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Japanese Cabinet Official to Visit China for WWII Chemical Weapons

A Japanese Cabinet official is to visit China from Tuesday to Friday to negotiate with Chinese officials on the disposal of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China during the World War II.

Takeshi Erikawa, vice-minister of the Cabinet Office, is to visit the site where chemical weapons were buried in Dunhua City of northeast China's Jilin Province, after his visit to Beijing, the informal sources said.

After Japan surrendered in 1945, Japanese soldiers buried a large quantity of chemical weapons in China. Official statistics show that Japan abandoned at least 2 million chemical weapons in a dozen of Chinese provinces, with a large proportion in northeast China, posing a great threat to the safety of Chinese people and the ecological environment.

A total of 2,000 Chinese people have fallen victims to the chemical weapons over the past decades. In August 2003, a toxic leak, which killed one and injured 43 others in Qiqihar City of Heilongjiang Province, was the most serious tragedy in recent years.

China and Japan joined the United Nation Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. Two years later, the two sides signed a memorandum, in which Japan agreed to provide all the necessary fund, equipment and personnel for the retrieval and destruction of all the Japanese-abandoned chemical weapons in China by 2007.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2005)

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