ASEAN Convenes Special Meeting on Japan Disaster Relief

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Foreign ministers with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are showing their solidarity with Japan after last month's earthquake and tsunami there. At a meeting with Japan's foreign minister, they said they will stand side by side in the time to come.

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a special meeting with the Japanese foreign minister in Jakarta on Saturday... to show their solidarity with the disaster-hit nation.

Last month's magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami has left 28,000 people dead or missing.

[Marty Natalegawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister]:
"Out of today's meeting not only have we heard one another bilateral and national effort to support Japan, but we have also determined ourselves to work closely so that we can have an ASEAN response to the development in Japan."

Japan's formal relationship with ASEAN dates back to 1977, when Japan attended the organization's second summit meeting.

Since that time, Japan and ASEAN have had a strong partnership that has contributed significantly to the region's economic, social, and political development.

The fate of Japan's nuclear plants was also discussed at the meeting.

[Takeaki Matsumoto, Japanese Foreign Minister]:
"I have explained to the ASEAN countries that with regard the nuclear power accident, in the future I think we must provide updates on a daily basis."

Japan has warned it could take months to stop radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was crippled three weeks ago.

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