[JURIST] Japanese authorities on Tuesday arrested five officials of Pacific Consultants International [corporate website] and its affiliate, Abandoned Chemical Weapons Disposal Corp. (ACWDC), for allegedly defrauding the Japanese government of $1.1 million in connection with a government program to remove abandoned chemical weapons left in China by Japanese troops at the end of World War II. ACWD has been the government's sole contractor on the project, which has been plagued by delays and has cost the the country over $222 million since it began in 2004. The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention [text; Japan MOFA backgrounder] gives Japan until 2012 to clean up the abandoned weapons, which have been blamed for over 2,000 Chinese deaths since 1945. AP has more.
The abandoned weapons have long been a point of friction between the two countries, but the Tokyo High Court [official backgrounder] has denied Chinese claimants relief for injuries from the leaks, ruling that earlier removal of the weapons would have been impractical or impossible [JURIST reports].