• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday Japan will offer $4 billion in aid for global efforts to improve disaster management over the four years through 2018, including support for building infrastructure in developing countries.

In a speech to the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, still recovering from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Abe also announced Tokyo’s plans to help train 40,000 experts across the globe in disaster prevention and recovery.

“Disaster prevention is the highest-priority issue both in developed and developing countries,” Abe said. “In developing economies, from which 90 percent of disaster victims are from, it is also a significant task in terms of ensuring sustainable growth and adapting to climate change.”

The five-day conference is partly aimed at showcasing Japan’s initiative to foster international cooperation on disaster risk reduction as a quake-prone country with extensive experience in the subject, including the 2011 disasters that triggered the triple core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Japan is planning to send experts around the world to give advice and other help in drafting legislation and plans for disaster prevention.

“I hope we will be able to contribute to the international community by utilizing Japan’s knowledge and technology,” Abe said.

“I promise to further promote cooperation on disaster prevention” based on Japan’s new initiative as well as the new action plan on disaster risk reduction that is expected to be adopted at the conference, he added.

The government says international cooperation would help the world adapt to the repercussions of climate change, including rising temperatures, retreating glaciers and rises in sea level. It wants to offer strong support, especially to countries deemed vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Abe also underscored the importance of calling for broader societal participation in devising disaster-prevention measures, particularly by women.

Abe has recently been promoting gender equality and opportunities for women to exercise leadership in both social and economic issues.

Delegates from more than 160 countries are scheduled to be in Sendai for the third U.N. gathering on disaster risk reduction, which ends on Wednesday.

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