Japan pays for tsunami cleanup on Canadian coast

OTTAWA (AFP) - Japan provided C$1 million (S$1.2 million) on Wednesday to help clean up debris from the March 2011 tsunami that has washed up along Canada's shores.

Japanese Consul General Seiji Okada said the grant "represents a token of gratitude to the government of Canada and the Canadian people in recognition of the tremendous support provided to Japan" in the wake of the tsunami.

The tsunami followed a 9.0-magnitude subsea earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11, 2011, killing nearly 19,000 people.

The quake and tsunami deeply damaged the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing partial meltdowns in several units and spilling radioactive particles into the air and sea nearby.

The Japanese government estimates that about 1.5 million tonnes of debris - equal to half the solid waste produced by the western Canadian city of Vancouver in a year - was washed out into the Pacific Ocean soon after the disaster.

Some of it remains afloat.

Ocean currents and winds also carried plastic items, Styrofoam, construction debris, rope, fishing nets and buoys across more than 11,000km to land on the pristine wilderness shores of Canada's westernmost British Columbia province.