"These chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese should have been destroyed a long time ago, and we do not want to sleep with this arsenal as a pillow," a Qiqihar citizen surnamed Qu told Xinhua Monday.
Chinese and Japanese personnel on Saturday began to seal up more than 700 abandoned Japanese chemical weapons which were found in recent years in Qiqihar City, China's northernmost Heilongjiang Province, and which have been stored in a local warehouse.
This operation aroused great attention from Qiqihar citizens.
"I have heard of many injuries caused by the Japanese chemical weapons over the past 50 years," said Qu. "It is really terrible!"
Like Qu, residents in Qiqihar, who were shocked by the leak of mustard gas from chemical weapons left by Japanese troops that killed one person and injured 42 others in early August this year, urged the Japanese side to deal with the abandoned chemical weapons as early as possible.
The Japanese should have dealt with these chemical weapons a long time ago, because since they haven't, "we cannot even sleep well," said Qu.
Taxi drivers in the city also expressed such opinions as "we have suffered a lot from these deadly chemical weapons," "the Japanese side should take the responsibility for their own action," "disposing of these weapons is what the Japanese should do sooner or later," and "the Japanese who brought it here should take it away now."
A young woman surnamed Li said the next generation should not live in the shadow of the abandoned Japanese chemical weapons. "Don't let the children be threatened or injured by the chemical weapons," said Ms Li who just bought an ice-cream for her little son at a shop along the street.
The Japanese troops in China left countless chemical weapons in China after they surrendered in Word War Two. Some of the abandoned chemical weapons were found recently in Qiqihar and other places in northeast China, posing a constant danger for those living and working near them.
The operation of sealing up the chemical weapons kept in the Qiqihar warehouse is expected to take more than 20 days.
(Xinhua News Agency November 11, 2003)