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Japan expresses regret over chemical weapon accident
Updated: 2004-08-04 00:57

Japan expressed regret Tuesday over an accident last month in northeastern China in which two children were injured by gas that leaked from a mustard gas shell deserted by the Japanese military at the end of World War II.

Part of a rusty shell is seen revealable in a backyard of a farmer's house in Dunhua, northeastern China's Jilin Province, Monday, August 2, 2004. [newsphoto] 

"We feel it is quite regrettable and extend our sincere sympathy to the victims," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima said in a statement as the government reached a conclusion that the shell was one left by the Japanese military.

The ministry announced Tuesday that the government reached the conclusion through a survey by a fact-finding mission sent to the site.

"In order to dispose of its chemical weapons left in China as early as possible, Japan will take appropriate measures in line with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention," he said.

On July 23, two kids playing in a river in Dunhua City, Jilin Province, discovered the shell in the water. Gas from the shell leaked, injuring their legs and hands.

Statistics show that at least 2,000 Chinese have so far become victims of the discarded Japanese chemical weapons since the war ended.

Early this month, two Japanese veterans came to identify some possible sites of abandoned chemical weapons in Jilin, but no official result has been released from either the Chinese or Japanese side yet.

The two Japanese, Toguchi Yosiktaro and Kobayashi Toshio, worked in the 16th field operation weapon factory in northeast China during Japan's invasion into China from 1937 to 1945.

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