The Straits Times
Published on Sep 05, 2012

Japan to help US, Canada with tsunami debris


TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will draw up a plan to help the United States and Canada with debris along their Pacific coasts, as it looks to pay back support received after last year's tsunami, officials said on Wednesday.

Tokyo is aiming to offer help, possibly in the form of payment, as a way of showing its gratitude for the outpouring of sympathy in the days and weeks after the monster waves devastated the country's northeast coast in March 2011.

"Although Japan is not obliged to retrieve debris on the North American side of the Pacific, we can't say we will do nothing about it as we received enormous support from the United States and other countries after the disaster," an official at the Cabinet Office told AFP.

"In addition to the cooperation we are already engaged in through NGO activities and through providing information on debris, we are studying measures, including the option of paying for the clean-up," he said. "We hope to decide what measures Japan will take before the bulk of the debris reaches North America's Pacific coasts" in autumn, he said.