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Japan, ASEAN to enhance disaster management cooperation.

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 21 Kyodo

Foreign ministers of Japan and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations held talks Thursday in Bali, Indonesia, with an eye on agreeing to enhance cooperation in disaster management, drawing upon their respective experiences of major earthquakes and tsunami.

Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto proposed to his ASEAN counterparts Tokyo's new initiative for a ''Disaster Management Network for the ASEAN Region,'' which involves sharing information and knowledge in preventing and managing disasters by such measures as deploying satellites.

The comprehensive network is also intended to improve disaster response capabilities in the region through the dispatch of Japanese experts, training sessions and the provision of funding, according to Japanese officials.

The initiative follows an accord in April between Matsumoto and ASEAN ministers to enhance coordination mechanisms to facilitate the flow of assistance during natural disasters.

The agreement was reached at a special Japan-ASEAN ministerial meeting held in Jakarta to show the regional bloc's solidarity with Japan in the wake of the March 11 quake and tsunami that have left more than 20,000 people dead or missing.

Some ASEAN countries were severely hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which killed more than 160,000 people.

Japan also underlined its support for the just-launched ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management in Jakarta, which is aimed at facilitating regional cooperation to deal with natural disasters, the Japanese officials said.

The ministers also reaffirmed Japan's commitment to economic development projects to enhance ''connectivity'' in the region by constructing infrastructure in such fields as transport and information communications technology and simplifying procedures for logistics service, they said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Jul 25, 2011
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