TAIPEI–The first batch of relief supplies sent by Taiwan to Japan arrived Monday in the wake of a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern areas of the country’s main island of Honshu last Friday. China Airlines (CAL), Taiwan’s largest carrier, said that it landed 5,100 kilograms of relief supplies, including blankets, sleeping bags, jackets and food rations, at Haneda International Airport on the same flight that was carrying a 28-member search and rescue team from Taiwan. CAL said that it was working with the relief mission and expected to transport at least 10,128 kilograms of supplies to Tokyo Monday. Meanwhile, a visiting Japanese official said in Taipei Monday that he appreciated Taiwan’s concern and assistance in the wake of the quake and looked forward to its continued support. Tsutomu Ideno, director of the Culture and Tourism Department of the coastal Shizuoka Prefecture, was in Taiwan mainly to attend the signing ceremony for a youth exchange agreement between Shizuoka’s education department and its counterparts in Taichung City, Changhua and Taitung counties Monday.
Japan’s quasi-official Interchange Association, which looks after Japan’s relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, expressed appreciation to Taiwan’s public and private sectors for offering condolences and assistance in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan March 11. “We have received very warm messages of care and sympathy from President Ma Ying-jeou and various sectors in Taiwan, as well as expressions of willingness to help,” the association said in a statement.