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Abandoned chemical weapons plant is overrun with fluffy bunnies

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In the early 20th century, Okunoshima Island was top-secret facility that produced poison gas for the Japanese military. Nowadays the tiny island has become the home to 300 rabbits, who tourists come to visit amongst the industrial ruins.

Since the 1970s, Okunoshima Island has become a veritable bunny Eden. From Mainichi:

The small island of about four kilometers in circumference used to be a base for the Imperial Army's lethal gas production between 1929 and 1945. It was once erased from the map of Japan for security reasons.

The poison gas produced at the site took the lives of many people in China and other battlefronts, and former facility workers are continuing to suffer from health ailments caused by the gas.

Today, the island is uninhabited, but the remains of the facility buildings, including gas containers and a power plant, are still there.

It is believed that rabbits were first taken to the island in 1971, after an elementary school in Takehara found it difficult to keep the animals at school.

You can check out more photos of Okunoshima's abandoned poison gas factories on J-Hoppers. For another small island that's less thrilled about its rabbit population, see the Scottish island of Canna.


[Japan Probe (top photo) via MetaFilter. Central photo via J-Hoppers.]