Japan's Defense Minister Directs Rescuers

Japan's Defense Minister directs rescuers

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono has instructed department officials to do their utmost in rescue operations that are underway in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis.

He says the first 72 hours that follow a disaster are crucial when it comes to saving lives.

Kono spoke at a special Ministry of Defense meeting held to discuss its response to the weekend storm.

The Ministry has received requests for the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces. It mobilized 31,000 personnel to carry out rescue operations that had saved 1,518 people by Monday morning. SDF personnel are also helping to remove debris.

Kono says that it is likely to be a long operation as some river levees have collapsed. He adds he wants the government to prepare to call up reservists if needed to provide support to people in devastated areas.

One of the areas he identified is the restoration of water supply to ensure people can bathe.