Statement of the Chinese Plaintiffs Legal Team

Lawsuit against the Japanese Germ Warfare
August 30, 2002
Head of the Legal Team Attorney Kohken Tsuchiya
General Secretary of the Legal Team Attorney Keiichiro Ichinose
Attorney Tadanori Onitsuka
Attorney Syoji Nishimura
Attorney Hideyuki Shiino
Attorney Kazuki Kayano
Attorney Hidehiro Marui
Attorney Jun Ogino

On August 30, 2002, Tokyo District Court gave a judgment over the trial of the germ warfare conducted by Unit 731. The ruling rejected compensations and an apology from Japan (defendant), sought by 180 Chinese plaintiffs who are the victims of germ warfare.
Germ warfare conducted by the Japanese former military is one of the most detestable and brutal war crimes in human history, as the Holocaust by Nazi Germany is. However, Japan has never admitted to the brutality of germ warfare although more than 50 years have passed since Japan was defeated at World War Two. Nevertheless, Japan has concealed the evidence of germ warfare thoroughly.
Chinese germ warfare victims have filed a lawsuit against Japan to pursue its national liability, to restore their human dignity. This trial was the first case of judging the Japanese germ warfare on the judiciary. Japan (defendant) did not admit to any facts of germ warfare at this trial at first. However, as the facts of germ warfare are proved gradually through taking of evidence, the truth of germ warfare became fully evident. Thus, the court had no choice but accept the brutality of Japanese germ warfare.
However, the court rejected compensations and an apology sought by plaintiffs. We, as the defense team, are indignated by the unfair judgment given in the court. We impeach for this misjudgment.
Today, the plaintiff group took the procedures for an appealing. We, as the defense team, with the plaintiff group, are determined to fight this injustice until we win in this case.

As for International law, your interpretation was that Article 3 of the Hague Convention on War on Land does not assure individual rights of claims, in accordance with the theories prevalent until the 19th century. As for domestic law, you have applied the principles of Meiji Constitution that assure the sovereignty of the emperor, stating that the nation is not responsible for anything, i.e., it has no legal obligation to compensate for any damages.
Obviously, the principles used in this trial are against the ideal of justice and fair. They are nothing but the out-dated law principles of the former regimes.
In the first place, Japan planned and ordered a massacre of civilians, let scientists and doctors to develop biological weapons and actually conducted germ warfare in China. As a result, it caused the epidemic of plague, cholera and other infectious diseases among Chinese citizens.
The areas in China, damaged by germ warfare are surprisingly scattered and large. Even though the damages sought in this trial are from mere Zhejiang and Hunan provinces, the areas damaged by germ warfare are much larger with estimated one or ten million inhabitants. Japanese germ warfare caused the epidemic of fatal diseases in those areas. The causalities and the victims injured by germ warfare could reach one hundred thousand. The victims' blood relatives who went through the miserable processes of family disintegrations caused by germ warfare could reach one million. Germ warfare ruined villages, families and houses where people had been living and the plague and other germs destructed the eco-system of the regions.
Since it is always difficult to ascertain the places, the times, the types of biological weapons used in germ warfare, the damages may be much greater.
As stated above, germ warfare brought unspeakable damages to China and its citizens.
Moreover, Japan has concealed the evidence of germ warfare and refused to admit to the brutality even after World War Two. In fact, at Judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Japan gave information about its germ warfare secretly to the US in order not to extend the war liability of germ warfare to central military personnel and the emperor of Japan. What Japan did to conceal the facts of germ warfare is not justifiable.
In other words, injustice of Japan (defender) regarding its germ warfare is obvious. Nevertheless, the law principles which cannot address Japanese national liability of germ warfare is completely against the ideal of justice and fair. We think those principles have no existence values.
Germ warfare is nothing but a brutal war crime that deprives of human dignity. Law principles that assure and restore human dignity will pave the way for the abolition of war. Thus, the principles of war liability should be based on individual sovereignty of rights. The principles used by court are completely against the current trend that war is considered illegal in International Humanitarian Law and those principles shut up the way to overcome war.
We, as the defense team, believe that the out-dated law principles, which court has long persisted over war compensation matters, should be changed in these trials of germ warfare.

