Joint team begin disposing Japan chemical weapons
Updated: 2006-07-05 14:49
A joint Chinese-Japanese team was preparing Wednesday to excavate abandoned
Japanese poison gas bombs from World War II that were buried near a school after
a factory received them as scrap metal.
Experts in blue overalls were using metal detectors to locate more than 100
bombs on the grounds of a metal-processing plant in this northeastern town near
China's border with Russia. The pit is about 200 meters (200 yards) from a
junior high school, where students played in an exercise yard as the
weapons-removal team worked.
Officials hoped to have the weapons excavated by next week and moved to a
secure stockpile in preparation for destroying them, said a Chinese Foreign
Ministry official, Liu Yiren.
Abandoned chemical weapons "have been affecting the development of towns and
cities where they are buried and threatening people's lives," Liu told
reporters. In Ning'an, "the local government has been presenting this issue
repeatedly to the foreign ministry."
A temporary holding site -- surrounded by a
1.5-meter-high (five-foot-high) concrete wall lined with sandbags, apparently to
contain any explosions - was set up nearby for handling the bombs.