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The Ibaraki Prefectural Government began accepting applications Monday for medical costs related to health problems believed caused by poison gas abandoned by the Japanese military.

Residents of Kamisu who have ingested water from wells containing levels of arsenic above government limits are eligible to receive medical funds under a central government package.

The prefectural government plans to judge whether applicants are eligible from hair and nail samples.

About 530 wells in the town have been found to contain arsenic levels above environmental standards.

Thirty residents suffered arsenic poisoning after drinking water from one of the wells, which were found in March to contain 450 times the allowable level of arsenic.

Arsenic has also been detected in the urine of another 17 residents.

People who have been hospitalized will receive a lump sum of 700,000 yen, and those who have not will receive 300,000 yen, the Environment Ministry said. In addition, all will receive 20,000 yen a month for three years.

People whose hair and urine test positive will be given free annual checkups and reimbursed for medical expenses, as well as 15,000 yen per month for hospital visits and 25,000 yen per month for hospitalization, the ministry said.

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