Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has delivered a message of solidarity from a senior West Midlands fire officer to the head of the Osaka Fire Department in Japan.

Mr Mitchell is in charge of the British government's disaster response policy and took the decision to send a UK Search and Rescue team to Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Sean Moore, leader with the West Midlands International Search and Rescue Team, from West Midlands Fire Service, wrote a letter to his counterparts in Japan to express the sympathy and admiration of the British team, who worked closely with them following the disaster.

Mr Mitchell personally handed the letter over to Mr Yoshinobu Fukasawa, Counsellor For Civil Protection and Head of Osaka Fire Department. They also discussed how the UK and Japan can share expertise in tackling future disasters.

Mr Mitchell said: "It is a great testament to the skill and professionalism of our international firefighters that so much respect is shared between the UK and Japanese teams.  

"The West Midlands team worked closely with the Japanese in the city of Ofunato, and I was pleased to be able to personally hand over the message of support.

"Mr Fukasawa told us that it will take ten years to rebuild the parts of the coast devastated by the tsunami. He also expressed his deep gratitude to all the British firefighters who took part in the search and rescue operation."

Mr Mitchell wished Mr Fukasawa good fortune and every success in rebuilding Japan's shattered communities.


Posted December 6th, 2011 at 1320 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: