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Japan offers condolences over devastating Philippine landslide+
[February 17, 2006]

Japan offers condolences over devastating Philippine landslide+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, Feb. 17_(Kyodo) _ Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed condolences Friday over the fatal landslide triggered by heavy rains that destroyed a village in the central Philippines.

"I express my heartfelt condolences over the tragic losses of many lives in your country caused by the massive landslide in Leyte Island," Koizumi said in a letter to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

A mudslide caused by days of heavy rain hit Guinsaugon village in St. Bernard town on Leyte around 9 a.m. Friday. Media reports say at least 16 people have been confirmed dead, but as many as 2,500 people are feared buried in the mudslide, according to Philippine Red Cross and military officials.

"On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I would like to extend my sincerest sympathy to your Excellency and the people of the Philippines," the premier said, adding he hopes the "sufferings of the affected people will soon be alleviated."

Foreign Minister Taro Aso also expressed his condolences in a message to his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo.

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said they are considering providing "appropriate assistance" to the Philippines based on the extent of the damage and any request for assistance from the Philippine government.

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