Japan WWII poison gas agents still scarring people today
TOKYO - Japan and China recently marked the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations, but traces of around 7.46 million poison gas weapons produced mainly during their war from 1937 to 1945 remain in both countries. The Environmental Dispute Coordination Commission determined the substance, which can cause vomiting, must have come from a poison gas weapon of the Imperial Japanese Army as there was no evidence of it having been manufactured after World War II. In the surrounding area, residents had been complaining of deteriorating health since the late 1990s. Masato Yukutake, a former hospital head, said more than a decade ago that "Kamisu's poison gas may have come from Okunoshima Island." The tiny island in the Seto Inland Sea off Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, is a popular tourist destination known for being the home of hundreds of bunnies, but it was once a "Poison gas island" where the Imperial Japanese Army secretly manufactured chemical weapons from around 1930 to the end of the war. Japan operated a secret factory on Okunoshima, after the use of poison gas weapons was prohibited under international law in 1925. It is thought that 2.66 million poison gas weapons employing diphenylarsinic acid were manufactured on the island and about 6,800 former Okunoshima factory workers were left with cancer, respiratory diseases and other conditions. The daughter, who helped her father edit the book, said his work treating those sickened by the poison gas spurred him to travel to Iran to provide medical support to victims of the Iraqi army's chemical weapons attacks during the war between the countries in the 1980s.