Testimony: Japanese war chemicals did harm
A Chinese representative for victims of chemical weapons left by Japanese invading army during World War II Monday appeared at the Tokyo High Court to argue that a lower court was correct in ruling the Japanese Government was at fault for leaving a chemical bomb behind. The weapon injured 13 Chinese last summer.
At the hearing Monday, the Japanese Government appealed the lower court's verdict.
But Chinese widow, Sun Jingxia, 69, gave 20 minutes of testimony to explain how her husband Xiao Qingwu had suffered from the chemical weapon that was abandoned by Japan, and eventually died of mustard gas poisoning syndrome.
Xiao was injured by mustard gas in 1974 when he and two other workers encountered a Japanese chemical bomb as they cleared silt in Songhuajiang River in Northeast China. Xiaodied in 1991.
The court hearing involves the Japanese Government's appeal of a legal loss in September when a lower court ruled the government was responsible for the gas injuries to the Chinese.
The new hearing is allowing Japanese lawyers representing Chinese victims and the Japanese Government a chance to debate the matter again before a higher court.No ruling is expected until a number of days of testimony are heard, one of the lawyers, Su Xiangxiang, told China Daily.
On September 29 last year, the Tokyo District Court ruled the Japanese Government should pay an indemnity of around 190 million yen (US$1.7 million) to 13 Chinese victims.
It wasa major victory for Chinese nationals who lost a similar case four months ago. It waste first claim ever won by Chinese victims injured by the Japanese abandoned weapons.
But the Japanese Government decided to appeal the ruling to the Tokyo High Court on October 3, arguing that the verdict was inconsistent with the May 15 case.
Then in January this year, the Japanese Government sent a letter to China saying that chemical weapons found in China might not have been left by the Japanese army, because the Soviet army was also present in Northeast China during World War II, according to Su.
"That is ridiculous and groundless,'' said Su, who has been fighting chemical weapons cases for nearly a decade.
The research of both Chinese and Japanese historians shows that Japan was the only country which used chemical weapons during the WWII, Su said.
The Japanese lawyers representing Chinese victims were to present these counter-arguments Monday, he said.
The attitude of the Japanese Government angered the lawyers and victims of another chemical weapon incident last August in which one person was killed and 43 were injured in Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province.
Although the Japanese Government has paid about 300 million yen (US$2.74 million) for medical and other expenses, the victims still decided to file a lawsuit seeking a formal apology from the Japanese Government.
"We are more determined than ever to win the August 4 case," said Su.
Su and other Chinese and Japanese lawyers having been collecting evidence and materials from the 44 victims to place a case before the court on August 4, the anniversary of the poisoning incident.
Before Sun Jingxia leaves Japan for home on Thursday, she will meet with the Japanese news media,legislators, school students, and attend public meetings to exchange ideas.
It is estimated that Japanese troops have left more than 2 million chemical bombs in at least 17 provinces in China.