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Jesuits in Japan report that they have experienced no casualties from the earthquake and tsunami, but they are nonetheless facing many difficulties.
Irish Jesuit, Fr Dermot Brangan SJ in Tokyo, says the number of dead is soaring and there are many areas of the country that are inaccessible. "It's the worst earthquake I have ever experienced," he said, "far worse than the Kobe quake of 1995 which claimed 5,000 lives."
Fr Donal Doyle SJ reports that the roads are quieter than usual in the capital. "It's darker as they are trying to conserve energy, and the big worry is the nuclear reactor at Fukushima."
He said it was really exceptional that the Emperor made a public address.
Catholics in Tokyo have now begun to respond to the disaster and they had a huge collection during Mass last Sunday at the Church of St Ignatius. Many of the people attending had relatives in the affected areas and were still waiting for news of them.
The wider Church in Japan and Caritas are working together to identify areas of need but that work is hampered by the breakdown in communication and transport systems.
The Irish Jesuits in Tokyo are there in response to a call from Father General over 40 years ago to help with the Japanese mission.
Source: Jesuit Communications Office