The government approved a plan Thursday to begin removal of gas shells abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army in China’s Jilin Province after World War II, government officials said.

The removal activities in Harbaling, located on the outskirts of Dunhua in the province, are in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, which took effect in 1997.

The convention states that Japan must dispose of all abandoned chemical weapons in China by 2007. While Japanese estimates put the number of abandoned chemical weapons at around 700,000, China maintains the figure is closer to 2 million.

Of Japan’s estimate of 700,000 shells, 670,000 are thought to be buried in Harbaling. As the area is a wetland, the government also approved a plan to construct a 10-km road to aid removal activities.

Removal activities will take place during this fiscal year, the officials said.

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