Japan offered US$2.7m compensation for 46 workmen poisoned in August when they disturbed mustard gas canisters left behind by the Japanese army in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, during the Pacific War. China did not immediately say whether it would accept the proposed settlement.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had earlier offered "heartfelt condolences and sympathies" to the workers in a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Asean summit in Bali. The family of one man who died as a result of poisoning has demanded US$290,000 in compensation.
Campaigning groups in China said that it was not enough to compensate the victims of a single incident and called on Japan for a broader 'compensation proposal'. The Japanese government usually avoids references to 'compensation' to avoid reopening the issue of war-related reparations, which it considers already settled.