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Japan toxic experts to visit Qiqihar
( 2003-08-15 07:10) (China Daily)

Six Japanese toxic storage experts will arrive in the northeastern Chinese city of Qiqihar Friday to deal with the aftermath of the recent gas leakage from chemical weapons discarded by Japanese troops during their invasion of China between 1937 and 1945.

Anti-chemical weapon troops from People's Liberation Army (PLA) Shenyang Military Command clean a construction site in Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province in northeast China.[newsphoto.com.cn]

Sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that they will process and seal the five barrels of the mustard gas found in a construction site in the city.

Another group of seven Japanese medical experts will arrive in China Saturday to help Chinese doctors treat the victims of the leakage.

Five barrels of mustard gas were unearthed and broken in Qiqihar last Monday, contaminating the soil. Japan on Tuesday admitted that the mustard gas was from chemical weapons left by Japanese troops during World War II.

A Xinhua News Agency report said that as of 11 am Thursday, 39 people had been hospitalized in Qiqihar after being exposed to the mustard gas. Two of them were still in critical condition, eight in a serious state, and the condition of the remaining 29 has stabilized.

According to sources with the No 203 Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, five have made a remarkable recovery and are to be discharged in few days.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry again urged Japan Thusday to speed up its work in dealing with the accident and solve the issue of chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese troops at an early date.

Sources with the Foreign Ministry said that so far Japanese chemical weapons have been discovered in more than 10 provinces in China, posing a potential danger to public health and even lives.

Following the Japanese Government's Tuesday remarks that it felt "extremely regretful" for the accident, Japanese Ambassador to China Anami Koreshige said in Beijing Thursday that Japan was deeply sympathetic to the victims of the leakage accident, according to Xinhua.

He said that his government will hold talks with the Chinese Government on compensation for the victims.

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