Sun, Jan 02, 2005 - Page 6 News List

ASEAN members nations to hash out relief strategy

AP , TOKYO

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to attend an emergency meeting in Jakarta next week to discuss the response to the earthquake and tsunamis that killed more than 120,000 in Asia and Africa, a news report said yesterday.

Koizumi will convey Japan's willingness to help stem the spread of disease and assist with the reconstruction of affected areas at the one-day conference in the Indonesian capital scheduled for Thursday, Kyodo News reported.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations was organizing the meeting, which will also include leaders or representatives from India and Sri Lanka.

Japan had considered sending Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to the gathering but reconsidered after Indonesia strongly requested Koizumi's presence, the report said.

Officials at the prime minister's office were unavailable for comment on New Year's day, a national holiday.

Japan's death toll from the tsunamis rose to 18, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, after officials confirmed the identify of a 35-year old woman killed while vacationing in Thailand.

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