Category Archives: Japan crisis

At least seven Japanese Christians are working at crippled nuclear plant

Fukushima workers

As radioactive water flows into the ocean surrounding the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, workers are scrambling to find and stop the source of damaging leaks.

“Leaks of radiation are being found everywhere,” reports physicist Michio Kaku PhD, a professor at City University of New York in a recent blog posting. “It’s like death from a thousand cuts,” he notes. “The utility is like the little Dutch boy, trying desperately to plug up one leak, only to find another.”

In the midst of this complex and dangerous crisis, at least seven members of Fukushima Daiichi Seisho Baptist Church have been working as part of the emergency team at the nuclear plant. “One of the seven workers had actually run away from the plant out of fear,” according to Scott Eaton, I.T. director for CRASH Japan.

“After becoming Christian, he returned to work with a smile and Bible in hand convicted to share the Gospel with his co-workers,” Eaton notes. The seven workers and their families are aware of the possible consequences of working in close proximity to high and potentially lethal doses of radiation.

In an unusual twist, Eaton once attended and taught the scriptures at the same church in Fukushima where he has returned as leader of a disaster assessment team for CRASH. He choked up as he remembered many in the church as his dear “family.”

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Uncommon “openness” noticed among Japanese by Christian relief workers

ISHINOMAKI, Japan (BP)–”Disaster” says it all. Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers finally distributed relief goods in Ishinomaki, Japan, this week after two weeks of attempting to gain access to the quake-stricken areas. Power outages, gas rationing, an escalating nuclear crisis and relocation of International Mission Board personnel hampered earlier attempts.

Ishinomaki — a small city of around 120,000 people — was devastated March 11 by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Officials estimate that more than 18,000 people died and thousands more are missing along Japan’s northeastern coast.

relief workers Ishinomaki, Japan

The 11-member team spent two days distributing relief goods at multiple locations throughout the city, including an apartment complex, a nursing home and a bus station. Everywhere they went, they found grateful Japanese, eager for someone to listen to their stories.

International Mission Board missionary Jared Jones helped one man shovel debris from his home. The day before, the man received a call from local officials to identify his wife’s body. The man — a Buddhist — talked with Jones about how his wife often encouraged him to read the Bible. The couple had been married 40 years.

“He just needed somebody to listen to him,” Jones said.

Missionary Ed Jordan had a similar experience. Jordan, who works with the deaf, was distributing goods in a bus station when a colleague asked for help. One of the victims was a deaf woman who was unable to communicate with the hearing volunteers.

When Jordan talked with her in sign language about her family and her home, the woman was thrilled. “If she shook my hand once, she shook it a dozen times,” Jones said.

Both Jordan and Jones noticed uncommon openness from the Japanese during their trip.

“They look you in the eye,” Jordan said. “They need somebody to talk to and many are willing to let us pray with them. No one turned us away.”

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Baptists making progress on Japan relief, but obstacles remain

Progress is being made on developing partnerships and training church members for disaster response in Japan, but major obstacles stand in the way of the disaster relief effort, the executive director of Baptist Global Response said March 28.

“Tokyo Baptist Church is proving to be, as we anticipated, a great partner for responding,” said Jeff Palmer, who leads the international relief and development organization. “They have people, connections and resources to help mount an effective response. We face, however, significant challenges in the area of basic logistics: purchasing fuel, acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, and things like that.”

mind-numbing devastation

A four-member response team that arrived in Tokyo March 23 has had productive consultations with Japanese Baptist leaders and partner humanitarian groups and is setting up a command center for a unified Southern Baptist disaster relief initiative, Palmer said.

Two disaster relief specialists from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Network are working with Tokyo Baptist Church leaders to conduct training sessions on mass feeding, kitchen setup and distribution strategies, reported Pat Melancon, BGR’s disaster management specialist. The team also received a briefing from an internationally recognized expert in radiation safety, in anticipation of heading into northeastern Japan, where an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant has complicated disaster relief efforts.

Apart from logistical problems like acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, the team also faces challenges of gaining access to the disaster zone, Melancon said. Government permits to access the area via main roads are hard to come by, and navigating back roads is complicated by fuel shortages.

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Crack in Japanese reactor core opens up nightmare scenario, expert says

After the hands and feet of emergency workers were burned by highly radioactive water, signs have pointed to the possibility of a crack in the reactor core of unit three at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. 

“This is the nightmare that haunts every physicist – a crack in the vessel,” Physicist Michio Kaku PhD, a professor at City University of New York, said on Good Morning America March 26.  A crack in the vessel implies core damage, he noted.

Dr. Michio Kaku


Yesterday, Tepco officials apologized for allowing workers into the troubled nuclear plant without adequate footwear. Due to Tepco’s slow and seemingly inept response to the crisis, and opaque or conflicting communication, Dr. Kaku believes the time is overdue for an overhaul of the crisis management team. 

“If I had the ear of the Prime Minister, instead of accepting their apology, I would remove them entirely from leadership of this crisis and bring in a top team of the world’s best nuclear physicists and engineers with the authority to call up the Japanese military,” Dr. Kaku said. “Only the military, led by an international team of top scientists, using Tepco as a consultant, can tame this monster.” 

The use of saltwater to cool the reactor cores seems to have produced an undesirable side effect.

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Japan reactor crisis on a knife’s edge, expert warns

After workers at the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant were hospitalized yesterday, Japan’s prime minister cited his grave concerns about the unfolding crisis. One nuclear expert believes the situation is close to the point of no return, which could mean a catastrophe larger than Chernobyl.

“This is huge,” Physicist Michio Kaku PhD, a professor at City University of New York, told David Muir on Good Morning America. “For the first time, they are using that dreaded word ‘breach,’ which represents an uncontrolled release of radiation into the environment.”

Dr. Michio Kaku on ABC


Yesterday, two workers had to be hospitalized after radioactive water burned the skin on their feet and legs, according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). They were injured at the Unit 3 reactor, but the Kyodo news agency said that highly radioactive water was also found at Units 1 and 2. 

“Unit 3, which is suspected of containing the breach contains plutonium, the most toxic chemical known to science,” Dr. Kaku notes. “One millionth of a gram of plutonium can cause cancer if it’s ingested.”

When the Fukushima plant becomes too toxic for emergency workers and they are forced to evacuate, a relentless downward spiral begins. “If they abandon ship, we could be in free fall,” warns Dr. Kaku.

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