That is so sad.
Man stranded in empty Japanese town since tsunami
MINAMI SOMA, Japan -The farmhouse sits at the end of a mud-caked, one-lane road strewn with toppled trees, the decaying carcasses of dead pigs and large debris deposited by the March 11 tsunami.
Stranded alone inside the unheated, dark home is 75-year-old Kunio Shiga. He cannot walk very far and doesn't know what happened to his wife.
His neighbors have all left because the area is 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant — just within the zone where authorities have told everyone to get out because of concerns about leaking radiation.
No rescuer ever came for him.
When a reporter and two photographers from The Associated Press arrived at Shiga's doorstep Friday, the scared and disoriented farmer said: "You are the first people I have spoken to" since the earthquake and tsunami.
"Do you have any food?" he asked. "I will pay you."
Shiga gratefully accepted the one-liter bottle of water and sack of 15-20 energy bars given to him by the AP. With Shiga's permission, the AP notified local police of his situation.
On Saturday, a police official in charge of missing persons called the AP to say Shiga had been rescued and taken to a shelter. The official, who did not give his name because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Shiga was expected to be fine.
Shiga had said Friday that he was running out of supplies and food. He was unable to cook his rice for lack of electricity and running water. His traditional, two-story house is intact, although it is a mess of fallen objects, including a toppled Buddhist shrine. Temperatures at night in the region have been cold, but above freezing.
The Odaka neighborhood where he lives is a ghost town. Neighboring fields are still inundated from the tsunami. The smell of the sea is everywhere. The only noise comes from pigs foraging for food.
Local police acknowledged they have not been able to check many neighborhoods because of radiation concerns.
As radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant has fallen in recent days, however, the police have fanned out inside the evacuation zone to cover more areas.
On Friday, they were busy searching for bodies two miles (three kilometers) from Shiga's farmhouse.
Hundreds of police, many mobilized from Tokyo and wearing white radiation suits, pulled four bodies in an hour from one small area in Minami Soma. They had found only five bodies the previous day.
The AP crew, which had been watching the police search, later broke away to see if it could find any residents living inside the evacuation zone. Some construction workers directed them to a part of town where some houses were intact.
The farmhouse where Shiga's family has grown vegetables for generations is at the end of a long mud- and rubble-covered road blocked by fallen trees and dead and decaying animals.
The journalists spotted the relatively undamaged house about 500 yards (meters) away. Unable to drive on the road because of the debris, they navigated the rest of the way on foot, sometimes crawling over large branches.
Shiga was seen wandering in front of his house but went inside. The journalists went to greet him.
He said he spent his lonely days since the disaster sitting in bed in his dark home and listening to a battery-powered radio. A scruffy beard covered his face.
"The tsunami came right up to my doorstep," he said. "I don't know what happened to my wife. She was here, but now she's gone."
Shiga said he was aware of the evacuation order but could do nothing about it, since he is barely able to walk past the front gate of his house. His car is stuck in mud and won't start.
Although Shiga moved to a shelter, he had said Friday that he was not sure whether he really wanted to.
"I'm old and I don't know if I could leave here. Who would take care of me?" he said, staring blankly through his sliding glass doors at the mess in his yard.
That is so sad.
I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West
So if they can interview him surely they took him somewhere safe right? They didnt just leave him there did they?
^No they got him rescued and he is now in a shelter but the poor man is so lost and lonely now It's horrible to think of how many people must have survived the earthquake and the tsunami only to die later, waiting for help.
I hope everyone gets their stuff back.Safes, cash wash up on Japan shores after tsunami
AP – In this photo taken on April 7, 2011, a broken cashbox sits in the debris in tsunami-hit city of Ofunato, …
- Play Video Earthquakes Video:Month after quake, Japan homeless get houses AP
- Play Video Earthquakes Video:Japanese PM visits devastated city Reuters
By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA, Associated Press Tomoko A. Hosaka, Associated Press – Sun Apr 10, 3:12 pm ET
OFUNATO, Japan – There are no cars inside the parking garage at Ofunato police headquarters. Instead, hundreds of dented metal safes, swept out of homes and businesses by last month's tsunami, crowd the long rectangular building.
Any one could hold someone's life savings.
Safes are washing up along the tsunami-battered coast, and police are trying to find their owners — a unique problem in a country where many people, especially the elderly, still stash their cash at home. By one estimate, some $350 billion worth of yen doesn't circulate.
There's even a term for this hidden money in Japanese, "tansu yokin." Or literally, "wardrobe savings."
So the massive post-tsunami cleanup under way along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of Japan's ravaged northeastern coast involves the delicate business of separating junk from valuables. As workers and residents pick through the wreckage, they are increasingly stumbling upon cash and locked safes.
One month after the March 11 tsunami devastated Ofunato and other nearby cities, police departments already stretched thin now face the growing task of managing lost wealth.
"At first we put all the safes in the station," said Noriyoshi Goto, head of the Ofunato Police Department's financial affairs department, which is in charge of lost-and-found items. "But then there were too many, so we had to move them."
Goto couldn't specify how many safes his department has collected so far, saying only that there were "several hundreds" with more coming in every day.
