11/03/2013 - Two years have passed today since one of the biggest disasters in Japan's history. Although Japan is one of the best prepared countries to cope with disasters, the magnitude of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami made it necessary to complement Japan's response capacities with international assistance.
The EU responded swiftly and delivered a coherent assistance package to the victims of the disaster. In seven shipments, almost 400 tons of in-kind assistance, such as protective equipment and radiation dose rate meters, were provided by 19 Member States and delivered to Japan through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. A 15-person EU Civil Protection Assessment and Coordination Team was also deployed to the site of the disaster to coordinate the distribution of assistance on the ground.
The total financial contribution from the EU and its Member States reached more than €17 million. This funding provided food, shelter, care and relief to thousands of Japanese people affected by the earthquake, tsunami and/or radiation.
Building on their cooperation during the initial post-disaster relief effort, the EU and Japan agreed to further increase their active dialogue and collaboration. For the past two years, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO has been forging closer cooperation with Japanese authorities in the fields of emergency relief operations and disaster preparedness and prevention.