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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 May 19 - 25  > Court drops Chinese victims’ claim over poison gas leak
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2010 May 19 - 25 [ENVIRONMENT]

Court drops Chinese victims’ claim over poison gas leak

May 25, 2010
The Tokyo District Court on May 24 rejected a claim filed by Chinese victims against the Japanese government over a poison gas leak from chemical weapons that the former Imperial Japanese Army had abandoned in China. Plaintiffs will appeal this ruling to a higher court.

In August 2003, the leakage occurred after poison gas drums were dragged from the earth in Qiqihar in Heilongjiang Province, poisoning nearby residents.

In early 2007, 48 victims and one bereaved family filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government, demanding about 1.4 billion yen in compensation for their suffering and health damages. They also seek aftereffects-care and life security.

The court acknowledged that the poison gases in question had been left by the former Japanese military personnel and pointed out that the Japanese government could have predicted the impact of damages on humans through direct exposure to toxic gases.

However, the presiding judge ruled, “The Japanese government does not have an obligation to prevent gas leakages.”

Soon after the court decision, the plaintiffs and lawyers held a meeting with Japanese Communist Party representative Inoue Satoshi attending. The legal team criticized the judgment as running counter to the principles of justice, saying that the court acquitted the Japanese government of its responsibility although it recognized that the unearthed chemical weapons had been of the former Japanese Army.
- Akahata, May 25, 2010
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