The Japanese Foreign Ministry issued an official request for aid to the Israeli government Saturday, in an effort to help survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
A preliminary delegation of two doctors and a Home Front Command officer will leave to Japan Saturday night to look into the needs on the ground ahead of a larger delegation of doctors and medical equipment.
Japan's ambassador to Israel was among those who arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport ahead of the delegation's departure. He expressed his country's gratitude for the assistance, and noted that Israel is among the first nations to send medical teams to the disaster zone.
In the next few days, the Foreign and Defense Ministries will ship blankets, coats, gloves and portable toilets to the city of Kurihara, where survivors from the nearby town of Sendai have been transferred.
Israel already sent 100 Geiger counters to Japan Thursday, and 200 more will be sent next week after Japanese officials extended an urgent request for the radiation-monitoring devices, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
The request was issued by the Japan police and fire department, after authorities in Japan ran out of local Geiger counters. The devices will be supplied by the technological arm of Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona, Rotem Industries.
Israel will be sending 20 different types of devices that would enable Japanese authorities to monitor radiation among civilians in contaminated areas. The counters will be handed over to forces operating in the area where nuclear plants are located.
The Geiger counters sent to Japan are produced by the radiation-monitoring unit at Rotem Industries. Its CEO, Dan Pe'er, said the unit is working intensively in order to supply the required devices as soon as possible.
Rotem Industries has been producing the counters for some 25 years and its devices are in use in more than 85% of US reactors.
Itamar Eichner contributed to the report
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