U.S. Responses to Japanese wartime inhuman experimentation after world war ii: National security and wartime exigency

Howard Brody, Sarah E. Leonard, Jing Bao Nie, Paul Weindling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


In 1945-46, representatives of the U.S. government made similar discoveries in both Germany and Japan, unearthing evidence of unethical experiments on human beings that could be viewed as war crimes. The outcomes in the two defeated nations, however, were strikingly different. In Germany, the United States, influenced by the Canadian physician John Thompson, played a key role in bringing Nazi physicians to trial and publicizing their misdeeds. In Japan, the United States played an equally key role in concealing information about the biological warfare experiments and in securing immunity from prosecution for the perpetrators. The greater force of appeals to national security and wartime exigency help to explain these different outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014



  • Germany
  • Japan
  • World War II
  • biological warfare
  • human research
  • informed consent
  • national security
  • war crimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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