Japan’s Prime Minister pledges wildfire aid to Hawaii at Camp David Summit

August 18, 2023

Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Friday’s Camp David summit pledged $2 million in aid to Hawaii amid the massive wildfires on Maui.

“First of all, I would like to express my sympathy once again for the devastating damages caused by the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii,” Kishida said in his opening remarks at the summit. “In order to provide relief to the affected people, Japan has decided to offer around $2 million of support. I offer my heartfelt payer for the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas.” 

The wildfires first erupted on the island of Maui early last Tuesday, August 8, fueled by fierce winds from Hurricane Dora in the Pacific. The town of Lahaina was hit the worst with the flames leaving little more than melted cars and scorched, skeletal remains of buildings.

 At least 111 people have died in the fires, and hundreds remain missing as recovery workers search the rubble. Families hoping to hear about loved ones have been asked to provide DNA samples. 

President Biden is hosting Friday’s summit at Camp David between Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. Biden’s aim is to warm relations between the two nations who share common adversaries in the Asia-Pacific region—China and North Korea. The two U.S. allies’ ties have been historically strained, overshadowed by Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The Camp David summit is the first meeting between the leaders of the U.S., Japan and South Korea that hasn’t been held on the sidelines of an international gathering. 

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