Embassies, firms search for citizens

Kyodo News

Foreign governments and companies are dispatching staff to track down citizens and employees in Japan to find out who survived Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, officials said Sunday.

A human resource company in China’s Shandong Province said it has not been able to get in touch with some 40 Chinese trainees in severely hit Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.

The hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima are home to some 16,000 Chinese nationals, according to 2009 Justice Ministry statistics.

The Chinese Embassy in Tokyo sent staff to Miyagi Prefecture to gather information, according to Xinhua news agency.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry said it has not been able to contact about 325 of its 490 or so Indonesian nationals in the three prefectures, but a representative said it was due to bad communication and does not consider them missing. Embassy personnel have met with about 70 Indonesians in Sendai, it said.

Miyagi Prefecture has some 4,500 South Korean residents as well. The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it hadn’t been able to confirm the safety of some 130 Korean students studying at Tohoku University in Sendai as of Saturday.

Peruvian media reported that some 40,000 compatriots living in Japan have been affected by the quake and the whereabouts of 28 remains unknown, while the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said it has received more than 3,000 e-mail inquiries about people’s safety, since many Brazilians live in Japan.

The government’s top spokesman, Yukio Edano, said Sunday that he has urged Japanese ministries and offices overseas to actively provide data about the disaster to foreigners both in and outside of Japan to facilitate the search for information.

The website of the prime minister’s office (www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html) is offering access to the latest quake-related information in a section titled “Countermeasures for 2011 Tohoku district — off the Pacific Ocean Earthquake.”