A former Army investigator charged today that Japanese Emperor Hirohito condoned deadly World War II biological experiments performed on captured Americans by a secret military unit.
"In my book--shoot me if you want to--but I think he knew it," retired Lt. Col. Murray Saunders told a news conference.
Saunders, a physician who was Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur's germ warfare investigator, said he learned about the experiments only weeks after he played a role in obtaining immunity for the Japanese officers who carried them out.
The experiments, performed by the Imperial Army's 10,000-member Unit 731 at the Mukden prisoner of war camp in Manchuria, allegedly included dissection of bodies and injection of captured Americans with plague, typhus and anthrax.
Evidence of the excesses has been building for decades but has received little public notice until lately.