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The U.S. government will continue its financial contributions to atomic bomb radiation research in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, allocating $14 million to the work for 2005, officials confirmed Monday.

A spokesman for the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima said that Burton Bennett, foundation chairman, learned of the decision last week during his visit to the United States.

In March, the U.S. Department of Energy told the foundation it would reduce the U.S. share for the research programs, said spokesman Hiroyuki Ueoka.

Bennett and senior foundation researchers and scientists petitioned U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker and members of Congress for continued contributions to the study, Ueoka said.

The foundation, formerly called the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, was established in April 1975 to research health effects of radiation in the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, during the final days of World War II.

The research is funded by U.S. and Japanese governments, who each have been providing $14 million yearly, Ueoka said.

In the Hiroshima and Nagasaki laboratories, researchers use clinical medicine, epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, statistics and computer science to study radiation effects on nuclear bomb victims and their children, he said

“With almost all of the younger-exposed individuals and more than 45 percent of the total population still alive, it is important to continue the study for some further decades,” according to a statement on the foundation’s Web site. The site, www.rerf.or.jp, is in Japanese and English.

As of March 31, 273,918 people were officially recognized as nuclear bomb survivors in Japan, according to an official of the Health Bureau at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Labor.

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