Japan PM: Nation Facing Worst Crisis Since World War II


japanese-prime-minister-naoto-kaJapanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan appealed to the Japanese to unite in overcoming what he says is the nation’s worst crisis since World War II.

“This is Japan’s most severe crisis since the war ended 65 years ago,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told reporters, adding that Japan’s future would be decided by the response to this crisis.

The death toll in Japan’s earthquake and tsunami will likely exceed 10,000 in one state alone, an official said Sunday, as millions of survivors were left without drinking water, electricity and proper food along the pulverized northeastern coast.

Although the government doubled the number of soldiers deployed in the aid effort to 100,000, it seemed overwhelmed by what’s turning out to be a triple disaster: Friday’s quake and tsunami damaged two nuclear reactors at a power plant on the coast, and at least one of them appeared to be going through a partial meltdown, raising fears of a radiation leak.

The police chief of Miyagi prefecture, or state, told a gathering of disaster relief officials that his estimate for deaths was more than 10,000, police spokesman Go Sugawara told The Associated Press. Miyagi has a population of 2.3 million and is one of the three prefectures hardest hit in Friday’s disaster. Only 379 people have officially been confirmed dead in Miyagi.

The nuclear crisis posed fresh concerns for those who survived the earthquake and tsunami, which hit with breathtaking force and speed, breaking or sweeping away everything in its path.

“First I was worried about the quake, now I’m worried about radiation. I live near the plants, so I came here to find out if I’m OK. I tested negative, but I don’t know what to do next,” Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker, said at an emergency center in Koriyama town near the power plant in Fukushima.

According to officials, more than 1,400 people were killed – including 200 people whose bodies were found Sunday along the coast – and more than 1,000 were missing in the disasters. Another 1,700 were injured.

In a rare piece of good news, the Defense Ministry said a military vessel on Sunday rescued a 60-year-old man floating off the coast of Fukushima on the roof of his house after being swept away in the tsunami. He was in good condition.

The U.S. Geological Survey calculated the initial quake to have a magnitude of 8.9, while Japanese officials raised their estimate on Sunday to 9.0. Either way it was the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan. It has been followed by more than 150 powerful aftershocks.

Teams searched for the missing along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of Japanese coastline, and hundreds of thousands of hungry survivors huddled in darkened emergency centers that were cut off from rescuers and aid. At least 1.4 million households had gone without water since the quake struck and some 2.5 million households were without electricity.

Temperatures were to dip near freezing overnight, but the prime minister warned that electricity would not be restored for days.

Trade Minister Banri Kaeda said the region was likely to face further blackouts and that power would be rationed to ensure supplies go to essential needs.

The government says it has sent 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water and 110,000 liters of gasoline in addition to bread, rice balls, instant cup noodles and diapers to the affected areas.

Large areas of the countryside remained surrounded by water and unreachable. Fuel stations were closed and people were running out of gasoline for their vehicles.

The government said 275,000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters, many of them without power.

{Atlanta Journal Constitution/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. #1 – what happened to “rachamim bnei rachamim?”. I know people from the Mir who owe their lives to the Japanese, who didn’t understand what the crazy Germans had against Jews, so didn’t bother to exterminate us. The Mir yeshiva, its faculty and talmidim, survived in Shanghai because the Japanese ignored the German requests to kill them out.

    And what about Sugihara, the righteous gentile who saved hundreds of Jews in Vilna by giving them visas out, endangering himself in the process and ending his diplomatic career?

    We should be praying for them, with hakaras hatov. In any case, the Japanese of that generation are dead and gone. The Japanese of today mostly weren’t even born during WWII.

    What have we become, that some of us can make such a callous comment about the deaths of thousands of adults and children.