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Japan, China Reach Deal on Cleanup

May 7, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan and China plan to sign an agreement later this month on cleaning up chemical weapons left in China at the end of World War II, Kyodo News agency reported Friday.

The accord, which comes after six years of talks between Tokyo and Beijing, commits Japan to supplying the funds, facilities and personnel, Kyodo said, citing an unidentified government source.

But it does not specify a deadline for completion, the report said.

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials were unavailable for comment late Friday.

As a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty banning the armament, Japan has agreed to clean up stockpiles of poison gas abandoned in China by the Imperial Japanese Army.

The negotiations involved how and when the effort would get underway.

Historians say Japanese forces left behind hundreds of millions of shells and dozens of tons of gas. China says Japan used poison gas 2,900 times during World War II, killing thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians.

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