The Plaintiffs and the defense team put all their efforts to fight in the first trial. We obtained the important clues at this trial, which will help to make the defendant accept the damages in an apealing.
First, the ruling admitted to the facts of Japanese germ warfare for the first time in court as following.
1. Unit 731, 1644 and some other units conducted germ warfare with plague and cholera germ according to orders of Army Central, in several Chinese areas from 1940 to 1942.
2. Germ warfare directly caused the epidemic of plague and cholera in the cities that the plaintiffs accused of, such as Quzhou, Ningbo, Changde or Jiangshan.
3. Germ warfare indirectly caused the epidemic of plague and cholera in the cities that the plaintiffs accused of, such as Yiwu, Dongyang, Chongshan village or Taxiazhou as the epidemic from Quzhou had reached those cities.
4. There were more than ten thousand germ warfare casualties in the mere eight cities that the plaintiffs accused of.
5. The damages of 180 plaintiffs are accepted as the damages caused by germ warfare in accordance with the written and spoken statements made by plaintiffs in court.

As stated above, the ruling fully admitted the basic historical facts that the plaintiffs had asserted.
The authorization of the facts of germ warfare by the ruling should be basis for the defendant's liability, and we believe that this will make judges to accept the national liability in an appealing.

Next, the ruling admitted that the national liability was authorized in accordance with international customary law based on Article 3 of the Hague Convention for War on Land. The authorization has two stages as following.
First, the judgment was given in accordance with the prohibition of "the use of biological weapons in war" in the Geneva Protocol on Poisonous Gas. At the time of Japanese germ warfare, the Geneva Protocol had been already enacted. Thus, the ruling admitted that the germ warfare should have been against the international customary law containing the Geneva Protocol.
Second, the judgment is based on the fact that germ warfare should have been considered in accordance with Article 23, Section 1 of The Hague Convention which states that "the use of weapons that cause excessive harm or unnecessary suffering is prohibited" as well as the other prohibitions of the use of certain weapons in international customary law as in the Geneva Protocol. At the time of Japanese germ warfare, the ruling admitted that international customary law in the provisions of Article 3 of the Hague convention, should have aroused the national liability.
The authorization of the facts stated above by the ruling provides the basic structures of international humanitarian law regarding germ warfare. It is decisively significant as well.
However, the ruling claimed that the China gave up its claims for compensation through the events of the 1972 Japan-China Joint Communique and China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship. We believe that this claim by the ruling was made without any thorough consideration. In fact, at the National People's Congress in March 1995, Vice Premier JIANG Chunyun stated, "What China gave up was not compensations between individuals and nations, but only between nations. The government should not interfere with the compensation matters, since each individual has a right to claim it." China has continuously stated similar viewpoints as well.
As stated above, what dealt in the Japan-China Joint Communique was merely about the compensation claimed by Chinese government. Individual claims for compensation from Chinese war victims as individual are not at all limited. With the reference to the Japan-China Joint Communique, the judgment failed to give any verifiable interpretations of it. We, as the defense team believe that we can defeat such a flawless law principle suggested by the ruling.

Today, the world faces the great danger of war. In fact, many wars and conflicts still has existed in the world, such as the Gulf War in the end of the 20th century, Kosovo War, or the latest Afghanistan War starting from October 2001.The danger of war by the US on Iraq, further on Iran or North Korea has aroused as well. It seems like imperial aggressions came back onto our history again.
The Koizumi cabinet has implemented Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law in October 2001 and sent the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Indian Ocean to join the War on Afghanistan. The Koizumi cabinet also plans to implement the national emergency legislation law this year in order to mobilize citizens for the upcoming War on Iraq.
Germ warfare conducted by the former Japanese military is one of the most anti-humanitarian war crimes. Japanese government has long avoided the liability of this war crime over 50 years. The judgment gave a question to the political attitudes of Japanese government, which always tried to avoid any liability on germ warfare. Since the judgment further leads to acceptance of aggression wars, we must not accept it. We, as the peace-loving citizens, are the ones who do not ignore the evil rolls that will be played as a result of this judgment and counterattack in the next trial.
The more people know about the facts of germ warfare, the more advantages we will have in an appealing. The day after the judgment, the front page of each newspaper reported that the ruling had finally admitted to the facts of germ warfare. It is estimated that the majority of Japanese people came to know for the fist time about the Japanese germ warfare during World War Two with these reports. Still, few Japanese people recognize this brutality.
When the number of Japanese citizens who know the facts about germ warfare grows drastically and public opinions in favor of us surround court and move conscience of judges, we believe that the right judgment will be given to compensate damages and offer a formal apology from Japanese government for the germ warfare victims.
We, as the defense team, with the plaintiff and support groups, are determined to fight in court until we win a trial.

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