On the afternoon of May 21, International Department, Director-General,
Tetsundo Iwakuni visited the Myanmar Embassy in Kitashinagawa, Tokyo and
met with Ambassador to Japan, Hla Myint.
Iwakuni handed over a message to the ambassador from Katsuya Okada,
Chair of the "Countermeasures Headquarters for the Myanmar Cyclone and Sichuan,
China Earthquake", addressed to Chairman of the State Peace and
Development Council Than Shwe of Myanmar. In addition, while expressing
condolences for the victims and the bereaved due to the cyclone, Iwakuni
requested that Myanmar accept the assistance of aid workers from Japan and
other countries who have accomplished many achievements in disaster relief.
In response, Ambassador Hla Myint emphasized that while his government
has been in contact with the United Nations and other international
bodies, the neighboring ASEAN nations, as well as NGOs from various
countries, they were accepting aid workers in addition to relief supplies.
The ambassador also specifically named some Japanese NGOs while expressing
gratitude for their rapid response.
Furthermore, Iwakuni suggested, "Myanmar should make specific requests
to the international community." The ambassador stated, "The Yangon
International Airport does not have the facilities to unload relief
supplies from airplanes, as the labor involved takes time and will create
a bottleneck for victims," and mentioned that he had met with Foreign
Minister Koumura on the previous day and presented the problem at the
The meeting lasted for about thirty minutes. Before leaving the embassy,
Iwakuni once more expressed his heartfelt feelings of condolence to the
deceased by saying, "We feel that for relations between the people of
Japan and Myanmar to become closer and warmer through this disaster would
be the greatest condolence to the victims."
The 2 million yen donated by the Democratic Party of Japan will be sent
to Japanese NGOs working in Myanmar will be of direct assistance to
cyclone survivors in the area.