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Japan offers assistance in wake of deadly Taiwan quake

2016/02/06 15:19:12

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that Japan stands ready to assist Taiwan after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern Taiwan earlier in the day, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Abe offered to help with the rescue and relief efforts, in a message conveyed to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by Takashi Hamada (濱田隆), secretary general of the Taipei Office of the Interchange Association of Japan, according to the ministry.

The association represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Abe expressed sympathy for the earthquake victims and said the Japanese government is willing to provide Taiwan with human and material support, the foreign ministry said.

President Ma has asked Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) to convey his thanks to Japan via the association, according to the ministry.

It said Taiwan is still in the process of assessing the damage and losses from the earthquake and will accept Japan's offer of help, if necessary.

The magnitude 6.4 quake, centered in Kaohsiung, struck Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. Saturday, killing at least seven people and injuring 358.

As of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, some 11 people were still trapped in a collapsed building in Tainan, the hardest hit area, according to information from the Central Emergency Operation Center.

A total of 92 survivors were being housed in emergency shelters in Tainan, where some 13 buildings have partly or fully collapsed.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Evelyn Kao; click here for the full coverage of the earthquke aftermath.)