Japanese experts dispose nerve gas discarded in WWII
( 2003-08-16 17:09) (Xinhua)
A group of six Japanese experts rendered five containers with the fatal nerve gas harmless after sealing them with lead and plastic wrappers on Saturday in northeast China.
The Japanese were dispatched by the Japanese government after nerve gas leaked from one container poisoned dozens of Chinese residents in Qiqihar city in Heilongjiang Province, northeast China.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, 41 victims, some in critical conditions, had been hospitalized due to their contact with the toxic mustard gas, which were discarded by invading Japanese troops during World War II (WWII). The youngest victim is eight years old and the eldest 53.
The containers, which contain mustard gas, will not leak and be harmful any more after the handling, sources said.
Gai Zunxu, a pupil at Tianqi Primary School, was poisoned earlier this week while playing at the No. 5 Middle School, one of the 11 places contaminated by the chemical weapons dug up at a construction site.
Blisters had appeared on the backs of his feet when he was admitted to hospital Wednesday, according to hospital sources.
The chemical weapons, discovered on Aug. 4, were stored in five metallic barrels, one of which was accidentally broken, causing an oil-like substance to leak into the soil.
Unaware of the nature of the material, two workers later bought the barrels, cut them up, and then sold them to a recycle material shop in a residential community.
The situation worsened when the polluted soil from the construction site was removed to several different places.
The city was occupied by Japanese troops for 14 years.
A total of 775 bombs and artillery shells and 28 gas bombs abandoned by
Japanese troops have been found in the city since 2001.
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