Japanese Crimes Against China Detailed by WWII Files

Just under ninety WWII files have recently come to light which portray in thorough detail a number of Japanese acts against China during the war. Part of the reason for their public release was as retaliation in an ongoing argument between the two nations concerning the status of Japan’s amends regarding the war. China released the WWII files feeling that Japan is still overly denying their commission of criminal acts.

As it turns out, a number of documents were uncovered in the mid-twentieth century, with said documents numbering to almost one hundred thousand. Not all of these were among those released, and in fact the grand majority of them remain private. Even so, the WWII files that are now public contain evidence that many of the actions taken by the Japanese during the war were inhumane or at least funded inhumane pursuits. These documents were originally written and maintained by the Japanese themselves during the time of the war, but had been buried for quite some time.

Some of these documents provide details on the female prisoners used as sex slaves, and state that these crimes were publicly funded. While the use sex slavery by the Japanese is still considered by many to be abhorrent, the WWII files also contain details on the arguably much worse crimes committed at the Nanjing Massacre. Tens of thousands of deaths are recorded in these documents, and not all of the casualties are military personnel, the Xinhuanet reports.

Aside from the rapes and murders committed by various soldiers, there was also some experimentation done on prisoners. These prisoners were submitted to torture exercises before being exposed to chemicals used for the furtherance of biological warfare. According to the WWII files, their bodies were not always properly disposed of and were sometimes left to be consumed by stray animals. Many prisoners were also required to carry heavy workloads. In general, prisoners could not expect humane treatment.

Before the release of the WWII files by the Chinese, Japanese officials have largely maintained that they have apologized for their actions during the Second World War and that the continued requests by China for reparations have been excessive. The two countries have been debating this for some time with no real resolution. Much of what has been detailed in the WWII files was already known to some extent, but the documentation may well result in further strained relations between the two nations.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE