Among last week's dispatches from earthquake-hit Kyushu was an article in Yukan Fuji (April 19) about the "battle for food provisions" in the city of Kumamoto.

"When we re-opened for business in the evening, we were immediately flooded with a rush of customers," a 30-year-old female convenience store employee relates. "We limited entry to two people at a time. Some had been waiting outside for an hour or longer. At first we didn't limit the amount they could purchase, and they nearly bought out all the water and food items, so the ones who came afterwards couldn't buy what they needed."

At other stores as well, the shelves quickly emptied of essentials, leaving little for sale except alcoholic beverages and magazines.