Taiwan, Japan sign MOU on toxic chemical disaster response

(Photo by CNA)

(Photo by CNA)

Taiwan's state-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and the Maritime Disaster Prevention Center (MDPC) of Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Monday to cooperate on responses to toxic chemical disasters.

The pact will help promote exchanges of ground and sea rescue expertise, strengthen toxic chemical disaster response capabilities, and make both sides better at handling environmental pollution accidents, said Hsieh Yein-rui (謝燕儒), head of the Environmental Protection Administration's Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau.

The MOU will also help forge a public consciousness of always being prepared for danger so that when a crisis occurs, its effect will be minimized, Hsieh said during the signing ceremony held at the ITRI's headquarters in Hsinchu County.

The ITRI, Taiwan's top industrial research institute, set up the country's first Emergency Response Information Center in 1996 to deal with toxic chemical disasters around the nation.

The institute extended its hand to the MDPC this year to work together in the area of international disaster response, said Robert Hu (胡耀祖), head of the ITRI's Green Energy and Environment Research Laboratories, at the ceremony.

With the Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau's support, Hu hoped the ITRI and MDPC can work together to build an international disaster response platform, which he believed can improve different industries' disaster response and protection capabilities.

The MDPC, headquartered in Yokohama, was established in 1976 as a private sector initiative. It became an independent administrative agency in 2003 and was designated as the country's only authorized maritime disaster prevention institute by Japan's government in 2013.

MDPC Chairman Iwao Masayuki said he hoped the MOU with Taiwan will integrate the experience of the two countries in toxic chemical disaster prevention, control and response and facilitate the establishment of a platform for mutual information exchanges.