lawsuit filed by 180 survivors and relatives of victims.
“Germ warfare was one of the serious crimes of the Japanese militarist period during World War II,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement faxed to the Associated Press. “The Japanese government should properly deal with this problem by using an honest attitude, undertaking its full responsibilities and handling conscientiously the reasonable demands of the injured people.”
AP reported the lawsuit has uncovered information about Japan’s biological warfare program kept secret by Japan’s government and the United States following World War II.
For instance, Japanese veterans told the court that cholera, dysentery, anthrax and typhoid were mass-produced in the early 1940s at the Unit 731 base near the Chinese city of Harbin. Historians said the this unit may be responsible for as many as 250,000 deaths in the 1930s and ‘40s during the Japanese occupation of China (Joe McDonald, Associated Press, July 20)