Not Quite as Sinister as it Seems
Michelle Malkin has an entry up on the recent re-discovery of a WWII Japanese submarine off the coast of Oahu. Now, Michelle is one of the best bloggers out there, but in this case I think she's using a little selective editing to try to make the story seem more sinister than it really is. (In the same way, the KGMB9 article linked above tries to make it seem like Japanese ship-building skills were way advanced compared to ours and that we cravenly sank the I-401 to keep the Russians from building the same thing.)
Here's some more about the Japanese Sen Toku-class boats. The real story behind this neat find is summarized thusly: The Japanese started building a fleet of very large, sea-plane carrying submarines as a way of hopefully taking the war to the western coast of North America. Some Japanese scientists thought that they could use this capability to deliver a potential bacteriological weapon, if they had gotten it to work, and if they had gotten political approval (unlikely -- remember, both sides had chemical weapons but didn't use them; any Japanese use of bacteriological weapons would have been responded to in kind, and the Japanese realized they were more susceptible to these weapons than we were.) Both sides worked on strange weapons (remember the U.S. Bat Bomber program) but simply conceiving a weapons system doesn't mean they were about to use it. The boat was found off Oahu because we sent it there after we captured it in Japan at the end of the war, and sank it in weapons tests. (We sank some other Japanese ships in a weapons test here.)
Regarding the charges that we sank it because it was "so sophisticated", well, I'm sure we didn't want the Russians to see it just on G.P. We didn't build our submarines that big because it would have been foolhardy; a WWII boat that big would be too easily sunk by ASW forces. Until the advent of nuclear power, such a large boat would have been very slow, and very easily seen by the active sonar sets of the day, and thus easily depth charged. A big submarine? Sure. Sophisticated? Probably. Sunk to keep the Russians from winning the Cold War? Not quite...
Update 1130 22 March: Here's a web page with some personal recollections of the I-401 post-war, along with a link to a page on a report from one of the American crewmembers who sailed her from Japan to Hawaii.
Bell-ringer 2249 22 March: From the comments, here's a great resource about the I-400, sister ship of the I-401.