Statement by Mr. Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

August 18, 1999

I am extremely shocked at the news that an earthquake of unprecedented scale hit the west part of Turkey in the early morning on 17th, causing heavy casualties. I should like, on behalf of the Japanese Government and people, to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Turkish Government, afflicted and bereaved families of the earthquake.

Japan, as a country with frequent earthquakes, has accumulated various kinds of experiences in addressing earthquake disasters. The Japanese Government will not spare its cooperation in the activities to tackle the disaster and those who suffer from it.

Today, the first group of rescue team of Japan Disaster Relief Team arrived. The second group is also due to arrive later today, and a medical team is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. These 50 personnel intend to do its best in rescue activities and medical assistance activities in the earthquake stricken areas.

Furthermore, the Japanese Government decided to extend emergency and humanitarian aid of about $1 million including emergency aid materials such as medicines, tents blankets etc..

Japan and Turkey are tied by strong bonds of friendship. I should like to convey Japan's spirit of solidarity for the Turkish people, as a country that is often struck by earthquakes. I also hope from the bottom of the heart that the Turkish people suffering from the disaster will overcome it and proceed towards rehabilitation and reconstruction.

(END)


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