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July 11, 2014

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Japanese atrocity files made public

CONFESSIONS of wartime atrocities made by Japanese soldiers, complete with their finger prints, have been made public by a Shanghai woman.

These include accounts of the drowning of 200 Chinese prisoners, the rape and murder of women and daily executions at a prison during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

The documents belong to a Minhang District resident surnamed Hu and were collected by her great-grandfather, Hu Zhichao.

He was one of the first lawyers in the 1940s who collected evidence of Japanese war crimes, Hu told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

City experts on historic documents confirmed their importance.

“These files are genuine and on initial analysis are valuable records,” said Zhang Xin, an expert with the Shanghai Archives Bureau.

The confessions were made in a prisoner-of-war camp by captured Japanese officers and other ranks in April 1945, some four months before the surrender of the Japanese army, Zhang said.

It was unclear where the confessions were made, though it wasn’t in Shanghai, added Zhang.

One file details how in 1938, the No. 3 division of the Japanese army drowned 200 captured Chinese soldiers in the Yangtze River in Zhenjiang in east China’s Jiangsu Province.

Another relays how the No. 22 division killed several Chinese prisoners every day in a prison in Hangzhou City, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, on orders from higher ranks.

A soldier of the No. 18 division, an elite unit of the Japanese army, confessed that they raped and killed women and slaughtered prisoners.

Hu wants to donate the files to a national-level specialist archive, perhaps the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, in Jiangsu, to exhibit to the public.

Her father found the files when the family were moving house in 1997.

The Minhang District Archive Bureau said it would help with preserving the documents.


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