Japan’s Kantokuen plan in 1941 further supports the thesis that Unit 731 and Unit 100 were created, not solely but in part, in order to prepare bacteriological weapons to use in an invasion of the USSR. Kantokuen was an operational plan created by the General Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army and approved by Emperor Hirohito for an invasion and occupation of the far eastern region of the USSR, capitalizing on the German Army’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Kantokuen involved a three-step readiness phase followed by a three-phase offensive to isolate and destroy the Soviet Army and occupy the eastern Soviet cities in no more than six months. The plan involved a heavy use of chemical and biological weapons.
A map outlining the initial Japanese offensive moves against the Soviet Union, with final objective being a line that ran along the western slope of the Greater Khingan Range
Kantokuen was never deployed against the USSR. Even as the build up stage of Kantokuen was underway, external conflicts with outside powers, one military against China and the other economic against the United States and its allies, continued to drag on. At about this time, both Hideki Tojo and the Emperor pulled their support in regard to an invasion of the USSR. While both supported a reinforcement of troops in Manchuria, neither were willing to engage in military hostilities. As Japan began to face issues with the British, the Dutch, French, and Americans in Southern Asia, especially after the US implemented an embargo on Japan on August 1, attention shifted to approve of Japan’s new destructive war in the south.26 Japan did not abandon all plans to attack the USSR, however. For example, through 1942 extensive reconnaissance of the border region was conducted while detailed maps were created indicating targets of opportunity for biological warfare.
The End of WWII and Liquidations of Units 731 and 100
On August 9, 1945 the Soviet Union officially declared war on Japan, and the Red Army moved into Japanese-occupied Manchuria. In response to the Soviets’ declaration of war, the Japanese government in Tokyo ordered that all the research facilities in Manchuria be destroyed to erase all incriminating material. Unit 100, located just south of Changchun, and Unit 731, located in the cluster of villages known as Ping Fan, had carried out some of Japan’s most horrific war crimes during World War Two.
Soviet gains in North East Asia, August 1945
The news of the Red Army’s invasion of Manchuria forced General Shiro Ishii, the head of Unit 731 and one of the main instigators of Chemical and Bacteriological warfare research, to order the destruction of the research facilities. A skeleton crew began the liquidation of Unit 731 on either August 9 or 10, while the rest of Unit 731 evacuated. All test subjects, who had been held prisoner, were killed and cremated so no remains would remain. The design of the facilities, however, made them hard to destroy by bombing, and several remains of the building were left standing when the Soviets arrived.
Unit 731 Cover-up : The Operation Paperclip of the East
During the occupation of Japan after WWII, the US had an important decision to make. Should they hold those responsible for atrocities during the war accountable or should they take the information to advance national interest?
The researchers who worked at Unit 731, the biological and chemical warfare research and development unit, were given immunity in exchange for their research data. Unit 731 included factories filled with humans, tested with various diseases, as well as field tests on civilians of the Soviet Union and China. Imperial Japan had aspirations to develop operative tools of biological warfare, one that was prohibited after World War I. Using alive human captives, the Japanese scientists of the medical profession gathered data on the progression of the diseases until the "human guinea pigs" collapsed. Most of these scientists lived peacefully after WWII, with a few of them having to go through the Khabarovsk Trial, which was deemed by the West as communist propaganda.
Most of the horrors on Unit 731 had been hearsays and rumors until recently with the passing of the Freedom of Information Act. This book is based on documents found in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Russian archival documents, and translations of the Khabarovsk Trial to paint a complete picture of the cover-up of the atrocious act of Unit 731. Readers could expect to questions themselves with this evidence: Should war crimes be covered up in the name of national interest?