According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan immediately set up its emergency headquarters with Prime Minister Kan at the helm, making all-out efforts for search and rescue as well as for reconstructing various lifelines, in liaison with all government bodies and local governments.
Sympathies have been expressed and assistance offered, from around the world, and to date rescue teams from 11 countries are arriving in or heading for Japan. Also, the U.S. Forces in Japan are beginning to extend assistance.
The earthquake and tsunami entailed emergency situations including failures in TEPCO's nuclear power plants' reactor-cooling systems in Fukushima Prefecture.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been undertaking, among others, coordination with respect to acceptance of foreign rescue teams, communication with the diplomatic corps and the foreign press corps and confirmation of the foreign nationals' safety.
The earthquake and tsunami devastated mainly Tohoku district. Damages were inflicted in Kanto district, too. As of March 13, the number of those deceased and unaccounted for was more than 10,000.
In Tohoku district's four prefectures, lifelines (such as electricity, gas, roads, railways and airports) were severely damaged. As of March 13, electricity and waters are disconnected in most parts of these prefectures. Transportation systems remain paralyzed.
Confirming safety of foreign visitors in Japan
Diplomatic corps in Tokyo and staff of offices of international organizations are safe. The Consulate General's office of the ROK in Sendai (the only foreign mission in four prefectures of Tohoku district) has confirmed the safety of its staff.
The safety of JICA trainees and visitors under the invitation programmes of Japan Foundation has been confirmed.
Information regarding the safety of foreign nationals living in Tohoku district are being gathered in liaison with respective embassies in Tokyo and travel agencies.
The Japan Red Cross and the International Committee for the Red Cross have established websites to confirm safety of foreigners living in Japan.
Information for Foreign Nationals still unaccounted for in connection with Tohoku district
The Ministry of Information and Communications have consulted with the Embassy of Japan in Tonga with regard to the number of Tongan nationals as well as families and friends of Japanese volunteers residing in Japan, and especially in connection with the Tohoku District.
Many people are without news of their relatives because of the earthquake in Japan on 11 March 2011. The areas particularly affected are the Prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima, Tochigi and Ibaraki.
The following link and website will provide a useful resource to help people get back in contact with those who have become separated by the Tsunami and earthquake tragedy.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a special Family Links website to help people seeking to re-establish contact with family members and friends missing since the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. The ICRC is managing this website in cooperation with the Japanese Red Cross and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.
On the website one will find useful information on:
- ‘List of Names' - of registered relatives and friends and contact information to contact them directly in the affected areas
- ‘You are ‘alive' - for the person missing to contact his/her family that he is still alive
- ‘You are looking for missing - If you are looking for missing relatives in Japan who are not on the list, you can register their name and your contact details - Your missing relatives might be able to see the list and contact you. Other persons checking the list might have information on their whereabouts and contact you.
If the search is not successful, it is encouraged to check back regularly as more and more people are aware of the system and registering daily.
The service is free of charge.