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June 26, 2017

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Taiwan coastal areas on alert to tsunami threat

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday expressed satisfaction with government agencies' disaster emergency and relief preparations while offering the Japanese prime minister his sympathies over the damage in Japan from a powerful earthquake and tsunamis that ravaged the northeastern district of Japan's Honshu Island.

The president canceled all his scheduled public events and inspected the Central Emergency Operation Center set up to monitor the possible threat from tsunamis triggered by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and coordinate preparations and possible relief work from the tsunami, which hit Taiwan's shores at around 5:40 p.m.

"Disaster prevention is more important than disaster relief," said Ma,

Ultimately, the tsunami was only half a meter high along the island's eastern coast, and no damage was reported, according to the Atomic Energy Council.

Ma, who insisted that all standard operating procedures be followed even if the tsunami warnings eventually turned out to pose no threats, said he was satisfied with the administrative performance of many government agencies that had made preparations before being told to do so by the central government.

"Local-level governments have gradually grasped the key points of the standard operating procedures, and know what they should do," Ma said.

The Central Emergency Operation Center had alerted the governments of Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties, and Keelung City and New Taipei City of the potential risks, government spokesman Johnny Chiang said.

Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu instructed the executive officers of all military units to remain on duty.

Concern Relayed

Both President Ma and Premier Wu Den-yih extended their sympathy and concern to Kan.

Ma said earlier the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) had already relayed Taiwan's sympathies over the natural disaster to Japan with an offer to send a rescue team to Japan to help with rescue operations.

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