Japan has been hit by a powerful earthquake that caused widespread damage and triggered a tsunami warning. The quake, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, near the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, the Japanese government has announced that it will accept relief assistance from the United States only. The decision was made to avoid diplomatic complications and potential security risks, as Japan is involved in territorial disputes with some of its neighbors, such as China and South Korea.
“We are not accepting any personnel or material aid at the moment given the situation on the ground and the efforts that would be required to receive them,” Japan’s top spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a statement on Friday.
PM Fumio Kishida said there were offers for help from governments including Taiwan and China, according to The Print.
The U.S. is Japan’s closest ally and has a large military presence. The U.S. forces have already started to provide support and transport for the rescue operations, as well as medical supplies and equipment. The U.S. also offered to send nuclear experts to help deal with the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered a partial meltdown after the 2011 quake.
Japan has expressed gratitude for the U.S. assistance and said that it will coordinate closely with the American side. Japan also thanked other countries that offered help, such as Australia, India, and France, but said that it will handle the recovery efforts independently for now.