Chinese Foreign Ministry Kong Quan said in Beijing Tuesday that the Japanese government held an unshirkable responsibility to resolve the chemical weapon issue.
Kong spoke in a response to a reporter's question on a Japanese court's verdict on the case of Japan's abandoned chemical weapons causing damage to Chinese victims.
The Tokyo District Court on Monday ruled that compensation be paid to 13 Chinese nationals for damage caused to their health by chemical weapons left in China by Japanese invading troops during World War II.
Kong said China had taken note of the verdict.
He said during the Second World War, the Japanese invading troops had employed biological and chemical weapons repeatedly and committed brutal crimes against the Chinese people.
The Japanese troops had abandoned a large amount of chemical weapons within the Chinese territory shortly before they were defeated, which inflicted new suffering in peace-time, Kong said.
Kong stressed that the Japanese government had an "unshirkable responsibility" for settling the issue.
Japan left a large amount of chemical weapons in China at the end of World War II in 1945, and promised to dispose of them under a 1997 international convention.
In the latest case, a fatal leakage from abandoned Japanese chemical weapons killed one person and injured 42 others when barrels of mustard gas were dug up at a construction site in August in the city of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province.
The event triggered protests in China and demands for Japanese compensation.
(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2003)