Identifying the owners of lost safes is hard enough. But it's nearly impossible when it comes to wads of cash being found in envelops, unmarked bags, boxes and furniture.
Yasuo Kimura, 67, considers himself one of the lucky ones. The tsunami swallowed and gutted his home in Onagawa, about 50 miles (75 kilometers) south of Ofunato. He escaped with his 90-year-old father and the clothes on his back. But he still has money in the bank.
That's not the case for many of his longtime friends and acquaintances, said Kimura, a former bank employee.
"I spent my career trying to convince them to deposit their money in a bank," he said, staring out at his flattened city. "They always thought it was safer to keep it at home."
The number of safes that have turned up in Ofunato alone is a reflection of the area's population: In Iwate prefecture where this Pacific fishing town is located, nearly 30 percent of the population is over 65.
Many of them keep money at home out of habit and convenience, said Koetsu Saiki of the Miyagi Prefectural Police's financial affairs department. This practice is likely compounded by persistently low interest rates, leaving little financial incentive for depositing money in a bank.
As in Iwate, local police stations in Miyagi are reporting "very high numbers" of safes and cash being turned in.
"It's just how people have operated their entire lives," he said. "When they need money, they'd rather have their money close by. It's not necessarily that they don't trust banks. But there are a lot of people who don't feel comfortable using ATMs, especially the elderly."
A 2008 report by Japan's central bank estimated that more than a third of 10,000-yen ($118) banknotes issued don't actually circulate. That amounts to some 30 trillion yen, or $354 billion at current exchange rates, ferreted away.
The government has estimated that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami could reach $309 billion, making it the world's most expensive natural disaster on record. The figure includes direct losses from damaged houses, roads and utilities. But it doesn't take into account individual losses from home-held cash washed away by the powerful waves.
With more than 25,000 people believed to have died in the tsunami, many safes could to go unclaimed. Under Japanese law, authorities must store found items for three months. If the owner does not appear within that time, the finder is entitled to the item, unless it contains personal identification such as an address book.
If neither owner nor finder claims it, the government takes possession.
But all those who survived and are seeking to retrieve savings will need to offer proof. That proof could include opening the safe and providing identification that matches any documents inside, said Akihiro Ito, a spokesman for the disaster response unit in Kesennuma, among the worst-hit cities in Miyagi prefecture.
Cold, hard cash is more complicated.
"Even if we receive 50,000 yen ($589) in cash, and someone comes in saying they've lost 50,000 yen, it's nearly impossible to prove exactly whose money we actually have," Saiki of Miyagi's police force said.
Only 10 to 15 percent of valuables found in the tsunami rubble have been returned so far, officials in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures said this week.
Instead of waiting, police in Iwate are considering a more proactive measure. Individual stations will likely start opening safes to try to identify their owners, said Kiyoto Fujii, a spokesman for the prefectural police.
And the safes are likely to keep on coming.
"There's probably a lot of valuables still left in the rubble, including safes," Fujii said. "We are expecting and preparing for that."
Source: Safes, cash wash up on Japan shores after tsunami - Yahoo! News
In the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, metal safes are being recovered from the clutter. Safes, as well as lost money, are piling up at police precincts. The drawbacks to hoarding cash at home have been made clear as a fantastic deal of the lost money may be impossible to return. bitch, please the metal safes in some of them are turning up in the rubble. Too much going on right now. There are a lot of hype and bad information in the news, especially regarding radiation. They need money to fund their expenses for the citizens and restoration of the affected region. It is of great help to give them anything we can give. Food, clothing, medicines, support and prayers.
Last edited by Tati; April 16th, 2011 at 09:50 AM. Reason: spam removed
Japanese risk radiation to rescue stranded dogs
RYAN NAKASHIMA, Associated Press
Updated 01:27 a.m., Thursday, April 14, 2011
FILE - In this April 7, 2011 file photo, dogs wander around a town of Minami Soma, inside the deserted evacuation zone established for the 20 kilometer radius around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in northeastern Japan. This photo helped Japanese volunteers rescue a pack of shelties left behind in the evacuation zone. Photo: Hiro Komae / AP
"My heart trembled," said Ogino, a 56-year-old volunteer at an animal shelter in Chiba prefecture. "They looked just like my dog. I started searching for them right away."
She and others around Japan called Asahi.com, the website of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which had run the photo. An Associated Press photographer had snapped that photo and others of the dogs on an empty street in Minami Soma city, an area evacuated because of radiation fears.
On Saturday, the AP gave her details of where the dogs were spotted.
Ogino relayed the information to a team of animal rescuers called Sheltie Rescue. By then, the group had been getting emails from dog lovers around the country about the abandoned pack.
Through emails and Internet research it was established that the owner of the dogs was a breeder in Minami Soma. The group contacted the Fukushima city branch of the Japan Collie Club, tracked the owner down by phone at a shelter and got her go-ahead to rescue the dogs.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, seven volunteers left Tokyo and drove over broken roads and past demolished houses to meet three other volunteers in the ghost town that Minami Soma has become. Some had prepared radiation suits and others wore simple vinyl raincoats.
