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March 27th, 2011
04:20 PM ET

Japan: dealing with disaster and looking for answers

By Back|Story staff, CNN International

"...It's just absolutely mind-numbing in the sense that you've got three major disasters. You had the earthquake, you had the tsunami and then of course you had this nuclear, potential meltdown that has occurred. Any one of them, individually, would be a major catastrophe in any country. You've got one country, the people of Japan, dealing with all three."

Those were the words of CNN's Martin Savidge in Tokyo. He went to Sendai, a major car manufacturing area of Japan, where he encountered what he called a "car graveyard". He found the aftermath of the tsunami where people in cars, who were driving, had been poured over onto new cars, that were parked and ready to be sold. It was a scene where, combined with the clean up, bodies will have to be recovered from some of those cars as well.

Nuclear "trepidation" abounds inside and outside of Japan as well. Martin went aboard the USS Ronald Reagan to learn more about how military helicopters were flying in aid to disaster victims. He ended up finding another story. As a precaution crews were washing the entire U.S. Military super-carrier because it had passed through the plume from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, suffering possible contamination. There is a reason the ship is called a "super-carrier", it's huge.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is run by TEPCO, The Tokyo Electric Power Company. Inside its headquarters in Tokyo, Martin and crew crammed into the scrum of journalists vying for attention from officials who were there to calmly answer questions from the press. All questions were asked and answered in Japanese. All informational handouts where given in Japanese as well. CNN had a crew member who spoke the language and Martin was given an opportunity to ask questions. You can find informational handouts from TEPCO, in English, for the press and public on their website. Our chat with Martin about all of this is in the video above.

Be sure to stay with Back|Story for more on Japan. If you would like to help please visit CNN.com/Impact.


Filed under: backstory • Japan
soundoff (2 Responses)
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