PH offers humanitarian aid as Japan recovers from Typhoon Hagibis
Marje Pelayo • October 14, 2019 • 1310
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the government of Japan following the massive destruction brought about by the ‘violent’ Typhoon Hagibis that struck the east Asian country over the weekend.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s expression of sympathy to the Japanese people for the victims of the disaster.
“The Philippine embassy in Tokyo is closely monitoring the situation and is now in coordination with the members of the Filipino community in typhoon-affected areas in Japan,” Panelo said.
“As we offer our prayers, the Office of the President has likewise asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to get in touch with its Japanese counterpart for possible humanitarian assistance we can provide,” he added.
Public broadcaster NHK reported more than 30 people were killed, almost 20 people went missing and over 160 people were injured after ‘Hagibis’ brought record-breaking volume of rainfall and flooded huge swaths of residential districts on Saturday (October 12) and Sunday (October 13) in Tokyo and other areas in central, eastern and northeastern region,
‘Hagibis,’ which means ‘speed’ in Filipino language, inundated cities and towns across Japan including those in Nagano, Niigata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.
Rescue efforts were ramped up for survivors as many trapped in their homes after major rivers overflowed their banks on the onset of what Japan considered as the ‘heaviest’ typhoon to hit the country in decades.
Many people were forced to abandon submerged homes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a ministerial meeting on the typhoon held on Sunday (October 13) extended his condolences for all those who lost their lives and offered sympathy to all those impacted by Typhoon Hagibis.
Japan’s annual defense review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19.
“We’ve written some details about China’s persistent moves to attempt to alter the status quo surrounding the Senkaku Islands which is our territory,” said Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday (July 14).
The white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Tuesday described “relentless” intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.
Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military. (Reuters)
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.
The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.
“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.
Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)
Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).
Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.
However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.
Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.
Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.
Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)
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