• Kyodo

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The government said Monday Japan will dispatch a second disaster relief team to Mauritius this week in response to an oil leak from a Japanese freighter that ran aground off the Indian Ocean island nation last month.

The seven-member team, including officials from the Environment Ministry and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, will leave Japan on Wednesday to help clean up oil and assist in grasping the environmental damage of the incident, the ministry said.

The team will be dispatched at the request of Mauritius and will carry with them items such as sorbents to combat oil spills, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

The first relief team, consisting of officials from the ministry, the Japan Coast Guard, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has been already in operation since last week.

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping Co., was carrying about 3,800 tons of fuel oil when it ran aground on July 25.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., the operator of the vessel, said earlier that more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from it.

Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency on Aug. 7, citing fears of impact on endangered animals such as indigenous wild birds and sea turtles.

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