• Kyodo

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A group of Chinese activists on Thursday handed to the Japanese Embassy a petition with 1 million signatures seeking compensation for buried World War II chemicals in northeastern China.

Six activists, led by a man who once worked in Japan, presented six volumes of signatures at the embassy gate around 9:45 a.m.

Three embassy officials received the signatures, which were collected via the Internet, and listened in silence to group leader Feng Jinhua advocate compensation for the barrels of mustard gas found Aug. 4 in the city of Qiqihar. They had been left behind by the Japanese military at the end of the war.

The activists, with about 50 sympathizers, also unfurled a banner with additional signatures outside the embassy gate and gave news interviews until police shooed them away at about 10:30 a.m.

“We wish to be friends with Japan, but we can’t if historical questions do not get solved,” said Feng, referring to the buried weaponry and the Japanese government’s attitude toward the invasion of China in the 1930s.

Chinese, heavily influenced by state-controlled media, regularly complain that Japanese leaders and citizens have not recognized the severity of the wartime invasion of China.

The activists requested compensation for the buried gas in Qiqihar, which killed a man and sent more than 40 others to hospital.

“They can use this chance to make improvements, to right a wrong,” said Feng, who helps operate an anti-Japan Web site.

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