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Japan to Retrieve Discarded Bombs in Qiqihar

The Foreign Ministry announced in Beijing on Wednesday that the Japanese government will dispatch a team of experts to excavate and retrieve the weapons abandoned by the Japanese troops in Qiqihar City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, at the end of World War II.

The ministry said that the excavation and retrieval work will start on June 16 and Chinese experts will offer assistance.

The weapons will be kept temporarily in a special storage facility in Qiqihar after being excavated and sealed. They will be destroyed when a professional disposal site is prepared in the city.

Dozens of bombs, including several suspected of being gas bombs, were found on May 23 in the city's Angangxi District. Residents of the area were evacuated and no damage has been reported.

Some 2,000 Chinese have so far become victims of chemical weapons abandoned by the Japanese at the end of the war. In Qiqihar alone, eight such incidents have taken place since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.

The Japanese army's top-secret chemical-weapons research facility, Unit 516, was based in Qiqihar.

(China.org.cn & Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2004)

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