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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 4 - 10  > PhD thesis that Kyoto University accepted in 1945 possibly involved wartime human experimentation
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2018 April 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

PhD thesis that Kyoto University accepted in 1945 possibly involved wartime human experimentation

April 4, 2018

A group of academics on April 2 held a press conference in Kyoto and announced that Kyoto University in 1945 allegedly accepted a doctoral thesis that was based on inhumane testing conducted on human bodies by a former Imperial Japanese Army biological warfare unit.

Major Hirasawa Masayoshi, who belonged to the Imperial Japanese Army’s unit 731 which specialized in bioweapons and is notorious for having conducted human experimentations during the war, was in September 1945 awarded a doctorate in medicine by Kyoto University. His thesis was about dog fleas’ ability to convey plague.

In the press conference, the scholars cited the explanation of procedure employed in which the author used monkeys as test animals and that infected monkeys “complained of” headaches. The academics said that no monkey “complains of” that symptom and that it is highly likely that the author had in actuality used humans as laboratory animals in his experiments. They stressed, “If so, the paper involves not just the falsification of data but also descriptions of extremely unethical and inhumane acts.” The scholars’ group stated that as an institution providing advanced academic degrees, Kyoto University has an obligation to reexamine the thesis.

The academics’ group is collecting signatures for a petition urging the president of Kyoto University and the chief of the university’s medical department to investigate whether the paper in question was based on human experimentation.

Past related articles:
> Health professionals and scientists in statement protest against military-academia cooperation [June 9, 2016]
> Former soldier testifies on lethal human experimentation [September 29, 2013]
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