The government of Japan donated 14 fire engines to Armenia on Monday at a ceremony in Yerevan attended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
Officials said that 22 more such vehicles as well as other firefighting equipment will be delivered to the country later this year as part of a $14 million aid program launched by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2017.
The first batch of those fire trucks will be provided to three provincial divisions of the Armenian Rescue Service (ARS). Firefighters in the Shirak, Lori and Syunik provinces are already being trained by Japanese instructors, according to an Armenian government statement.
The Japanese ambassador to Armenia, Jun Yamada, said outdated firefighting equipment used in those regions complicates the ARS’s ability to prevent and cope with fires.
“Natural disasters frequently occur in Armenia, which is an obstacle to the development of rural areas,” Yamada said in a speech delivered in Armenian. “That is why Japan finds it imperative to assist Armenia in the area of disaster prevention.”
The Japanese government had already donated 28 fire engines worth $8 million to firefighters in Yerevan in 2010.
Speaking at the ceremony, Pashinian thanked Japan for this and other aid provided to Armenia since its independence.
“It must be pointed out that Japanese aid has been particularly significant for our capacity to guard against natural disasters,” he said. “That includes the fight against landslides, seismic stability, modernization of the firefighting service and other activities.”
“Armenia is always ready to strengthen friendly relations and cooperation with Japan,” added Pashinian. “I believe there are many things that unite our peoples.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Yerevan and met with Pashinian in September.