Korean government officials discuss countermeasures after a huge quake hit Japan on Friday. (Yonhap News)
South Korea will send a rescue team to help Japan in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Although no South Korean casualties have been reported so far, more than 9,000 Koreans live near the region where the 8.8-magnitude quake struck Friday, sparking concerns here.
“The South Korean government would like to express condolences to the Japanese government and its people over the earthquake and tsunami that hit its northeastern region as of 2:50 p.m. today,” said South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae.
Seoul will “cooperate in every way it can” to help Japan overcome the disaster as soon as possible, the spokesman said, adding that the ministry is trying to verify if there are any Korean casualties.
The strong quake struck off northeastern Japan early Friday, prompting the country to issue a tsunami warning for its entire Pacific coast.
South Korea currently has about 40 rescue workers on standby to send as soon as Tokyo requests them. Seoul will also soon send a message of sympathy to Japan in the name of President Lee Myung-bak and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, according to the Foreign Ministry here.
Some 910,000 Koreans live in Japan, with more than 9,000 residing or traveling near Sendai, which was directly hit by Friday’s earthquake, according to the South Korean government.
By Shin Hae-in (firstname.lastname@example.org)