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Japanese Weapons Experts Greeted by Protests

A seven-member team from Japan's special office for abandoned chemical weapons disposal arrived at Lianhuapao Village, Dunhua, in northeast China's Jilin Province on Monday. The team was greeted by a crowd of furious local residents, witnesses said.

For a short period, the angry Chinese blocked the cars of the Japanese experts, calling for redress for the boys injured last month when they found an abandoned canister containing a chemical. The residents also expressed angry dissatisfaction with previous investigations into chemical incidents in the community.

After about a 30-minute standoff, Chinese officials persuaded the crowd to disband, and the Japanese investigators began their work, according to witnesses.

Zhou Tong and Liu Hao, the two boys injured last month, are being treated in a local hospital and are recovering from their wounds.

The boys uncovered the 50-centimeter-long canister filled with a chemical on July 24 when they were playing by a river close to their village. One of the boys pried open the rusted weapon and the liquid splashed onto their fingers and legs.

Chinese experts have confirmed the canister contained mustard gas discarded by Japanese troops in 1945.

The Japanese experts reportedly did not visit the victims on Monday.

The boys' parents have submitted demands for compensation to the Japanese government, according to the Xiangbao newspaper.

Since the boys were injured, 30 more chemical weapons have been uncovered in the village.

(China Daily August 3, 2004)

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