Monday, Nov. 27, 2006
Vivisection on Filipinos admitted
Wartime medic says victims included women, children
OSAKA (Kyodo) A former medic in the Imperial Japanese Navy says he carried out vivisection on about 30 prisoners, including women and children, in the Philippines during World War II.
Akira Makino, a former Imperial Japanese Navy medic, holds
a list of the names of the men in his unit, at his home in Hirakata,
the first time anyone in the wartime military has admitted that experiments
were conducted on human beings in the
experiments are known to have been conducted in northern
former naval medic, Akira Makino, 84, of
"The souls of those who died would not be soothed if the story remained buried," he said.
belonged to the medical corps of the navy's No. 33 patrol unit and was assigned
to Zamboanga air base on
The experiments on live prisoners began that December, according to Makino. He was 22 at the time.
by a doctor in his 30s, Makino took two Filipino men captured as
The prisoners were undressed and tied to operating tables. Their faces were covered with an ether-soaked cloth so they fell unconscious, he said.
Makino inserted a surgical knife into their bodies as the doctor told him, "You will have to treat patients if I die." Makino said his hands were trembling.
The doctor pointed out the liver of one of the two prisoners, but Makino barely remembered what it looked like, he recounted.
"I thought 'What a horrible thing I'm doing to innocent people even though I'm ordered to do it,' " he said.
The experiments included amputating arms and legs, suturing blood vessels and conducting abdominal dissections. They continued until February 1945 and resulted in the deaths of about 30 people, including women and children, according to Makino.
After the experiments, medical corps personnel strangled the captives with rope to make sure they were dead, Makino said, adding the bodies were buried and the deeds were kept secret.
"I would have been killed if I had disobeyed the order," Makino said. "That was the case in those days."
I have never heard of (such experiments) in the
in the way of Japanese testimony has emerged about what happened in
"With such new testimony as a start, I think we need to re-examine history by interviewing those who survived the war," he said.
has talked about his war experiences while visiting elementary and junior high
But that may now change.
"We should not let this horrible thing happen again," Makino said. "I want to tell the truth about war to as many people as possible. If I'm given the opportunity, I'll continue to testify in atonement."