Ministerial Meeting on Community Assistance to Areas Affected by The South Asia Earthquake


MOFA Statement by H E Ichiro Aisawa,
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

Ministerial Meeting on Community Assistance to Areas Affected by The South Asia Earthquake


Statement by H.E. Ichiro Aisawa, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
"Ministerial Meeting on Community Assistance to Areas Affected by the South Asia Earthquake"

H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
H.E. Mr. Muhammad Mian Soomro, Chairman of Senate of the Islamic Republic of
H.E. Mr. Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
Distinguished delegates of participating countries and representatives of international organizations,


1. At the outset, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to those who lost their lives in the recent large-scale earthquake in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and surrounding areas, as well as my sympathies to the victims of this disaster. I also wish to express my sincere respect for the Government of Pakistan and aid workers from various countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who have been making tireless efforts immediately following the earthquake and beyond.

2.Japan had its own experience of being struck by a major earthquake in the Kobe-Hyogo region exactly ten years ago when the lives of over six thousand were lost. Last year, another major earthquake hit Niigata, Japan, which also left serious damage. Having gone through such experiences ourselves, we in Japan feel the deepest sympathy for the victims of this earthquake disaster.

3.As winter approaches, millions of Pakistanis who have lost their homes are in need of relief. President Pervez Musharraf himself has been making earnest efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance, calling on the people to unite and mobilizing the military. However, with roads and other infrastructures destroyed and local governments in paralysis, these are clearly difficult times for Pakistan. Under these circumstances, what is required of us is to make utmost efforts based on the spirit of solidarity for the relief of the people and the rehabilitation and reconstruction.

4.Immediately following the earthquake disaster, Japan announced its policy to spare no effort in extending necessary assistance and has been demonstrating this through concrete actions. That is to say, we have been promptly extending assistance in the three fields: human resource contributions, provision of relief goods, and financial cooperation.

(1)With respect to human resources, we decided, on the day of the earthquake, to dispatch a Rescue Team and a Medical Team. In addition, last week the Government of Japan, taking into account the local needs, dispatched a second Medical Team. Moreover, Japanese NGOs, which have received financial contributions from the Government, have promptly dispatched missions and are carrying out emergency humanitarian assistance activities.


(2)With respect to relief goods, we have extended emergency assistance in kind worth 25 million yen, including blankets, tents, and other goods most needed by the affected areas.


(3)With respect to financial assistance, we decided to provide grant aid of up to 20 million US dollars to cope with the immediate needs. Out of the 20 million US dollars, 12 million US dollars are allocated to the bilateral assistance to the Government of Pakistan, and 8 million US dollars goes through the United Nations (UN) agencies and international organizations in response to a unified appeal by the UN.


5.The immediate challenge we face is to provide shelter, safe water, food, and medical care to the victims who have lost their homes. We should do this in areas where the destruction of roads make it difficult to transport by land. Japan has been taking the following three actions to cope with this problem. First, we have already procured tents, blankets, heavy machinery for infrastructure rehabilitation, water and medical goods, using the 12 million US dollars bilateral assistance. Secondly, we have decided to allocate 8 million US dollars to the international organizations which are engaged in delivery of urgently needed goods. Namely, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Thirdly, in response to requests from the Government of Pakistan, we have dispatched six Ground Self-Defense Force (SDF) helicopters and over 100 SDF personnel, and they are transporting relief goods from Islamabad to the disaster-hit areas.


6.It is extremely important that assistance provided by the international community, including Japan, be implemented effectively and efficiently. In
this regard, we expect the UN to play a more central role in the aid coordination. At UN's initiative, there are already daily coordination meetings in Pakistan among the Government of Pakistan, donor countries, NGOs, and international organizations, and it is important that we further encourage such coordination initiatives on the grand.

7.In addition to the immediate assistance I mentioned earlier, assistance for medium- and long-term reconstruction plans will become important in the coming months. Regarding rehabilitation and reconstruction also, Japan intends to extend as much assistance as possible, including provision of yen loans, taking into account the specific needs of the affected areas. To this end, Japan has already dispatched study missions from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

8.In the aftermath of the earthquake disaster, governments and people of the world have shown prompt and strong solidarity to the victims. Japan has been providing maximum assistance because, thanks to the help from the world, Japan was able to overcome the sufferings of disaster and rise up again. I sincerely hope that this meeting will further strengthen the sympathy and solidarity of the international community, enhance preparedness for natural disaster, and bring hope for the future.

Thank you for your attention.