Among 31 Japanese bombs recovered on Wednesday in Ning'an City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province seven have been identified as being chemical weapons.
Experts from Japan and China began excavating a pit on Wednesday at the Ning'an Chemical and Light Industry Company where they expect to find more than 200 bombs which were abandoned by Japanese troops at the end of World War II.
Wang Xuefeng, a Chinese official on the recovery team, estimated 100 of the bombs could be armed with deadly chemicals.
Over the course of eight days of work 20 Japanese experts along with their Chinese counterparts will confirm the status of the weapons and make them safe.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Japan abandoned at least 2 million tons of chemical weapons in China. More than 2,000 Chinese people have been killed by abandoned chemical weapons since the war ended in 1945.
Liu Yiren, who heads an office in charge of abandoned weapons at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said China had so far retrieved and disposed of nearly 40,000 chemical weapons. "However, it's only the tip of the iceberg," he said.
A lack of information from Japan about where they abandoned or buried their weapons has made it difficult to track them down and account for them.
The two countries have conducted more than 60 courses on the safe recovery of weapons, said Liu.
While the experts have packed the weapons to make them safe, Liu said, none of them had been destroyed as they were extremely dangerous and a disposal plant would be built soon to deal with them.
(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2006)