MORIOKA – About 5 tons of liquid waste containing sodium cyanide capable of killing 125,000 people leaked from a plating factory in Iwate Prefecture, but the factory operator said it has retrieved most of the toxic fluid and received no reports of health issues from nearby residents.
Kurosaka Plating Co., based in Tokyo, said Tuesday that the fluid began leaking from a tank at its factory in Hanamaki after a snowplow struck it at around 7 a.m. Monday.
Kurosaka Plating said snow absorbed most of the waste, and the company collected it and the soil underneath.
Company officials said they were investigating whether the liquid entered reservoirs and nearby streams outside the factory grounds.
Cyanide in various compounds has been used for suicides and murders, both real and fictional, over the past century.
Ian Fleming’s fictional secret agents were issued with cyanide capsules for use in the event of capture, although cinematic hero James Bond is said to have thrown his away.
Hydrogen cyanide was used by the Nazis for mass exterminations in some gas chambers during World War II and a number of senior Nazis used the poison to commit suicide.