MANILA – No Filipino was among the eight reported casualties in the massive earthquake that struck central Japan on New Year’s Day, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported Tuesday.
In a text message, DFA Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said the Philippine Consulate General in Nagoya continues to monitor all Filipinos living and traveling in the most affected areas.
The Consulate has jurisdiction over the prefectures affected, including Ishikawa, where the tremor's epicenter was located.
“The Filipino community has been contacted and no reports of any Filipino casualty at this time,” de Vega said.
“Following established emergency procedures, local communities are following prefectural government announcements to keep safe in higher ground for the moment,” he added.
Based on the latest DFA data, there are at least 1,305 Filipinos in the Ishikawa Prefecture, 2,915 in Niigata Prefecture, 1,884 in Fukui Prefecture, 2,620 in Toyama Prefecture, and 14,553 in Gifu Prefecture.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK on Tuesday said eight people died in Ishikawa while injuries have been reported in Niigata, Fukui, Toyama, and Gifu.
At the epicenter, scores of buildings collapsed and dozens more have burned down.
A series of major earthquakes, the largest of which had a magnitude of 7.6, struck after 4 p.m. local time on January 1, prompting Japan and nearby countries such as South Korea, North Korea, and Russia to issue tsunami warnings.
The Japanese government has since lifted its highest-level tsunami alert.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed willingness to help the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) in the wake of the earthquake.
"Recognizing the severity of the situation and the subsequent issuance of major tsunami warnings, the AFP extends its support and sympathy to the Japanese people," AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in a statement late Monday.
He added that in times of crisis, international cooperation becomes paramount.
"The AFP expresses its readiness to collaborate with the JSDF in any way deemed necessary," Brawner stressed.
He also added that the AFP remains committed to fostering strong bonds of friendship and cooperation with the JSDF and is united with its shared dedication to safeguarding the well-being of the two nations and contributing to global peace and security. (PNA)