2011 disasters directly affected 1.1 million jobs: survey

Kyodo

The number of people whose jobs were directly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear crisis exceeded 1.1 million in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures as of October, a government report says.

Of the total, 638,500 employees were forced to miss days at work and 81,400 had to quit their jobs, a preliminary survey compiled by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry indicated Friday.

Some 42.6 percent of residents employed in the three prefectures at the time of the March 2011 disasters were affected, the survey said.

To gather the data, the ministry distributed questionnaires to 60,000 residents aged 15 or above in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. It excluded those who were forced to evacuate to other parts of the country in the aftermath of the natural and nuclear catastrophes.

Kerry talks ‘kizuna’

WASHINGTON

Kyodo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement ahead of the second anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disasters that struck northeastern Japan, stressing the countries’ strong bilateral ties.

“While observing this sad anniversary, we also recall and renew the deep bonds of friendship that connect us across the Pacific Ocean,” Kerry said Friday.

Looking back at the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 15-meter tsunami that devastated Tohoku in 2011 and sparked one of the worst nuclear crises ever seen, Kerry noted that “the world marveled at the resiliency and dignity of the Japanese people as they worked to overcome the tragedy.”

“Over the past two years, Japan has made steady progress in its recovery and rebuilding efforts, and I’m pleased that the United States has been able to play a role in this process,” he said.

Noting the “seamless cooperation” between the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces in the Operation Tomodachi rescue operation, Kerry said, “The partnership between the United States and Japan is built on the bedrock of our shared values, and one of those values is that we help each other in times of need.”