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The US government worked with Japanese war criminals to gather data and technologies for creating biological and chemical weapons. These war criminals had conducted cruel experiments on innocent Chinese people during Japan’s invasion of China. Much of the data they collected ended up in the hands of scientists at Fort Detrick, the hub of the US biological weapons program. After the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was formed in 1947, it also researched developing biowarfare weapons.

Unit 731, a notorious unit of the Japanese armed forces, committed egregious war crimes during World War II. They conducted horrific experiments on people whom they dehumanized as “logs.” These experiments included injecting diseases, depriving victims of water, testing biological weapons, subjecting individuals to extreme pressure, performing surgeries on living subjects, harvesting organs, amputating limbs, and testing conventional weapons. Victims ranged from kidnapped men, women (including pregnant women), and children to babies born from the rape of prisoners.

The victims came from various nationalities, with the majority being Chinese and a significant number being Russian. Unit 731 also produced biological weapons that were used in areas of China not under Japanese control, targeting cities, towns, water sources, and fields. Estimates suggest that up to half a million people were killed by Unit 731 and its related programs, with no survivors among the inmates. As the Second World War neared its end, all prisoners were executed to hide evidence of the atrocities committed by the unit.

In the cover-up operation, the U.S. government paid money to get information about human experiments done in China, as stated in two declassified U.S. government documents. They paid a total amount between 150,000 yen to 200,000 yen to former members of the unit. Back then, 200,000 yen would be worth around 20 million yen to 40 million yen today.

Adhering to the Potsdam Declaration, a panel was assembled for the Tokyo trials to prosecute several Japanese officials, many of whom were successfully tried and convicted. However, in 1981, Judge Bert Röling, one of the last remaining surviving members of the Tokyo Tribunal, expressed his dismay. He lamented that the US government had concealed the centrally ordered war crimes committed by Unit 731.

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