The first two to arrive found the pack around the Odaka train station, near the owner's home, where the AP team had last seen them.
"They were waiting for their owner," said Tamiko Nakamura, a volunteer who went with the group from Tokyo.
The dogs had been left some dry food, and weren't starving.
It took a while to entice them with snacks, and six or seven were bundled into each car. The group saved 20 dogs in all.
Most were taken to a veterinary clinic in Kanagawa prefecture just west of Tokyo. Others are being cared for by individuals in other areas.
The owner, worn down by the disaster and worrying about her dogs, was "extremely happy," Nakamura said. She said the owner did not want her identity revealed.
Nakamura only regrets that some of the dogs in the pack ran away and countless others are still stranded in the evacuation zone.
"There are still some left behind," she said. "I'm concerned about them and want to pull them out."
Associated Press writer Eric Talmadge and photographer Hiro Komae spotted the dogs in Minami Soma on April 7.
and pictures one month later:
Japan's crisis: one month later - The Big Picture - Boston.com
"Creepy, like when Tom Cruise laughs." - Bloodhound Gang
"They can take our ignorance when they pry it from our cold dead minds." - Stephen Colbert
More than 100 designated evacuation sites destroyed by March 11 tsunami
More than 100 evacuation sites designated by local governments were swept away or inundated by the tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake just off the coast of northeastern Japan, according to a tally compiled by Kyodo News.
Many people are thought to have lost their lives after fleeing to those sites believing they would be safe, but no data have so far been collected on the actual death toll at those places.
There have been no moves so far among citizens to hold local governments responsible for designating those sites, apparently because the scale of the tsunami was beyond what had been foreseen.
But calls will likely grow for a review of locations of evacuation sites along coastal regions. Municipalities throughout the country had picked around 70,000 such sites as of April 1, 2008, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
At least 101 designated sites have been hit by the disaster in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the three Pacific coast prefectures struck hardest by the gigantic wave after the quake, according to the tally.
Local governments in Fukushima Prefecture have not been able to grasp the extent of damage because the ongoing crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has made it difficult to conduct research in the area around the plant. The sum of tsunami-hit evacuation sites may well thus rise further.
In Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, for instance, 31 of its 80 designated sites were hit by the disaster. ‘‘Most of them were washed away,’’ said an official.
In the same prefecture, Onagawa’s 25 sites were set up at locations at least six meters above sea level, a lesson the town learned from the major tsunami that reached the region after the 1960 Chile quake. The March 11 tsunami, however, smashed 12 of the 25 sites.
In Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi city had four of its 69 sites damaged and Ofunato city six of its 58 sites. In Yamada town, public buildings were wiped out by the tsunami and subsequent fires, leaving at least a dozen people missing.
Local governments designate sites for evacuation from tsunamis and quakes in accordance with their disaster preparedness plans. Many are public structures such as primary and middle schools or local assembly buildings, as well as shrines and temples. Some are upland parks or vacant land lots.
In Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, Koganji Temple, located just under 1 kilometer from the shore, was a designated evacuation site. The temple survived the big tsunami of 1896 and had held a disaster preparedness drill just one week before the March 11 tsunami.
On March 11, neighbors gathered after a tsunami warning was issued. Deputy chief priest Ryokan Ogayu, 52, and his wife Tomoko directed people to move farther upland at the temple entrance gate but the temple was soon swallowed by waves, Tomoko said.
The couple was eventually rescued but their 19-year-old son Hiroumi and Tomoko’s father-in-law and chief priest Hideaki, 82, who were with the couple before the tsunami’s arrival, are missing. There were also 30 others within the temple’s premises, she said.
The temple was later hit also by a fire. ‘‘We thought it was safe,’’ said Tomoko, adding that it should be studied why it came to be designated as an evacuation site. If standards for selecting sites no longer fit the reality, they should be revised, she said.
Motoyuki Ushiyama, professor in disaster information science at Shizuoka University, said, ‘‘While many local governments designated upland locations for evacuation, for coastal residents, they are often located far away. It may be necessary to pick high-rise buildings as temporary evacuation sites.’‘
He said that since the latest tsunami reached the fourth stories of buildings, height requirements for high-rise evacuation sites have to be examined carefully.
He also noted that escape routes for farther upland should also be secured from evacuation points.More than 100 designated evacuation sites destroyed by March 11 tsunami â€¹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion
The building seen in this video was one of the evacuation centers.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5M89is2iUk[/youtube]My Japanese is limited. I hear "hurry" repeatedly and the child at the end screams "mother".
"Creepy, like when Tom Cruise laughs." - Bloodhound Gang
"They can take our ignorance when they pry it from our cold dead minds." - Stephen Colbert
Why did monicaB get banned?
FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej
Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
I don't know if this was addressed in this thread earlier, but I saw a map like this last week in a book I was reading with my son. It is a map of Japan's position along the tectonic plates.
You can see that Japan is right at the center where three (this map says four) plates come together. Some plates pass under, while others pass over, each other. I'm not sure if there's another country that is so unluckily positioned with regard to tectonic plates.
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