cover image Factories of Death: Japanese CL

Factories of Death: Japanese CL

McHenry Harris, Sheldon H. Harris. Other, $29.95 (297pp) ISBN 978-0-415-09105-3

Harris, professor emeritus of history at California State University, here presents evidence from Chinese, American and KGB archives that Japanese scientists used human beings, including Allied prisoners of war, in biologial warfare (BW) research during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. The project was carried out in large part by the notorious Army Unit 731 under the direction of Major (later Lieutenant General) Ishii Shiro. Harris, who also maintains that American authorities made a postwar deal whereby Ishii and his staff disclosed their BW data in exchange for immunity from war-crimes prosecution, notes that U.S. intelligence agencies have only selectively released material pertaining to the Japanese BW program. The author inconclusively considers charges made during the 1950-53 Korean War that U.S. forces employed BW agents on the battlefield, possibly with the assistance of Japanese specialists. Scholars will appreciate Harris's assiduous research and analysis, but his dry presentation makes his book of doubtful interest to general readers. (Apr.)