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Japan urged to pay weapons compensation
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-05 23:50

Chinese and Japanese lawyers representing the victims of the chemical weapons left by the Japanese in Northeast China's Qiqihar have decided to submit a compensation demand to the Japanese Government early next year.

They are collecting evidence in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, for a lawsuit against the Japanese Government.

"This is the second time we have come here to collect evidence and we have met with 24 victims," said Chinese lawyer Su Xiangxiang.

A full report will be made after they have carried out final investigations in November, Su said.

"We plan to submit the compensation demand in line with the damage of individual victims to the Japanese Government in spring next year," Su said.

A leak killed one person and injured 43 when barrels of mustard gas were dug up at a construction site in Qiqihar last August.

On Wednesday -- exactly one year since the tragedy -- the six lawyers issued a joint statement, urging the Japanese Government to step up its efforts to dispose of chemical weapons left in China by invading Japanese troops during China's Anti-Japanese War.

The statement said the Japanese Government should take all responsibility for damage caused by the weapons and must apologize to victims with sincerity.

The Japanese Government should compensate all victims according to individual cases, the statement said.

It must offer overall support for victims who are suffering through medical treatment and financial loss, according to the statement.

Victims say they still suffer from the memories of the day they were poisoned.

"I have been trying to shake off the horror of the incident, but my pain has relapsed and has made forgetting impossible," said Gao Jianyi, one of the victims.

On Wednesday, Gao and 15 other victims were checked out at the No 203 Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Qiqihar.

Results of their examinations show most of them have recovered quite well, but they say they often suffer from itching wounds and get red and swollen eyes in rainy weather.

The oil-like poisonous chemicals can lead to life-long incurable suffering, according to Huang Shaoqing, an expert with the hospital affiliated with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

Since many victims are rural migrant workers, who returned to their home after leaving the hospital, only 16 of them have been back to be re-examined, said Sun Jinghai, head of the hospital.

Just 10 days before the anniversary of the leakage, there was a similar poisoning incident in Dunhua, Jilin Province, in Northeast China. Two school boys became the victims of more toxic chemical weapons abandoned by invading Japanese troops during World War II.

Liu Hao, 9, and Zhou Tong, 13, are receiving medical treatment in a local hospital.

Chinese experts estimate that more than 2 million chemical weapons were discarded in China by invading Japanese troops after the war. They are littered over 10 provinces.

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