Vietnam’s representative agencies in Japan have actively taken an array of measures to protect Vietnamese citizens following the recent devastating earthquake, said a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.

Spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga made the statement on March 16 while answering reporters’ queries about Vietnam's measures designed to protect its citizens who are living, studying and working in Japan, which has been stricken by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a devastating tsunami and nuclear incidents.

“The Party and Government of Vietnam pay special attention to ensuring safety for Vietnamese citizens in Japan . On March 16, 2011, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung directly called the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan to inquire about Vietnamese citizens and requested representative agencies join efforts with Japan to assist and protect Vietnamese citizens,” the spokeswoman said.

The Vietnamese Government has closely followed the situation and efforts of the Japanese Government in dealing with incidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Vietnamese scientists and concerned agencies are cooperating closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to update the information, she said.

Based on real developments and conditions, the Vietnamese Government will adopt proper, timely measures to ensure safety for Vietnamese citizens in Japan, Nga said.

On March 15, 2011, the Tokyo-based Vietnamese Embassy sent working groups and three buses to the hardest-hit quake and tsunami-affected regions, namely Sendai city of Miyagi prefecture, Morioka city of Iwate prefecture and Fukushima city of Fukushima prefecture (where the Fukushima nuclear power plant is located), to evacuate Vietnamese citizens to Tokyo.

By the afternoon of March 16, 2011, the embassy had taken 84 Vietnamese trainees and students from the cities of Sendai, Fukushima and Morioka to Tokyo, and provided them with food and necessities. A number of other trainees and students in Fukushima and Morioka wanted to stay to pursue their study and work, and did not travel to Tokyo .

According to the spokeswoman, while performing tasks to assist Vietnamese citizens, Vietnam’s representative agencies received sincere sentiments and effective help from relevant Japanese agencies and residents.

“Vietnam’s concerned agencies and representative agencies in Japan will continue to join hands with the Japanese side to assist Vietnamese citizens and create favourable conditions for those who want to return home,” Nga said.

Relevant Vietnamese agencies will continue to closely monitor the developments of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incidents in Japan so as to request the government to adopt other essential response measures, she added./.