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Proof sought to sue Japan over WWII weapon
www.chinaview.cn 2004-06-28 08:52:48

    BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese and Chinese lawyers visited a dozen victims of Japanese chemical weapons over the weekend in Northeast China, collecting evidence to prepare a lawsuit against the Japanese Government by 43 victims of the toxic weapons, according to Monday's China Daily.

    A leak killed one person and injured 43 people when barrels of mustard gas were dug up at a construction site in Qiqihar last August.

    The toxic weapons were abandoned by the Japanese invading troops during World War II.

    The victims decided to sue the Japanese Government last October.

    One of the victims is named Ding Shuwen, a construction worker who suffered skin injuries to his thighs and feet that have left him unable to walk, according to Su Xiangxiang, one of the Chinese lawyers.

    Although Ding had an operation, he still will have to pay for skin transplant surgery, Su said.

    The victims are asking for compensation from the Japanese Government and a public apology, he added.

    The lawyers, including four Japanese and two Chinese, arrived in Qiqihar on Saturday and left last night, Su said.

    It is the first step of collecting evidence for the case. Another set of attorneys will travel to Qiqihar in two weeks, he said, adding that the case may be tried in Japan within the year.

    More and more Japanese lawyers are speaking for Chinese victims, one of the Japanese lawyers told China Central Television (CCTV).

    Only with this kind of support will Japan win the respect of the Asian public, he said.

    The lawyers belong to a group of more than 300 Japanese lawyers offering free legal assistance to Chinese victims since 1995, Su told CCTV.

    Some of the lawyers have been to Heilongjiang Province to collect proof that Japanese chemical weapons are harming Chinese citizens.

    During the war, Qiqihar was the base camp of the Japanese army's "Unit 516." Unlike the notorious "Unit 731" which was engaged in germ warfare research, "Unit 516" specialized in biochemical weapons.

    In the latest clean-up efforts that ended on Thursday, experts from China and Japan found a total of 542 chemical bombs in Qiqihar.

    The chemical weapons were discovered by a local farmer named Dong Liyan on May 23 near his house in the city's Ang'angxi district, where a Japanese airport was located and a deployment regiment stationed during World War II.

    (China Daily)

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