Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department
The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department was a department of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1936 to the dissolution of the Army in 1945. While its public mission was to prevent the spread of disease and monitor water supply, the Kwantung Army also assigned their unit the covert mission of manufacturing biological weapons, and former members allege that at least one unit carried out human experimentation.
The department was organized under the following system:
- Unit 691 was under control of the Kwantung Army.
- The central office of Unit 691 was Unit 731, infamous for its secret commitment to chemical and biological weapons.
- Unit 1855 (Beijing) was under control of the Japanese Northern China Area Army.
- Unit Ei 1644 (Nanjing) was under control of the Japanese Central China Area Army.
- Unit 8604 or Nami Unit (Guangzhou) was under control of the Japanese Southern China Area Army.
- Unit 9420 or Oka Unit (Singapore), under control of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group.
The 1996 book Germ Warfare Units (細菌戦部隊) contains testimonies that all of these units engaged in biological weapon development.
- 『在満兵備充実ニ関スル意見』(April 23, 1936), a document addressed by Kwantung Army chief of staff Seishirō Itagaki to army general Yoshijirō Umezu. 「其三、在満部隊ノ新設及増強改編」の項目第二十三には「関東軍防疫部の新設増強予定計画の如く昭和十一年度に於いて急性伝染病の防疫対策実施および流行する不明疾患其他特種の調査研究 ならびに細菌戦準備の為関東軍防疫部を新設す 又在満部隊の増加等に伴い昭和十三年度の以降其一部を拡充す関東軍防疫部の駐屯地は哈爾賓附近とす」
- 「細菌戦部隊」 晩聲社 (1996/08). ISBN 489188259X
- 関亮 『軍医サンよもやま物語―軍医診療アラカルト』 光人社〈光人社NF文庫〉、1997年。