He was a cheerful old farmer that knows how to joke around but when he switched to the subject of Unit 731, his face became blank and his demeanor was rigid as he began to explain what it was like to cut open a 30-year old man who is tied naked to a bed and to dissect him alive, without anesthetic. "The fellow knew that it was over for him and so he didn't struggle when they led him into the room and tied him down," recalled the 72-year-old farmer, describing his time as a medical assistant in a Japanese army unit in China during World War II. "But when I picked up the scalpel, that's when he began screaming " (Stringer). Unit 731 was a secret Japanese research program during and after World War II, but what most people don't know is that Unit 731 was a travesty in world history that included indescribably cruel experiments, malicious germ warfare, and a surprising cover up by the United States. .
The headquarters of Unit 731 were at Pingfan, a district of Harbin, China, and it included an airport, railway stations, and dungeons. Comparable in size to Germany's notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, Unit 731's facility, also known as the Asian Auschwitz, was in an isolated location which was chosen for secrecy and security. (Deezen) Pingfan's compound was six square kilometers in size and it housed 150 buildings including administrative buildings, laboratories, workers' dormitories, barracks, an autopsy-dissecting building, and a special prison to house human test subjects. In an attempt to destroy the evidence, retreating Japanese troops burned down most of Pingfan, but even today, a local factory still fires up an incinerator where victims of medical experiments - at least 3,000 men, women, and children - were incinerated. (Guyatt).
The advantage of China, from the Japanese point of view, was the availability of research subjects on whom experiments could be done and germs could be tested.