National

War veteran gives Unit 731 testimony

An 84-year-old former Imperial Japanese Army police officer who was stationed in Japan’s puppet state of Manchuria during World War II told the Tokyo District Court on Oct. 1 that the army conducted germ warfare experiments on innocent Chinese civilians.Yutaka Mio spoke before the court for Chinese plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government in 1995, claiming members of their families were killed by the experiments. The plaintiffs are demanding an apology and 20 million yen each in damages from the Japanese government.Mio said that as a military policeman in 1944, he took four Chinese men, two of whom he believes were innocent, to the army’s Unit 731 in Dalian. He confirmed that one of the two men was Wang Yaoxuan, father of Wang Yiping, one of the plaintiffs.”I have to say that my act (of taking innocent men to Unit 731) should be regarded as murder,” Mio told the court, crying. “And I should be called a murderer.”He said his police unit arrested Chen Delong in 1943 for spying for the Soviet Union. Because Chen mentioned the names of Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Xuenian as his colleagues during the interrogation, Mio and his subordinates also arrested the two men.”The two remained mute, but my boss told me that the reason why they kept silent was because they were high-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party,” Mio said. “So I kept torturing them. I made them lay down, I covered their mouths, tied their arms and legs, put handkerchiefs on their noses and dumped water on them.”Unable to breathe, they screamed ‘OK, I will tell you!’ But we didn’t get anything that could connect them with spying.” Then, acting on the orders of his superior, Mio took the two men by train to Unit 731 in Dalian, he said.Like other army police officers, Mio did not know exactly what Unit 731 was doing at the time, but he knew that the men he took there would never return alive. He said 104 army policemen who were taken to war-criminal detention facilities after World War II confessed they had sent a total of 504 Chinese to Unit 731.Taking into account the fact that there were more than 5,000 Imperial Japanese Army policemen in Manchuria during the war, he said he estimates that more than 3,000 Chinese were victims of Unit 731’s biological experiments. From 1933 to 1936, the Japanese army conducted biological experiments on men from local anti-Japanese militia groups who were captured, he said.”I hope my testimony will help let the Japanese people know what the army did during Japan’s aggression in China,” he added. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said it may be the first time that a former Japanese military official has testified before a Japanese court about Japan’s atrocities in China.