Japan-China friendship groups announced in Beijing Monday that a foundation had been established with one million yen (US$10,000) to aid victims of chemical weapons abandoned by the Japanese at the end of World War II.
Kyuhei Muraoda, chairman of the China-Japan Friendship Association, said the establishment of the foundation is meant to arouse attention in Japan, encourage the Japanese government to deal properly with the issue and promote friendship between the two peoples.
Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said the chemical weapons are one of the major historical issues between the two nations and one that seriously threatens people's safety and the environment.
The weapons were proof of the crimes committed by Japanese militarists, Chen said.
"We hope that Japanese society will pay attention to the issue and demand that Japan deal with the issue properly," Chen said. "We are willing to promote friendly, cooperative bilateral relations for healthy and steady development of friendship with all Japanese groups."
In another development, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan is urging Japan to expedite the disposal of chemical weapons abandoned at the end of the World War II.
While meeting with delegates from seven Japan-China friendship groups in Beijing Monday, the Chinese official said the abandoned weapons are one of the important historical issues left facing the two nations.
He hopes the Japanese side can make more efforts to make good its promise on this issue and speed up the handling of the poisonous weapons.
More than two million chemical bombs were abandoned in China by Japan's retreating armies and over 2,000 Chinese have been injured by the abandoned weapons.
(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2004)