Question about WWII; I came across Unit 731, and was wondering why the US had the authority/right to grant Japanese Unit 731 immunity from war crime trials, in exchange for the human experimentation results (just to the US but not other allies)?

Also - I'm researching more - but from what I've read, so far, it seems like the post-war treatments Japan received were softer in a degree compared to that of Germany? For instance, Japan was free from trials whilst the Nuremberg and Doctor's trials were aimed at the Nazis.

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    and why did he decide that though? – ed.hank Feb 4 '17 at 14:39
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Felix Goldberg Feb 4 '17 at 15:35
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    At least one author has argued that the data was basically worthless but its value was exaggerated for political reasons: ahrp.org/… Here is more detailed discussion of this question from Reddit... I haven't combed through it but there seems to be some helpful sources cited here and there: reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1xd0yz/… – Brian Z Feb 5 '17 at 20:11
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    Maybe the big picture is more important here: japan had de facto immunity in many war crimes partly because the US needed some kind of cooperation with Japan, and didn't want to push these issues too much. For example many post war Japanese government members were active high profile politicians during the war: that was very unlike in European Axis countries. – Greg Feb 8 '17 at 16:44
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    @Greg If that were the case, the US would have spared the civilian leaders who merely failed to stop the militarism. You'd have to remove many, many rungs of far more harmless politicians and bureaucrats, before you reach these human experimenting war criminals. From the perspective of securing post-war Japan's cooperation, sparing Unit 731 really doesn't make any sense. – Semaphore Jan 30 '18 at 11:47

The Soviet Union tried Japanese in Khabarovsk for the Unit 731 atrocities. And the US decision was not to prosecute, rather than to grant immunity (it's a legal quibble, but nonetheless important). The general rule was that each Allied power could prosecute Japanese for war crimes if they held them. There was a significant 'trade' in Japanese accused among the various Allied powers for this purpose.

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    Good first answer, if you could point out a few sources for people to read that would make it even better. – Kobunite Jan 30 '18 at 10:50
  • Wilson et al., Japanese War Criminals is a good start. – Robert Cribb Jan 31 '18 at 11:48

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