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Japanese Lawyers to Organize Case for Chinese Victims

Two Japanese lawyers said Sunday in Qiqihar, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, that they would organize the legal case for Chinese victims of a fatal toxic gas leak from Japanese chemical weapons abandoned during World War II.

Minami Norio and Onodera Toshi, the first Japanese lawyers to investigate with Chinese counterparts on the case, arrived in the city to gather evidence for the case for compensation from the Japanese government.

They decided to call on the lawyers in Japan to form a special counsel team as soon as they return to help the victims file their case in the Japanese courts.

A legal team led by Minami Norio is offering free legal aid for the Chinese victims. The team is made up of 300 Japanese lawyers engaged in most suits by Chinese victims of chemical weapons against the Japanese government since 1995.

The Japanese lawyers said that they were not only helping the Chinese, but also the Japanese because the attitudes of the Japanese politicians today would not earn the respect of Asian people.

A leak killed one person and injured 42 others when barrels of mustard gas were dug up at a construction site in Qiqihar on Aug. 4, 2003. The victims decided to sue the Japanese government in last October.

(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2004)

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