18. Despite Murdering Hundreds of Thousands, Dr. Ishii Was Never Held Accountable For His Evil Deeds
Dr. Shiro Ishii’s evil experiments killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese from bubonic plague, anthrax, cholera, and other diseases. According to the most reliable recent estimate, from the 2002 International Symposium on the Crimes of Biological Warfare, the number of his victims might have been as high as 580,000. Yet, Ishii never faced a war crimes tribunal, nor was he ever prosecuted for his horrific deeds. In August, 1945, just before the Soviets conquered Manchuria, he evacuated Unit 731 back to Japan, destroyed most traces of his camps, and had all remaining prisoners, plus 600 workers, murdered.
The Soviets nonetheless captured some documents, which they used in their own biological warfare program. After the war, American microbiologists deemed Ishii’s work “absolutely invaluable .. [it] could never have been obtained in the United States because of scruples attached to experiments on humans“. So he cut a deal to avoid prosecution, in exchange for sharing the results of his experiments with the US military. Although Unit 731’s victims included American POWs, General Douglas MacArthur, who ran the occupation of the Japan, officially denied the existence of any Japanese experiments upon Americans. Ishii lived a free man, until his death in 1959 from throat cancer.