An 84-year-old former high-ranking Japanese military medic has revealed
that he vivisected the bodies of living people on the island of Mindanao
in the Philippines with a military doctor during World War II.
Akira Makino, 84, a resident of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, said he cut
up living bodies toward the end of World War II as part of human
experiments. He is preparing to speak on his wartime experiences in the
near future. The military doctor is believed to have performed the human
experiments at his own discretion.
It is already known that Unit 731, a secret medical experimentation unit
of the former Imperial Japanese Army, performed vivisections on Chinese
in Manchuria, now part of northern China, but Makino's testimony is the
first from an expert relating to vivisections in the Philippines.
"I was unable to resist orders, and I did something cruel," Makino said.
"As the number of people with wartime experience decreases, I have a
responsibility to speak the truth about the war."
Makino belonged to the No. 33 guard unit of the Japanese navy. From
August 1944, he treated injured soldiers on an air base on the west side
of Mindanao. The medical team, led by a military doctor in his 30s who
held the rank of captain, had over 30 members, with Makino serving in
the No. 2 position.
Makino said the vivisections began in December 1944, on residents
suspected of being spies for the U.S. military. They were carried out at
a hospital on the base, with two people operating under the instructions
of a military doctor. The victims were put under anesthesia, and
subjected to vivisections lasting from about 10 minutes to three hours.
During the process, their limbs were cut off, their blood vessels were
sewn up and they underwent abdominal operations. While the vivisections
were being performed, subordinates reportedly helped and kept lookout.
Up until February 1945, just before the U.S. military landed on the
island, the vivisections were reportedly carried out at a rate of
between once every three days and once a fortnight. There were
reportedly between 30 and 50 victims. The subordinates carried the
bodies away and buried them so that no one outside the medical unit
would find out what they were doing.
A man in his 80s who was one of Makino's subordinates said he saw the
"I felt sorry (for the victims), so I didn't join in, but I heard from
my friends (about what was going on)," he said. "I also saw the bodies."
About two months before the vivisections began, the Imperial Japanese
Navy suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Zanboanga, on
the island of Mindanao, was also struck heavily. In giving a reason for
performing the vivisections, the military doctor reportedly told Makino,
"If I die, you'll have to be in charge of treatment."
When the U.S. military landed on the western part of the island in March
1945, the Japanese soldiers fled into the jungle. Many troops died of
illness and starvation, and the military doctor reportedly committed
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