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Japanese leader says thanks for Taiwan's disaster aid

2012/03/13 15:48:00

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda thanked Taiwan and the international community Sunday for the help extended to his country after it was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami one year ago.

"We will not forget ... the outpouring of support and international expressions of solidarity, including Taiwan's, that Japan received," Noda said in the Chinese-language version of an open letter of thanks on the first anniversary of the disaster.

The letter followed a half-page advertisement in leading Taiwanese newspapers Sunday and a TV commercial by the Japan's quasi-official Interchange Association, expressing gratitude for Taiwan's assistance.

After the disaster on March 11 last year, Taiwan donated about 20 billion Japanese yen (US$260.64 million) in cash, 90 percent of which came from private donors.

An international version of the letter in English was published as an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, while a version addressing China was published Monday in the Beijing News.

Noda, who took office last September, mentioned in the letter the progress of Japan's rebuilding efforts, which include developing solar and wind energy farms and using smart grids.

Using its expertise in technologies in energy-efficiency and other areas, Japan plans to create a model for growth and sustainability that can be shared with Taiwan and the world, Noda said.

Japan also aims to create conditions to support increased international interest and investment in the country's business and tourism by providing timely and accurate information, he said.

At the end of the letter, Noda said his country's goal is not to restore the situation prior to the disaster but to build a new Japan, with the determination to overcome the historic challenge facing the nation.

Japan was struck last year by a magnitude-9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people, left over 3,000 missing and caused a series of nuclear accidents.

The World Bank estimated the economic cost of the disaster at US$235 billion, a historical high for a natural disaster.

(By Huang Jui-hung and Kay Liu)
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