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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told China’s No. 2 leader Friday that Japan will deal “sincerely” with last month’s poison gas leak from barrels abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army in China at the end of World War II.

“The Japanese government will deal sincerely with the issue via discussions with diplomatic authorities,” Koizumi told China’s parliamentary leader, Wu Bangguo, at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

The leak killed a man in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, and sickened more than 40 others. Japan plans to offer 100 million yen to the victims of the incident, although this measure has not been formerly announced.

Koizumi made the remark in response to a request by Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, to take sufficient measures to compensate the victims.

“We hope the Japanese side will take appropriate steps to cope with the gas incident,” Wu was quoted as saying.

Regarding North Korea, Koizumi voiced gratitude for China’s efforts in hosting six-way talks aimed at resolving Pyongyang’s suspected development of nuclear weapons.