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Japan sending emergency response team to Sri Lanka in wake of terror attacks

  • April 23, 2019
  • , The Mainichi
  • English Press

TOKYO — The government is sending an emergency response team to Sri Lanka to confirm the safety of Japanese nationals in the area following a series of suicide bombings that left over 300 people dead.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the move to send a Foreign Affairs Ministry team, comprising doctors and workers from related government ministries and agencies, during a news conference on April 22.


In addition to efforts to protect Japanese nationals, the government intends to call on other countries to boost counterterrorism measures.


The Easter attacks, which struck three churches and three hotels, killed one Japanese person and injured four other Japanese nationals, the government said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed condolences to the victims on the morning of April 22.


“I feel deep sorrow and at the same time, strong anger,” Abe said. “Acts of terror like these are never forgivable. I strongly condemn these acts. Japan will join hands with Sri Lanka and international society, and steadfastly fight terrorism.”


The Japanese government plans to call for the strengthening of global counterterrorism measures as it prepares to host the Rugby World Cup in Japan between September and November this year and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.


Following the latest attacks, Abe moved to enhance ties with Sri Lanka, sending messages to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in which he expressed “sincere solidarity” with the Sri Lankan people to overcome this difficult time.


The government set up a liaison office within the Japanese Foreign Ministry in the wake of the terror attacks as well as an emergency contact headquarters at the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka. An information coordination office was also set up within the crisis management center at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, and is gathering information. After ascertaining the situation in Sri Lanka, the government plans to move ahead with preparations to bring Japanese nationals home from the country at an early stage, including those who were injured.

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