Thousands still to go but 46,000 abandoned Japanese chemical arms destroyed in China to date

Some 56,000 chemical weapons abandoned by Imperial Japanese forces during and after World War II have been found at more than 90 places in China, and about 46,000 of them have been confirmed destroyed, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

But the destroyed weapons did not include any of some 330,000 chemical shells believed to have been buried in the Haerbaling district of Dunhua, Jilin province, in China’s northeast, according to Wednesday’s announcement by the OPCW, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Chemical Weapons Convention requires that Japan provide the technology and funds needed to get rid of the chemical weapons abandoned by its defunct military.

A high-level OPCW delegation visited China for five days until last Friday to assess the status of the disposal work.

Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the OPCW and leader of the mission and its executive council, said both sides were working on the problem.

“I would like to note the good level of cooperation between China and Japan to complete the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China,” he said.

“During our visit, we took note of the high level of commitment to complete this task with the strong support” of the council.

The visit provided an opportunity for the delegation to better understand the technical and administrative issues associated with the recovery, identification and destruction of abandoned chemical weapons in China, the OPCW said.

Japanese and Chinese government officials provided the team with information on activities related to the destruction of the weapons, the organization added. Full article.