Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Wednesday, August 16, 2023, 4:10 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:With regard to the devastating damage caused by the wild fires in Hawaii in the United States, I would like to express my deepest sympathies and send my prayers to the victims.
Japan has decided to provide a total of approximately 2 million dollars of assistance through the American Red Cross and Japan Platform (JPF), as a relief measure for the victims of the disaster.
The Government will provide 1.5 million dollars from Japan’s grant aid budget to the American Red Cross, which is engaged in activities in the affected areas. These funds are intended to be used for assistance activities in response to local needs, including the provision of safe evacuation places and food in the affected areas, and psychological support for victims.
Also, the 500,000 dollars of assistance to be provided through JPF is intended to be used for assistance to victims based on local needs, and distributed by Japanese NGOs that are members of JPF.
Japan will actively provide assistance for the relief of the victims and the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas.
Japan and Hawaii have a long history of friendly relations and a broad range of exchanges are actively taking place. Japan stands with the United States, Japan’s only alliance partner with which we share deep bonds, and its people in this most difficult time.
Reporter:With regard to this assistance for Hawaii, are there any plans to convey this decision to the U.S. at the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting scheduled for August 18? Could you also tell us outcomes you are expecting from the summit meeting?
Minister Hayashi:Although I would like to refrain from speculating about what will be discussed in the meeting, it is anticipated that the Prime Minister will express his sympathies to the President. From August 17 to 19, Prime Minister Kishida is scheduled to visit the United States to attend the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit that will be held at Camp David, and in order to assist the Prime Minister, I will be accompanying him and attending the meeting. Through the meeting, we will seek to enhance strategic trilateral coordination among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK in order to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
Reporter:There were several hundred Japanese nationals on the island of Maui when the wild fires broke out. Could you tell us about their safety and the status of any damage they have incurred, and also how the Government plans to support Japanese nationals affected by the fires in terms of the provision of food and other supplies, as well as evacuation from the island?
Minister Hayashi:Currently, although we have information that the homes of Japanese nationals have been damaged by the wild fires, we do not have any information that any have lost their lives or been injured. The Consulate General in Honolulu will lead efforts to get an accurate grasp of the local situation and we will continue to prioritize efforts to secure the safety of Japanese nationals.
Reporter:Just to confirm, was the assistance provided by Japan in response to a request from the United States, or was it determined by some other means?
Minister Hayashi:With regard to the recipient of the funds, we decided to provide them to the American Red Cross and JPF. We have been in close communication with the U.S. Government and the Government of the State of Hawaii, and there was a request from the American Red Cross, which is engaged in relief activities in the area. JPF has experience in providing emergency humanitarian assistance globally.