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The founder of Green Cross Corp., an Osaka-based pharmaceutical firm, played a major role shortly after World War II in preventing senior members of Unit 731 from being prosecuted as war criminals, it was learned Friday.

Ryoichi Naito, a physician and key member of the unit, drafted a plan in which unit leaders would hand over to the U.S. military most of the information related to the unit’s efforts to develop biological and chemical weapons.

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