Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi on Thursday said Japanese government officials will "do our best" to restore nature of Mauritius and investigate the damage caused by an oil spill from a Japanese-owned bulk carrier that ran aground off the Indian Ocean island country in July.
During an online meeting, Koizumi told his Mauritian counterpart Kavydass Ramano that Japan intends to dispatch more experts to the scene of the accident, according to the Environment Ministry.
Since August, Japan has sent three relief disaster teams to help with oil removal and assess environmental damage including in mangroves.
"Japan and Mauritius agreed to closely cooperate," Koizumi told reporters after the online meeting.
Ramano said the oil leak has impacted the Mauritian tourism and fisheries sectors, and the country is making efforts to recover by securing international support, according to Koizumi.
The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping Co. and operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., ran aground on July 25, spilling more than 1,000 tons of oil into the pristine environment.
Mauritius declared a state of environmental emergency on Aug. 7, citing fears about the impact on endangered species such as birds and sea turtles. Fishing off coastal areas impacted by the spill is currently banned.
According to a Mauritian government document, the country is proposing that the Japanese side pay a total of 1.34 billion Mauritian rupees, equivalent to around 3.6 billion yen ($34 million), to assist the local fishing community affected by the spill.
Separately, Mauritius has said it will seek compensation for the oil spill from Nagashiki and it has called for the submission of claims by those who have sustained losses or damage due to contamination.
Nagashiki has said it will deal "in good faith" with the issue of compensation.