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Khabarovsk War Crime Trials were a series of hearings held between December 25 - 31st, 1949 in the Soviet Union's industrial city of Khabarovsk, (Хабáровск) situated on the Russian Far East (Дáльний Востóк). Here, twelve members of the Japanese Kwantung Army were tried as war criminals for manufacturing and using biological weapons during World War II.

During the trials, the accused, such as Major General Kiyashi Kawashima, testified that, as early as 1941, some 40 members of unit 731 air-dropped plague-contaminated fleas on Changde. These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks. (Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity, HarperCollins, 2004, pp. 220-221)

All twelve accused war criminals were found guilty, and sentenced to terms ranging between two and twenty-five years in a labour camp. All were repatriated to Japan in 1956; it was suggested that they were lightly sentenced in a plea bargain that provided the Soviet Union with all of the data and notes to the work of Unit 731. Others, who surrendered to the Americans, were granted amnesty in exchange for access to the data collected by them.

Accused and their sentences

  • General Otozō Yamada, former Commander-in-Chief of the Kwantung Army • 25 years
  • Lt-General Kajitsuka Ryuji, former Chief of Medical Administration • 25 years
  • Lt-General Takahashi Takaatsu, former Chief of the Veterinary Service • 25 years
  • Major General Kawashima Kiyoshi, former Chief of Unit 731 • 25 years
  • Major Karasawa Tomio, former Chief of a section of Unit 731 • 18 years
  • Lt-Colonel Nishi Toshihide, former Chief of a division of Unit 731 • 20 years
  • Major Onoue Masao, former Chief of a branch of Unit 731 • 12 years
  • Major General Sato Shunji, former Chief of Medical Service, 5th Army • 20 years
  • Lt. Hirazakura Zensaku, former researcher of Unit 100 • 10 years
  • Senior Sergeant Mitomo Kazuo, former member of Unit 100 • 15 years
  • Corporal Kikuchi Norimitsu, former medical orderly of Branch 643 of Unit 731 • 2 years
  • Kurushima Yuji, former lab orderly of Branch 162 of Unit 731 • 3 years

See also

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