Japan Quake Rpt: Hysten May 14 ’11

It has been nine weeks since the dreaded Tsunami and major Earthquake struck the Eastern border of Japan, with catastrophic devastation being the aftermath of this still little understood act of nature in the minds of many throughout the world. This has especially been the case for those who became victims of the after effects here inJapan.  Another very alarming derivative of the Tsunami/Major Earthquake is the collateral damage sustained at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Japan.  Many local residents await word regarding whether or not they will need to evacuate nearby areas where radiation levels are forecasted to raise the long-term risks of cancer.  Japanese government officials are actively doing what they can to better the situation.  In some instances however, they have come under attack from their constituents and fellow legislators.  This is the by-product of frustration of course, since progress is not taking place at the rate some would like.

Although much has been accomplished by way of repair and recovery, Japan is still very much reeling from the after effects of March 11th.  Although the news from legislators to the nation has been of an encouraging nature, the optimism they had hoped to see in the faces of many is simply not there.  There are reports that many are still displaced and without adequate shelter and/or livelihoods.  Some estimates are that 80,000 to 100,000 people have been deprived of their daily life and work.  This is especially true for those in the 20 kilometer (12.5 mile) safety zone that has been established around the nuclear power plant.  There are tens of thousands of people living in the Fukushima area awaiting possible orders that they must evacuate to a safety area less vulnerable to the exposure of radiation.   Those who remain in the surrounding areas of the nuclear plant are understandably restless from concerns about possible contamination of the air, water, soil and even themselves from the radiation leaks.

In view of the recent crisis, Japan as a nation is reassessing how it produces electricity.  Roughly half of Japan’s electrical power is generated by natural gas and coal and the search for alternative energy sources is ongoing.  Under the leadership and encouragement of the Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, the country will no longer seek to build 14 new nuclear power plants.    Additionally, efforts have been and will continue to be made to conserve energy; especially as summer approaches.  The Japanese government is calling on companies and individuals to prepare for power shortages.  Understandably, public opinion in many circles is now very much against the generation of electricity by nuclear power. Some analysts have indicated suspended operations of the plants will adversely affect production and employment throughout Japan.   Others are making a strong push to use more fossil fuels and hydro-electronic power.  Concurrently, it not surprising that some leading analyst and officials remain skeptical about the push for alternative sources of energy.  All and all there is one thing apparent, it is God who will determine what we have, what we use and what we will ultimately acquire.

We along with my fellow Japanese ministers, other missionaries and members of the Church, are doing what we can to ease the physical and spiritual burdens being experienced by many.  Next week God willing, I will travel to Mito to join others in a relief effort to serve in Sendai and in other locations.  Please continue to pray for us in our combined efforts to bring as many to Christ as possible here in Japan.

Ken and Etsuko