China assures safety of 430 Japanese nationals in Wuhan area

People wearing facemasks to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, use their phones on a train in Beijing on Sunday (Jan 26). China expanded drastic travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus viral epidemic as Jaoan are trying to bring back 430 Japanese currently in Wuhan. - AFP

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Sunday (Jan 26) that about 430 Japanese nationals have been confirmed to be living or staying in Hubei province, with almost all of them in Wuhan, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak.

Briefing reporters after he spoke on the telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Motegi said China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, told him that he understood Japan's concern and desire to repatriate its nationals as soon as possible.

"I told Wang that if there is anything Japan could do to help prevent the spread of the disease, we are ready to offer our full support," he told reporters.

"But China has assured the safety of everyone in Wuhan and will do all they can to control the outbreak."

Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China, is in virtual lockdown following a deadly outbreak of a new coronavirus that emerged there at the end of last year.

Public transport, including airplanes and trains, have been suspended.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier the government was working with Chinese authorities to make arrangements for all Japanese nationals wishing to return from Wuhan, including with charter flights.

Motegi said no schedule had been set yet. - Reuters
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