Help for Japan

EU flag joined diagonally with Japan's flag © EUEU flag joined diagonally with Japan's flag © EU

EU responds quickly to Japan's call for help as the country struggles with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, including the crisis at some of its nuclear plants.

On 15 March Japan asked the EU for help with the unfolding humanitarian crisis - hundreds of thousands of people are in immediate need of medical care, shelter and food after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's north-eastern coast.

The EU activated its emergency response system which helps its 27 member countries coordinate assistance when domestic and international crises occur.

This led to immediate offers from several countries to help with Japan's request for blankets, mattresses, and water bottles, tanks, and purification units.

The EU is providing additional help, such as:

  • setting up an online information exchange for EU citizens affected by the earthquake
  • putting together a team of 10 experts who are standing by to go to Japan to coordinate EU assistance - supported by specialists in radiology, nuclear technology and other technical fields
  • sending a humanitarian expert to join a UN team and a liaison officer to coordinate communication with the Japanese government.

Nuclear power plant crisis

The crisis at Japan's nuclear power plants is being watched closely. The Commission is getting regular updates from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It has also met the EU's 27 national nuclear safety authorities and people in charge of building and running Europe's nuclear power plants. The aim was to assess the EU's state of preparedness in responding to any similar problems.

The Commission plans to coordinate stress tests of all the EU's nuclear power plants to ensure these are safe. The EU will ask neighbouring countries to make a commitment to carry out similar stress tests.

Further help

The EU is in constant communication with Japan's government to determine the additional help it can provide.