Arsenic Remains in China From Thousands of Japanese Arms

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 15, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

Tox­ic ar­sen­ic re­main­ing in thou­sands of des­troyed Ja­pan­ese chem­ic­al weapons sits in stor­age at a Chinese armed forces com­pound in the city of Nanjing, loc­ated in east­ern China, Ky­odo News re­por­ted on Thursday.

The pois­on­ous sub­stance — now sealed in plastic pack­ages vul­ner­able to loc­al flood­ing — is the end-product of an ef­fort by Ja­pan to elim­in­ate chem­ic­al mu­ni­tions that the na­tion had aban­doned around Nanjing at the end of World War II, ac­cord­ing to an in­sider in­volved in ties between Beijing and Tokyo. China has seen a num­ber of de­mands for the ma­ter­i­al to go to the home­land of its former co­lo­ni­al oc­cu­pi­er.

The sides have yet to work out the ar­sen­ic’s fi­nal des­tin­a­tion, which might in­volve cre­at­ing a sub­ter­ranean hold­ing site, Ky­odo re­por­ted. Ac­cel­er­at­ing the arms-de­struc­tion pro­cess is “more im­port­ant” than deal­ing with the leftover ar­sen­ic, said Tsukasa Hirota, deputy head of the Ja­pan­ese Aban­doned Chem­ic­al Weapons Of­fice.

The Tokyo gov­ern­ment said it has so far in­cin­er­ated and treated re­mains from 35,000 chem­ic­al weapons left in Nanjing and 15,000 sim­il­ar arms from else­where. Between 300,000 and 400,000 more of the weapons are thought to still be lodged in the earth of China’s Jilin province, in the dis­trict of Haerb­al­ing.


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