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When America dropped the Atom bomb on Japan, few people realize that Japan had been planning to drop a bomb of their own design on America. This bomb was planned to strike San Diego and would have left millions dead but all buildings and infrastructure intact. This weapon of mass depopulation was the outcome of some of the world’s most grisly research spearheaded by Dr Shiro Ishii.

Dr Ishii was born in 1892 in Japan and studied Medicine at Kyoto Imperial University.


He joined the Imperial Japanese Army in 1921 as an army surgeon but caught the attention of his superiors by advocating the development of biological weapons. This was in direct violation of the Geneva Convention after World War 1 which banned the use of biological or chemical weapons. But at the time, Japan was keen to expand its border and was secretly preparing to absorb its neighbors by force. Ishii was given support from the highest levels of government. 

Japan provoked war with China in 1931 by detonating one of their own bridges with dynamite and then falsely accusing Chinese dissidents as an excuse for invasion. China’s forces were fractured by infighting between factions and quickly capitulated to the determined monolithic Japanese invaders. 

In 1936 Shiro Ishii was installed as the director of a new division, Unit 731, located on a massive compound of one hundred and fifty buildings spread across a 6 km square in the newly acquired Japanese state of Manchukuo (formerly Manchuria, China). The cover story for the research facility was that they were conducting “water purification” in an effort to reduce disease epidemics. In actual fact, they were studying how to create epidemics. 

Unit 731 practiced human experimentation including vivisection on prisoners of war. After infecting these subjects with disease they surgically removed their organs to study the effects, without using anesthetics to ensure that their results were not contaminated by decomposition or chemicals. They also did not discriminate. These cruel dissections were undertaken on women, children, and infants in addition to men. Other prisoners had limbs amputated to study blood loss. Others had their limbs frozen then thawed to study the effects of gangrene. They also used prisoners to test grenades and flamethrowers on. Some prisoners were starved to death to determine expected longevity in a famine. Some subjects were spun in centrifuges until dead, buried alive, crushed in high pressure chambers, injected with sea water, and many other reprehensible tests. He also had researchers conduct bizarre body part transpositions. More than 10 000 Chinese prisoners passed through the horror factory. These test subjects were referred derogatorily as "logs". 

Unit 731 also used the surrounding Chinese population as lab rats. To test dispersion of germs, they dropped ceramic bombs loaded with plague, cholera, and anthrax on non Japanese occupied areas of China, poisoned crops, and other inhuman acts killing an estimated 400 000 civilians. 

In 1945 the Russians invaded Manchukuo. Ishii ordered 600 prisoners machine gunned, then “barbecued” on outdoor metal sheets. He also ordered that the entire compound was to be demolished by detonation, but the staff left in such haste that his final order could not be carried out. 

Dr Ishii was never brought to justice as a war criminal. At the war’s conclusion, he used his research as a bargaining chip with American intelligence. Much like the disgraceful Operation Paperclip where 1500 Nazi scientists were employed by America instead of executed, Ishii and the staff of Unit 731 were erased from history until resurfacing in 2002, and paid comfortable stipends. The fear in America was that the research would have reached the Soviets if the members of Unit 731 were to stand trial and that their real world test data was incomparable and invaluable.


American forces also discovered Japanese submarines equipped with amphibious aircraft launched by catapult that could have been used to drop pestilence bombs. Plans to drop The Black Plague on San Diego disseminated by large balloons carried over by prevailing winds were also uncovered. 

Ishii died in 1959 of throat cancer at age 67. He may have regretted many of the horrific things he had done for his country as he is said to have become a Christian in his latter years, and embraced Catholicism on his deathbed.

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