Japanese rescue team returns home after China quake aid mission

2008-05-20 21:45:16 GMT       2008-05-21 05:45:16 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

CHENGDU, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese rescue team ended its search and rescue operations in southwest China's quake-hit areas and flew back home early Wednesday morning.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang thanked Japan, saying that the hard work of the Japanese rescuers was extensively known by the Chinese people.

"We salute to their humanitarian spirits and friendship attached to the Chinese people", Qin told a regular press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The head of the Japanese team, Takashi Koizumi, donated relief material and equipment to quake-ravaged Sichuan Province.

The Japanese government sent a 60-member rescue team to China last week, the first batch of foreign aid personnel to enter China since the 8.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan.

The team, together with Chinese colleagues, had recovered 18 bodies.

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