An Imperial Japanese army major left behind an affidavit saying the army dumped 150,000 Chinese bodies, some still alive, into the Yangtze River during the 1937 Rape of Nanking, the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported Friday.
Major Hisao Ohta's 44-page confession is further evidence of the existence and the extent of the massacre, which some Japanese rightwing historians and politicians, including outspoken ruling party parliamentarian Shintaro Ishihara, say never occurred.Last year, an ex-army officers group published a book acknowledging that Japanese troops massacred 16,000 Nanking citizens.
The Chinese government says 300,000 innocent civilians were killed while Allied judges at the 1947 Tokyo war crimes tribunal said the total was 200,000.
In a recent interview with the American magazine Playboy, Ishihara, a popular author, said: "(The massacre) is a lie concocted by the Chinese."
But according to Ohta's confession written while he awaited trial in 1954 in Fushun, northern China, his army harbor unit dumped 19,000 bodies of Chinese victims into the water at the Nanking river front in three days starting on Dec. 15, 1937.
A neighboring unit "processed" 81,000 Chinese bodies at the same time and elsewhere in Nanking units took care of another 50,000, Ohta's confession, preserved in the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall, says.
Chinese officials revealed the document to the Mainichi Shimbun reporter for the first time.
Ohta was acquitted in the war crimes trials, came home to Japan in 1956 and died in 1964.