Japan to offer $129 million in aid to Ebola-hit West Africa

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (second from left), flanked by Labour, Health and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki (left), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (second from right) and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (second from left), flanked by Labour, Health and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki (left), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (second from right) and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi (right), attends the first ministerial meeting regarding the Ebola virus in Tokyo on Oct 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will provide up to US$100 million (S$129.4 million) in fresh aid to Ebola-hit West Africa, the government said on Friday, after the United States called for further global efforts to combat the deadly virus.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the aid would come on top of US$40 million assistance announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September. "We will go ahead with our assistance in an appropriate manner for the purpose of helping treat Ebola patients and preventing infections from spreading further," Mr Suga told a news conference.

Mr Suga said Mr Abe was expected to give further details on the latest package during upcoming international gatherings, which kick off with an Apec summit in Beijing next week.

The announcement came after a White House official said US President Barack Obama was seeking more than US$6 billion in emergency funding to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and respond to cases in the United States.

The United Nations has said the Ebola outbreak, which is known to have killed around 5,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, is a threat to world peace and security.

US officials have criticised the level of international support for countries hit by Ebola and said foreign governments needed to do more to send doctors and equipment.

The United States has deployed military and civilian personnel to the region to build hospitals and provide logistical and other assistance.