• Kyodo

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The U.S. Department of Energy might cut its funding to the Hiroshima-based Radiation Effects Research Foundation for the U.S. 2005 fiscal year beginning in October, foundation officials said.

The department has said it plans to concentrate funding on national security, the officials said. RERF is responsible for joint research by Japan and the United States on atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of RERF’s 3.7 billion yen annual budget, 2.8 billion yen is shared on a 50-50 basis by the energy department and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. The remaining 900 million yen is covered by the health ministry alone.

The U.S. department has not given any indication of the size of the cut, but it is likely that RERF’s research activities will face drastic changes.

The plan was conveyed to health ministry officials and Burton Bennett, a top official of RERF, by U.S. officials who visited Japan in mid-March.

Bennett said he hopes the department will contribute to RERF in accordance with annual custom due to the importance of the research.

But another senior official said, “We will have to suspend our research if the department cuts its budget by 30 percent.”

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