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Korea, US, Japan agree to bolster cancer research

South Korea, the United States and Japan have agreed to cooperate to effectively treat and eventually eradicate cancer, the leading cause of death in the three countries, Seoul's health ministry said Tuesday.

The agreement was made at a meeting of health ministers of the three countries, which was presided over by US Vice President Joe Biden in New York on Monday (local time), the Ministry of Health and Welfare said in a press release.

"The three countries agreed to construct an international consortium and make public results and data from every research," the ministry said. "All of these are aimed at ending cancer."

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.

The three sides agreed to bolster an anticancer drive, by collaborating on cancer research for early diagnoses aimed at improving survival rates, officials said.

The ministers also agreed to share data on new cancer treatments and technologies to curb high treatment and research costs, they added.

"I hope this meeting will be remembered as a small but great leap in humanity's fight to conquer cancer," South Korean Health and Welfare Minister Chung Chin-youb said.

The attendees of the meeting included Chung's Japanese counterpart Yasuhisa Shiozaki and Sylvia Burwell, the US health and human services secretary.

It marks the first health ministers' meeting following a trilateral summit in March when US President Barack Obama called on the leaders to participate in the "Cancer Moonshot" initiative driven by Biden.

Earlier this month, the Seoul government announced a set of measures to effectively treat and prevent the deadly disease, by providing free checkups to heavy smokers and other financial aid to cancer patients in low-income brackets. (Yonhap)