China to open Japanese army’s wartime ‘chemical warfare lab’ to public

The research lab where biological warfare was tested during the second Sino-Japanese war is being cleared in Harbin, Heilongjiang province

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 1:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 6:59pm


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A core area of the research laboratory in which the Japanese army conducted lethal experiments on prisoners during the second Sino-Japanese war will be opened to the public next year in Heilongjiang.

The lab and prison in Harbin where people were kept for experiments by the notorious Unit 731, the covert biological and chemical warfare research unit, is being cleared, Xinhua reports.

The process will be completed by October, and that part of the lab will be opened to the public next year, the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the war, which began in 1937.

Jin Chengmin, curator of the Unit 731 War Crimes Museum, told Xinhua that Japanese troops had produced bacteria in the lab – which he called direct evidence that the unit had conducted research on biological warfare and dissected human bodies.

The Unit 731 museum occupies 248,000 square metres in which more than 3,000 people were used for experimentation.

The area to be opened is the foundation of the Sifang Building, measuring 170 metres by 140 metres, and occupying 15,000 square metres. The building was bombed by the Japanese before they left in haste.

Only the foundation of the building was left in 1982. A dig conducted in August 2008 revealed the foundation of the central corridor and the prison.

The announcement came after the State Archives Administration’s release of the full texts of confessions by 45 Japanese war criminals on Thursday. One is released online every day.

About 1,100 Japanese war criminals were held in custody in China between 1950 and 1956, and 45 stood military trials at the Supreme People’s Court.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and right-wing politicians’ continue to deny war crimes took place in China.

On Monday, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese president to attend a commemoration of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which marked the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war. In a speech at the site of the bridge in southwest Beijing, he denounced what he called Japan’s wartime atrocities.