Wartime documents show details of Japanese atrocities

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A total of 89 wartime documents made public on Friday show details of atrocities Japanese troops committed in China during World War Two (WWII).

Wartime documents show details of Japanese atrocities. [chinanews.com]

Wartime documents show details of Japanese atrocities. [chinanews.com] 

The files, once kept by the invading Japanese army in Northeast China, are a response to Japan's right-wing politicians' denial of Japan's wartime crimes in China, experts said.

The documents represent only a small portion of the nearly 100,000 wartime Japanese files retrieved underground during construction work in the early 1950s, said Yin Huai, president of the Jilin Provincial Archives in Changchun, capital of Jilin Province. Ninety percent of the files are in Japanese.

The invading troops buried some of their archives when fleeing Changchun, the then "capital" of the puppet Manchu State, in wake of a war with the Soviet Union, as they had no time to burn the documents.

Twenty-five files revealed conditions at some "comfort stations", including ratios between Japanese soldiers and "comfort women" and details of gruesome rapes.

The files also showed that the Japanese troops used "public money", evidence of organized activities, when setting up "comfort stations" and abducting and trafficking Chinese women and forcing them into sex slavery.

Among six other documents, there are Japanese newspapers published on Dec. 23, 1937 depicting gruesome killings during the Nanjing Massacre.

The newspaper reported that Japanese invaders killed 85,000 people within three days, and in one case, bodies were scattered kilometers from a port to a river.

Several letters Japanese soldiers wrote but seized by army officers expose the invaders' rapes of local women. "Japanese armies raped tens of thousands of women in Nanjing, including a 12-year-old girl, and many were even killed thereafter. The crimes were appalling," said one letter.

Six files documented the transfer of prisoners to the notorious Unit 731 where bacterial experiments on humans were carried out. The Japanese army believed the prisoners were spies for the Soviet Union.

Unit 731 was a top-secret biological and chemical warfare research base established in Harbin in 1935, serving as the nerve center of Japan's biological warfare in China and Southeast Asia during WWII. Fourteen files showed Japanese troops' strict management and torture of Chinese laborers, including teenagers.

The laborers were under close watch and suffered inhumane treatment. Many of them became ill and even died, according to the files. "Bodies of Chinese workers were strewn everywhere and dogs were eating corpses like eating delicious food," said one file.

The documents also showed the migration of a large number of Japanese citizens to China's Northeast during the colonial rule. The newcomers grabbed land of local farmers and even beat and killed many.

The files also had accounts of detention and maltreatment of prisoners from the U.S. and British army forces.

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