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Retired Japanese Medic Takes Skills Overseas

Mandatory retirement hasn't stopped veteran paramedic Kiyoshi Masai from saving people--he's now using his expertise to train firefighters and police in developing countries.

Retired from the Kobe City Fire Bureau this spring after many years of service, Masai, 61, is an expert in emergency treatment. He is currently training a disaster relief team established last year in Cambodia, and rushes to the scenes of traffic accidents and fires there to provide treatment.

"In countries with no emergency rescue services, many people die because they don't receive first aid," Masai said.

In 2004, he taught first aid and rescue techniques in Zambia in cooperation with Japanese volunteers in the country. Masai still remembers the shock of seeing traffic accident victims sent to hospitals without first aid, and after he returned home, he set up the nonprofit organization Japan International Paramedical Rescue Technical Cooperation Corps with other paramedics. Masai is now chairman of the organization.

Since then, he has primarily worked to teach people in Cambodia how to respond to disasters. His efforts encouraged local people to set up a rescue team.

Last month, Masai took temporary leave to return home and report on his activities to firefighting officials.

"I want to tell people in as many countries as possible about the importance of a rescue system. It's indispensable for efficiently saving people in disasters," Masai said.



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