A Japanese war veteran arrived at Zhoujiazhen Town in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on Monday to help retrieve chemical weapons buried by the invading Japanese soldiers before their surrender in World War II.
Yoshida Isao, 81, arrived here Monday morning 60 years after he left the town as a soldier. He was accompanied by Hase Gawa Junichi, 69, a member of a non-governmental support organization.
Yoshida Isao enlisted in the Japanese army at the age of 15 in 1939. He arrived in Harbin for military training in June of the same year.
He received orders to bury the chemical weapons in August 1945, shortly before their surrender and retreat.
"We were ordered to throw the gas bombs into water wells. After I returned to Japan, I led a normal life, but I could not forget the sounds of the bombs when we threw them into the wells," he said.
"The sounds have been beating in my heart. I repent what I have done. I feel I have done wrong to the Chinese people," he said.
"I wrote a letter to the Japanese media telling the public that there are still gas bombs left in China. I hope the Japanese government will take action to deal with the matter," he said.
"I've just now heard that most wells have been filled in. What worries me most is that the bombs will bring more trouble to the locals. I don't want to see mishaps that might injure civilians again if they were to accidentally dig up the bombs in Heilongjiang," he said.
The veteran has been highly praised by the Chinese.
He has bravely spoken out and proved the burial of gas bombs in China, said Gao Xiaoyan, an expert on Japan with the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2006)