News / Asia

    Japanese PM: Condolences and Resolve to Rebuild Nation

    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (file)
    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (file)

    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told his nation Friday that together they would "create Japan once again from scratch."

    He said that the earthquake-tsunami disaster coupled with the nuclear crisis was a "great test" for the people of Japan, but that the nation would overcome the tragedy and recover.

    Japan on Friday observed a moment of silence one week after the massive earthquake and tsunami, which has killed more than 6,400 people. There are an estimated 10,000 still missing.

    Crews on Friday worked to repair damaged roads and volunteers struggle to deliver food, water, blankets and medicine to survivors, but conditions are deteriorating in shelters across the country's northeast, where more than 300,000 people are taking refuge.

    Japan's NHK television reported Friday that 25 people, most of them elderly and some of them bedridden, had died in the shelters. Mao Sato, who works for the Japanese relief organization Peace Winds told VOA from Tokyo that the number of deaths in shelters is increasing every day as survivors battle bitter cold weather.

    Sato said some of the devastated areas have "almost run out of food" and some people are only eating two portions of rice a day. Sato said local officials also had asked her organization to provide emergency shelters to house the bodies of those killed in the magnitude nine earthquake and killer tsunami.

    Fuel shortages, power outages and freezing weather have slowed relief efforts.

    Mr. Kan offered his condolences to his nation, and acknowledged there had been a great deal of confusion around the delivery of relief goods. But he said there was no time to be pessimistic and called on the Japanese to work together to rebuild the nation.

    Japan's Red Cross says hospitals and evacuation centers also are running out of medical supplies.

    Mr. Kan called for people to be patient, and said the government would provide blankets and relief goods.

    Japan's NHK television showed pictures of elderly wrapped in blankets, while some people continued to search for their missing loved ones through the rubble in northeast Japan.

    Many parts of Japan are experiencing rolling blackouts as the emergency tests the country's power capacity. The government also has asked railway operators to reduce train service to lessen the strain on the electrical system.

    Sato said that in Tokyo, rolling blackouts were affecting the train system and the hours that people can work. She said that restaurants and stores are not functioning properly and that supermarket shelves are getting empty as back stocks are rushed to emergency areas.

    Foreign governments are pulling their citizens out of Japan, and the U.S. State Department said the first flight carrying American evacuees lifted off Thursday. The United States has warned citizens about the deteriorating situation at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, and ordered Americans to stay at least 80 kilometers away.

    U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday defended the recommendation of the evacuation zone even though it is far larger than the zone recommended by Japanese officials. He told reporters the U.S. decision was based on a careful scientific evaluation.

    Britain, China and France are among the other foreign governments arranging transportation out of Japan for their citizens.

    You May Like

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin’s Personal Army'?

    With broad powers to control riots, suppress dissent, National Guard may be aimed at sending a message to West as much as keeping peace at home

    Foreign Media in Pyongyang Barred From North Korean Party Congress

    Hundreds of international journalists invited to cover historic party meeting barred from entering actual event

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora