Former members of the Imperial Japanese Army planning to speak in the United States and Canada on Japan’s wartime atrocities in Asia may be barred from entering the two countries, organizers of the tour said Tuesday.

Kohken Tsuchiya, a lawyer and leader of the group organizing the tour, said his group received a fax Tuesday morning from the U.S. Justice Department that said Yoshio Shinozuka, a former member of biological warfare Unit 731, and Shiro Azuma, a witness of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, would not be permitted to enter the country because they had been involved in “crimes against humanity.”

The group members said, however, that the two were later told by U.S. Embassy officials in Tokyo that they may be granted an entry permit. The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly placed 35 Japanese on its “watch list” under a 1979 law that bars individuals implicated in acts of persecution committed by Nazi Germany or its allies.

Shinozuka and Azuma were told Monday evening by the Canadian Embassy that they would also not be allowed to enter Canada. Takemitsu Ogawa, a former army surgeon, was told he must provide proof that he was not involved in the atrocious acts he is accused of, said Hiromitsu Masuda, another member of the group.

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