CHINA / National

China urges Japan to fulfil promise on chemical weapons
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-03 06:42

Beijing is urging Tokyo to fulfil its promise to destroy chemical weapons abandoned by the Japanese troops in China in the 1930s and '40s.

Japan should destroy them as early as possible, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

During a four-day visit that started on Saturday, Endo Otohiko, head of the Japan-China New Century Association, led five Diet (Japanese parliament) members of the association and toured some burial sites of the abandoned chemical weapons in Northeast China's Jilin Province and South China's Guangdong Province.

Takamatsu Akila, in charge of the Abandoned Chemical Weapons Office of the Cabinet Office, was also in the group.

Chinese officials who accompanied the Japanese visitors briefed them on the harm and menace the abandoned chemical weapons brought to the Chinese people and environment.

They asked the Diet members to urge their government to fulfil the promise it made in the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons and the memorandum of the two countries on this issue.

China and Japan signed a memorandum in 1999 in which Japan agreed to provide all the necessary funds, equipment and personnel for the retrieval and destruction of all abandoned chemical weapons in China by the end of 2007.

Official statistics show that Japan abandoned at least 2 million tons of chemical weapons in about 40 sites in 15 provinces in China at the end of World War II, many of them in the northeast.

More than 2,000 Chinese have fallen victim to the chemical weapons in the past decades.

A toxic leak in August 2003 that killed one and injured 43 others in Qiqihar of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province was the most serious tragedy in recent years.

In another development, most Japanese believe that their country's efforts to make amends for its wartime aggression are insufficient, a newspaper survey showed yesterday.

About 51 per cent of respondents to Asahi Shimbun's poll said Japan has yet to fully apologize or compensate for its aggression and colonial rule in Asia before and during World War II.

Thirty-six per cent, according to the poll of about 3,000 people, carried out on April 15 and 16, said Japan had already done enough.

But 69 per cent said Japan had also not done enough to fully examine what or who made the country go to war, and 18 per cent said it had.

Japan's ties with China and South Korea have deteriorated significantly since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi began visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours war criminals convicted and executed by the Allies.

The poll also showed that 53 per cent of respondents knew about the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the trial of Japanese war leaders by Allied nations, but did not know what was discussed.

Seventeen per cent said they did not even know that the tribunal existed, and only 4 per cent said they knew about the details.

Today, Japan marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Tokyo trial, which sentenced seven war criminals to death by hanging, including General Hideki Tojo, who was Japanese prime minister during World War II.

Xinhua - Agencies

(China Daily 05/03/2006 page1)