Ready to help

JAPAN has been through many natural disasters and is ready to share lessons learnt with Fiji, says charge d’affaires at the Japanese Embassy, Kinzo Nakagun.

“We know what to do to prepare and also to recover from natural disasters like Severe TC Winston and that is why we would like to share our experiences with Fiji,” he said.

Mr Nakagun added that his Government was assisting locals through human development programs facilitated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.

“We have invited a number of Fijian people from various sectors to Japan to teach them about disaster preparation.”

The Japanese Government representative said preparedness was critical in reducing the impact that natural disasters could have on infrastructure and human life.

“We cannot run away from natural disasters like cyclones, we can only prepare well.

“Without knowledge and experience we cannot be effective in our preparations but once we learn better preparation techniques and procedures, we can overcome some of the effects of natural disasters.”

JICA resident representative Hiroyuki Sawada said the Japanese Government has been supporting Fiji by providing technical support and equipment to the Fiji Meteorological Service.

“This has enabled Fiji to improve weather warning systems,” he said.

“The Fiji Government can provide early warnings to the people but the people must take the information seriously and use it to prepare accordingly.

“That’s very important for future disasters.”

Mr Sawada said in Japan, children were taught disaster preparation techniques and strategies in school.

“This is the type of education programs we need in Fiji. We have not formalised a program to introduce these types of disaster preparedness education in Fiji but we are ready to do so if the Fiji Government requests this type of assistance.”

Japan contributed more than $360,000 worth of tents, sleeping bags, plastic sheets and generators to Severe TC Winston victims.

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