High Court Agrees Japan Not Liable for Chem Leak in China

The Tokyo High Court on Friday upheld a lower court's denial of a legal complaint filed by a group of Chinese citizens seeking Japanese restitution for injuries sustained in a 2003 chemical weapons leak, Kyodo News reported.

In August 2003, one man was killed and 43 others sickened at a building site in Heilongjiang Province when they encountered poisonous gas seeping from a degrading WWII-era Japanese military container, abandoned by retreating Imperial Japanese Army troops. After the incident, the Japanese government authorized more than $3.8 million for China, most of which was handed over to survivors.

However, the survivors sued Japan in 2007, arguing the money did not go far enough in covering the long-term health care they required to treat such issues as breathing difficulties, failing eyesight and lingering skin blisters.

The plaintiffs now intend to take their suit for $18.3 million to the Japanese Supreme Court.

Japan maintains it is not liable in the matter as it had no knowledge there were leftover chemical warfare agents at the construction site.

Sept. 21, 2012
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The Tokyo High Court on Friday upheld a lower court's denial of a legal complaint filed by a group of Chinese citizens seeking Japanese restitution for injuries sustained in a 2003 chemical weapons leak, Kyodo News reported.