The documentaries marked with “Hong Kong germ research institute.” Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Guangsheng

Left:Soldiers of Japan’s Hong Kong-based germ research institute;  Right: Tsunejiro Narita, the leader of the germ research institute. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Guangsheng

A chart made in 1944 and titled “responsibility assignment of the germ department of Hong Kong health laboratory” shows the distribution of labor on the living animal experiments. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Guangsheng

A Chinese collector of War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) relics claimed to have found evidence that proves Japan had a top-secret chemical and biological warfare research base in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which could shed new light on Japanese war crimes.

Zhang Guangsheng, a collector in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he found the documentaries marked with “Hong Kong germ research institute” in 2011 at an old bookstore in Tokyo. 

The owner of the store got the documentaries from a descendant of institute leader Tsunejiro Narita, said Zhang.

Zhang said he has been authenticating the documentaries since 2011. 

“The documentaries present vividly the cruel yet irrefutable historical truth to an unwitting public and fill the void on the historical data of the Japanese Army’s germ warfare,” Zhang said. 

Zhang showed the Global Times parts of the documentaries. One is a department division table showing the institute includes a chemical department and germ department; another one made in 1944 entitled “responsibility assignment of the germ department of Hong Kong health laboratory” records the labor division on the living animal experiments; a third one is data on corpse identification and chemical experiment records. 

The documentaries also include photos of the soldiers involved, the leader Narita and his family.

Cui Junguo, a member of the Shenyang movable relic identification expert committee, who had seen the documentaries, told the Global Times on Sunday that the age of the documentaries could be verified from the paper quality, text and signature. 

Cui said the content can be confirmed through historical data and the fundamental research. For example, according to official archives, the Japanese Army held a professional seminar on bacterial research at Manchuria Medical College in Shenyang (now the China Medical University) while the documentaries show Narita attended the meeting.

Cui said the public only knows the army captured some people from Hong Kong to Unit 8604, a chemical and biological warfare research base in neighboring Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province, to conduct human experiments after the army occupied Hong Kong in 1942, but they do not know the army also conducted animal tests in the Hong Kong institute.

Du Bin, vice director of the archives editing and research department of the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression, confirmed with the Global Times the possibility of the existence of the Hong Kong institute.

The Global Times contacted the National Cultural Heritage Administration to verify the documentaries but did not get a response as of press time.

According to public archives, the Japanese Army established in China five similar units which built top-secret biological and chemical warfare research centers, including the notorious Unit 731 in Harbin, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. At least 3,000 people were used for human experiments by Unit 731 and more than 300,000 people across China were killed by Japan’s biological weapons.