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Researcher Finds Evidence of Japanese Wartime Vivisections

August 15, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ Nearly 60 Japanese army surgeons performed medical experiments on eight Chinese prisoners in Mongolia shortly before World War II, according to a top-secret report.

The report includes matter-of-fact descriptions with ``before″ and ``after″ illustrations of vivisections, amputations, inflictions of frostbite and other experiments carried out in January and February 1941. Japan invaded China in 1937. The prisoners were suspected guerrilla fighters.

The report was discovered by Akio Masuzawa, a historian at Waseda University. It was published in late July, shortly before the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

``Nothing like this (had) been found yet,″ Keiichi Tsuneishi, a professor of Japanese history at Kanagawa University, said Monday. ``So much of the record was destroyed or suppressed at the end of the war. The photos in this report, too, corroborate a lot of other cases where we have only written or eyewitness descriptions.″

The San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday on recently declassified American documents indicating that the U.S. government may have suppressed evidence of other Japanese wartime medical experiments on prisoners in exchange for access to data and tissue samples.

The report says the purpose of the experiments by the 58 army surgeons was to find ways of keeping troops as effective as possible in freezing tundra battle conditions.

It describes the testing and preparation of ``hypothetical frontline casualties″ and the infliction of multiple ``simulated wounds″ to the prisoners _ real bone-deep gashes and gunshot wounds.

Photos show the researchers testing the effects on the wounds of different ways of dragging and hauling the bleeding subjects across the frozen ground near Sonid Youqi, about 300 miles northwest of Beijing. They also show makeshift treatments under simulated battle conditions.

Some of the experiments, most of which were conducted outdoors, involved the freezing, thawing and testing of limbs. Photos also show amputations and vivisections, carried out as the surgeons physically restrained the prisoners.

Titled ``Top Secret: Results of Japanese Imperial Army Winter Hygienic Research,″ the report was discovered in pieces at a used bookstore in Tokyo by Masuzawa. It took several years to put back together properly, said Yasuhiro Kikuchi, who heads Gendai Shokan, the report’s publisher.

``Apparently someone threw it out with a bunch of old papers when someone died and it made its way to the bookstore,″ Kikuchi said.

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