While the Nazis were doing their horrific work in Germany, the Japanese outdid them in mainland Asia, undertaking a regime of ruthless experimentation the likes of which are too disturbing to imagine. Everyone knows about Nazi experimentation, but the story of Unit 731 is far less known, and all the more horrific for it. Unit 731 was a research base in Northeast China, and the home of more than 10,000 deaths by experiment. The patients were vivisected without anaesthesia after infection with diseases; pregnant women were vivisected and the fetus removed; limbs amputated to study blood loss; said limbs re-attached to the opposite side of the body; extremities were frozen by repeated immersion in water while left in icy conditions, then amputated or thawed to study gangrene; prisoners had their stomachs removed, and their oesophagus attached to their intestine directly; live humans were used to test grenades at various ranges and positions; flamethrowers; chemical and biological agents including plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, syphilis and gonorrhoea; being hung upside down until they choked to death; air injected into their arteries to cause embolism; horse urine injected in their kidneys; deprived of food and water till death; placed in high pressure chambers till death; being exposed to extreme cold; burned to see how well they could survive different degrees of burns; spun until death on a centrifuge; animal blood injections; lethal radiation doses; injected with sea water to see if it could be substituted for saline; and buried alive. A laundry list of human atrocities. While many of the Nazi doctors were at least brought to justice for their crimes, Unit 731 merely disbanded and General MacArthur gave immunity to its doctors in exchange for information on biological warfare, and the majority got off scott free. However, Russia brought war crimes proceedings against a number of the perpetrators, and sentenced them to hard labor in Siberia. I can’t help but think they got off light.