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Lawyers arrive for chemical injury case
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-12 05:23

A team of lawyers have today begun investigations into an incident last year where two boys were injured by a chemical weapon abandoned by the Japanese after the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Northeast China's Jilin Province.

The team of lawyers, one from China and the other four from Japan, plan to stay in the province's Dunhua for two days to discuss with the children's parents their possible wish to seek compensation from the Japanese Government.

"We are determined to help them seek compensation from the Japanese Government should they demand it," Su Xiangxiang, a senior lawyer who has been voluntarily involved in investigations for toxic weapons-related lawsuits since 1995 told China Daily.

Su said the two children, who were injured on July 24 last year, had recovered from their injuries but expressed concern over the possibility of permanent scarring.

Liu Hao and Zhou Tong, the two young victims, uncovered a 50-centimetre-long barrel containing chemicals when they were playing close to their Lianhuapao Village in Dunhua, Jilin Province,

The boys opened the rusted weapon out of curiosity and a toxic liquid flowed out, splashing the children's bodies to cause severe blistering on their hands and legs.

On visiting the two boys in hospital shortly after the incident, a panel of Japanese officials promised that should "the children's family want to seek compensation, they would submit their demands to the Japanese Government."

They also confirmed that the abandoned chemical weapons were the cause of the accident and proposed that a disposal facility be set up to safely remove the remaining toxic weapons.

In recent years, several deaths and numerous injuries have occurred as a result of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China, in particular the Northeast of the country where Japan begun their invasion in 1931.

In August 2003, one man was killed and 43 injured after five canisters of mustard gas were unearthed at a construction site in Qiqihar in the Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Bu Ping, a researcher at Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, estimated that Japan may have abandoned more than 2 million chemical weapons throughout China at the end of World War II.

Since then, about 2,000 Chinese people have been killed or injured by the weapons, said Bu.

Under the international Chemical Weapons Convention Japan is required to dispose of all chemical weapons left in China by 2007.

However, the disposal process has been moving slowly and the Japanese Government is considering a five-year extension to the disposal programme.

(China Daily 12/12/2005 page2)

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