TOKYO: Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Tuesday at a press conference that Tokyo would provide $14.3 million (JPY1.9 billion) in aid to Syria.

“In light of the damage and continuing humanitarian crisis as a result of the recent earthquake in Syria in February, we will extend aid to Syria to support those who continue to suffer from its effects in the areas of state initiatives, food, water, sanitation, health and medical care through international organizations in the amount of $14.3 million,” he said.

In response to a question from Arab News Japan concerning Syria rejoining the Arab League, Hayashi said he was aware that the Arab League has lifted its 2011 suspension, but that Tokyo had no plans at present to reopen their embassy in Damascus although they would continue to monitor the situation closely.

Hayashi added that Japan would also extend aid of $5.5 million to Sudan and surrounding countries, as well as financial support of about $3.5 million through international organizations for food and daily necessities for the refugees of the conflict that started in April this year.

The foreign minister also indicated that there is rising concern over the humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo where the activities of armed groups, since February of last year, have increased.