Compensation for chemicals dumped at end of second world war has yet to be accepted by officials in Beijing Japan has offered China 300 million yen (HK$21.2 million) for harm caused by chemical weapons that were abandoned by the Japanese army in China, officials in Beijing said yesterday. But one said 'no amount of money' could make up for the damage caused. Zhang Qiyue, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Beijing demanded that Japan face up to the 'serious after-effects and political consequences' of a mustard gas incident in Heilongjiang province and take action to prevent similar tragedies. One man died in Qiqihar and 42 people were injured when barrels of mustard gas abandoned by the Japanese military at the end of the second world war were dug up at a construction site on August 4. Ms Zhang did not say whether China would accept the payment, which the Japanese government describes as 'fees for operations to dispose of abandoned chemical weapons'. 'This incident seriously harmed the Chinese people's bodily safety and national sentiments, and no amount of money can compensate for it,' she said. Japan has not officially announced a figure for compensation over the incident. A Japanese newspaper said the Tokyo government would refrain from any reference to 'compensation' to avoid reopening the issue of war-related reparations, which it considers settled. News of the latest offer was greeted with caution by activists campaigning on behalf of Qiqihar victims, who preferred instead to focus on the wider issue of weapons disposal. 'The Qiqihar victims certainly deserve compensation,' said Zhou Wenbo, a prominent anti-Japanese activist. 'But the Japanese side should also supply detailed information about the specific location of chemical weapons dumps in China.' Mr Zhou said it was not enough to compensate the victims of a 'single incident' and called on the Japanese to put forward a broader 'compensation proposal'. The Japanese offer drew an angry response from internet users. One respondent, named Zhang, said on Sina.com that Japan was a 'cowardly nation' which refused to 'face up to its history'. Others said the compensation was not enough and called for a boycott of Japanese products. China rejected earlier proposals to establish a 100 million yen 'co-operation fund' for victims, particularly as the money was to be drawn from an existing fund set up to pay for weapons-disposal programmes in Jilin province. Japan has admitted dumping 700,000 artillery shells, bombs and other weapons loaded with chemical agents in China at the end of the second world war. But it is believed the actual number could be as high as 2 million. Japan has promised to dispose of the weapons, which the central government says have killed at least 2,000 people since 1945. Experts from the two countries have been working together in recent months to search for and destroy the weapons.