(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)
Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura
Date: Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 9:25 a.m.
Place: In front of the Minister's Room at the House
- Earthquake in Western China
Regarding the earthquake in China. The scale of the damage is becoming apparent. At this point in time, what is the current status of any assistance from Japan in terms of material or personnel assistance?
Japan will give consideration to what assistance it can provide, bearing in mind the wishes of China. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda sent a letter expressing his condolences to President Hu Jintao, and to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. For my part, I sent a letter of condolence to State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. In those letters, I stated that Japan is prepared to respond according to the requests from China, and asked them to detail what they would like us to do. I just heard that Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Hiroya Masuda has stated that if a request is made, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) is prepared to dispatch personnel. China is our neighbor, and given that it has suffered great damage, we would like to extend such assistance as much as we can. On the other hand, we must first understand what requests China has, because some countries prefer to handle such situations on their own. At the same time, I intend to make sure that we are prepared to respond to the fullest extent necessary.
As it stands right now, haven't you received a concrete request from China yet?
Not at all. At the current point in time, we have not received any concrete request.
Regarding Japanese nationals, do you have any information regarding the safety of Japanese nationals in the area?
I have been informed that as of now, we have received no reports of Japanese casualties. That does not mean that we have been able to contact with all of the Japanese nationals there. We will be continuously committed to confirming their situations.
I suppose that some Japanese people are traveling in the region. How much information have you obtained thus far about these people?
In terms of Japanese nationals residing in that area, we have been able to confirm the safety of approximately 120 people, which accounts for approximately 40% of the Japanese nationals residing in the Sichuan Province. We have not yet been able to establish contact with the remaining people. Regarding people traveling in the area, it is in fact quite difficult to ascertain the situation.
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