The “Japanese people are aware of the activities of the Indian [relief and rehabilitation] team,” which was deployed on an aid mission in the quake-and-tsunami-hit Miyagi prefecture on March 28.

This was emphasised by a Japanese official, over the telephone from Tokyo, ahead of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's talks with Japan's Vice-Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and Deputy Foreign Minister Koro Bessho on Friday.

As agreed to by the two countries, the Indian team of 46 specialists from the National Disaster Management Authority was tasked to clear debris, render emergency medical assistance, distribute relief goods and carry out some repairs.

In a related comment, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, said in Singapore on Wednesday he was “struck by “the enthusiasm with which [America's] Indian friends are seeking to cooperate not just with the United States but other countries in the Asian Pacific region” such as Japan. Noting that Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was travelling to Tokyo now,

Mr. Campbell, who was here on his way to China from India, said: “I primarily interacted with my colleagues in the [Indian] Foreign Ministry about a range of shared initiatives and engagements in the Asia Pacific region. We talked a lot about specific ideas: areas where we can increase our collaboration.”

On the latest U.S.-India naval exercise in the ‘Malabar' series, not far from the Japanese waters, Mr. Campbell said:

“We all understood why Japan was unable to participate, given the pressing challenges that [Tokyo's] Self Defence Forces are involved in, with the earthquake and the nuclear operations.”

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