Following the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency in Japan, the Government of Canada quickly engaged Japanese officials and offered them its full support.
Only a few days after the disasters, in response to a formal request by the Government of Japan, the Government of Canada announced that it would provide approximately 25,000 woven thermal wool blankets from its emergency relief supply stockpile to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
In response to a second request, the Government of Canada then provided some 150 portable radiation survey meters and 5,000 personal dosimeters to assist officials responding to the nuclear emergency. Two Canadian experts were also deployed to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to support efforts to address the emergency at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The Embassy of Canada to Japan has also been actively engaged in relief efforts, having organized events to provide food to people in the affected region using Canadian and local ingredients, with support from Canadian producers and volunteers. In addition, the Embassy of Canada to Japan, and Canadian and Japanese partners, established The Hope for Youth Program, which is providing scholarships to 150 youth whose lives were affected by the disasters to study English or French in Canada.
In November 2011, the governments of Canada and of British Columbia, in partnership with Canada’s forestry industry, announced $4.5 million in support of the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project, which will assist in the construction of community facilities such as a school or elderly care centre in Japan’s disaster-affected region. Reconstruction will be done using a Canadian wood frame construction technique and wood material.
The Canadian public and private sectors also donated generously to the relief efforts, providing support in a variety of forms, from Canadian companies helping to restore telecommunications infrastructure in the affected region, to individuals sending messages of encouragement and hope.
Canada considers itself fortunate to have such a strong Asia-Pacific friend and partner. One year after these catastrophic disasters, Canada remains committed to standing by Japan’s side as it rebuilds.