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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs