Part of the Fengman Dam is blown up in Jilin province, China on Dec. 12. (Video footage by Yoshikazu Hirai)

JILIN, China--Work is under way to demolish an aging dam that Japan constructed in the Manchuria region during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which locals say was built with the "flesh and blood" of Chinese labor.

The Fengman Dam in Jilin province stems the Songhua River and was considered the largest such structure in Asia. It is about 1.1 kilometers long and 90 meters high.

Construction of it in Japan's then-puppet state of Manchukuo started in 1937, the same year the war started, mainly to control water and generate electricity. Part of the power generation facilities went in operation during the war.

Many Chinese lost their lives under severe work conditions during the dam's construction. A memorial tower was created near the structure during the war.

Currently, there is a museum on the premises of a nearby electric power generation plant with an explanation as follows: "The dam was constructed by Japanese invaders using Chinese flesh and blood."

Even after the war, use of the dam continued. In the 1990s, the Japan International Cooperation Agency cooperated on a study to restore the dam. However, it was decided that the aging structure should be demolished. The demolition work will continue through April 2019.

An electric power company that managed the dam has nearly completed construction of a replacement dam 120 meters downstream.

Part of the Fengman Dam will be preserved and an observation deck will be set up for tourists.