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JAPAN: Earthquake Aftermath, As Seen From Japanese Media

JAPAN: Earthquake Aftermath, As Seen From Japanese Media

Friday's earthquake and the tsunami that followed is a massive disaster in Japan. Here's a quick look at how it's being covered by the Japanese media.


DEATH TOLL A precise count of victims in the immediate wake of a disaster of this scale and breadth is always hard to verify, especially in the early hours. While most news organizations have stuck to the figures of dead bodies recovered, and reports of "hundreds' missing, Japan's official Kyodo news agency released an early report of 88,000 people missing. That has since be revised downward. But by Sunday, the website of leading daily Asahi Shimbun was reporting that sources at the prefecture in Miyagi were calling it'inevitable" that the number killed by the tsunami would reach 10,000 in that northern province alone.

HELL ON EARTH Two Yomiuri reporters made it to the town of Kesennuma in the Miyagi province, which was described as a "hellish sight," with all but the platform of the local train station swept away. The destroyed houses, debris and rubble inevitably begged the question of how many human victims were buried out of sight.

ATOMIC FEARS Sankei covers the conflicting reports on the gravity of the situation at the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where overheating has apparently deformed the core of the No. 3 injecting water into them and reducing the pressure inside. Some 20 people have reportedly been treated for exposure to radiation. (Here's a picture of people waiting to be tested) Still, the government's top spokesman has cautioned that there are still no signs that the situation poses an immediate health crisis.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY Nikkei daily website ran the Kyodo report on Sunday's press conference of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who called on his fellow Japanese to focus foremost on trying to save lives in rescue operations, and announced the country would begin rationing electricity. He called the disaster Japan's biggest challenge since World War II.


*Live simultaneous translation into English of Japanese television reports of the quake aftermath....HERE

*Buildings sway...HERE

*Tsunami rolls....HERE

*GlobalVoices on social translation in a moment of crisis....HERE

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Migrant Lives

A Train Journey With Bengal Migrants Looking For A Living Far Away

Finding a seat on the Karmabhoomi Express is close to impossible. A closer look at why so many migrant workers travel on it, and out of Bengal, offers a grim picture.

image of a train

The Karmabhoomi Express runs from Kamakhya to Mumbai in a 3 day journey.

India Rail Info
Joydeep Sarkar

WEST BENGAL — Welcome aboard the 22512 Kamakhya-LTT Karmabhoomi Express — a metaphor, if any, of the acuteness of Bengal’s unemployment problem.

It is 10.28 pm at north Bengal’s Alipurduar Junction and the crowd has swollen to its peak. This is when the Karmabhoomi Express appears at the station. It is bound for Mumbai. Finding a seat on it is close to impossible. It is always chock full and there are always hundreds struggling to get a spot in the unreserved general compartment.

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