The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court decision denying Chinese plaintiffs compensation for germ warfare atrocities committed in China by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war.

The lawsuit, filed in 1997 and 1999 by a combined 180 plaintiffs -- survivors and relatives of deceased victims -- had demanded 10 million yen in damages for each plaintiff and an apology from the Japanese government.

The plaintiffs charged that the Imperial army's infamous Unit 731 spread fleas infected with bubonic plague among the populace and gave them food and water laced with cholera, killing many civilians.