News / Asia

US, Japanese Forces Search for Missing Tsunami Victims

Japan Self Defense Force members search for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Miyako City, Miyagi Prefecture, March 26, 2011
Japan Self Defense Force members search for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Miyako City, Miyagi Prefecture, March 26, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Thousands of Japanese and American military personnel joined together Friday in a final three-day sweep to search for those still missing from last month's massive earthquake and tsunami.  

The operation involves 120 aircraft and 65 ships and will cover the three prefectures hit hardest by the March 11 disaster.  More than 11,000 people are confirmed dead, with more than 16,500 still missing. But the search teams will stay out of a 30-kilometer zone around the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear plant.

Workers have been struggling since the quake to bring the damaged plant under control. Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said Friday that current circumstances meant that it would be a "reasonably long" period of time before those evacuated from the nuclear-threat zone would be allowed back to their homes.

Edano also confirmed reports that the groundwater around the plant was contaminated with radiation many times higher than normal, and that testing on cattle had turned up a low-level sample of radioactive-contaminated beef.

Listen to reporter Martyn Williams discuss the effort to find Japan's missing with VOA's Sarah Williams

In an address to parliament Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, for having inadequate defenses against a tsunami.  But, the Japanese leader assured the public that there is no danger of contamination outside the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant.

Nuclear industry experts from the U.S., France and elsewhere are in Japan Friday, or heading there, to offer assistance to TEPCO. Specialized robots also are being sent to help where it is too unsafe for humans.

Authorities are considering what to do with 1,000 dead bodies near the plant, saying it may be too dangerous to collect them because of fears the corpses are too contaminated with radiation.  Police sources warn that if the families of the victims cremate the bodies, as is the tradition in Japan, it could release more radioactivity into the environment.

Prime Minister Kan was scheduled to visit several tsunami and earthquake affected areas on Saturday, April 2.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid