Situated in the Inland Sea of Japan, the small island of Okunoshima is occupied by hundreds of wild rabbits that roam the forests and paths, chase tourists, appear in viral videos(Guy Gets Smotherd in Rabbits) and just generally lounge around. They also provide a much needed counterbalance to the island's otherwise dark history as the production site for Japan's chemical weapons during the second world war.
Between 1929-1945, the Japanese army secretly produced over 6,000 tons of poison gas on Okunoshima, which was removed from maps of the area and chosen because of its discreet location and distance from civilian populations. At the time, an unfortunate colony of rabbits was brought to the island in order to test the effects of the poison.
While some claim the rabbits that live there now are relatives of the test bunnies that were freed by the workers at the end of the war, others are less convinced; it has been reported that all the rabbits were killed when the factory ceased production. The other theory is that eight rabbits were brought to the island by schoolchildren in 1971, where they bred (presumably like rabbits) until they reached their current population, which is potentially in the thousands. And with the island being a predator-free zone -dogs and cats are banned- if the number of rabbits hasn't hit the thousands yet, it's inevitable it will do soon.
Now the island, a short ferry ride from the mainland, is a popular tourist resort with a small golf course, camping grounds and beautiful beaches. Tours are also given of the now derelict poison gas facilities, while ruins of military outposts are dotted around the island.
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