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More Japanese Gas Bombs Found

Military shells, including gas bombs abandoned by the Japanese forces during the Japanese invasion in China, have been found in Qiqihar in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Acting on information from local people, police dug up more than 20 intact mortar rounds and gas bombs near Qiqihar's Nenjiang River last Saturday, Xinhua reported.

Those threatened by the abandoned ordnance urged the Japanese Government to seriously address and tackle the problem.

On August 4, 2003, one person was killed and 43 others wounded when several barrels of mustard gas left by Japanese forces in 1945 leaked at a construction site in urban Qiqihar.

When surveying nearby areas, police found many similar abandoned shells in the Nenjiang River.

"All the munitions we dug out this time were left by the Japanese troops during their invasion of China (1937-45)," said bomb expert Yu Shangqing. "Although they have lain abandoned for over 60 years and are wet from the river, if they were to dry out they could still explode with considerable power.

"We need more time to examine all the different kinds of bombs," he said.

All the shells will be moved away from where they were dug up to prevent possible injuries caused by their exploding, and to counter the threat of bombs contaminating the water.

Qiqihar, occupied by Japanese troops for 14 years between 1931 and 1945, was one of the headquarters of the Japanese forces.

A large number of chemical weapons were abandoned around the city at the end of the WWII.

Over the past few years, many shells have been dug up during construction work, posing a threat to locals.

Bu Ping, a researcher for the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences has researched the subject of chemical weapons left in China by Japanese troops. He estimates that more than 2 million chemical munitions could have been abandoned across dozens of Chinese cities and provinces at the end of WWII.

Since the end of the war, some 2,000 Chinese people have fallen victim to abandoned Japanese chemical weapons.

(China Daily April 12, 2005)

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