Earthquake and tsunami in Japan
NEW YORK—Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide are expressing deep concern for the victims of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck the northeastern region of mainland Japan on March 11, 2011. It is regarded as the worst earthquake in Japan’s history and the fourth largest in the world since 1900, triggering a tsunami that devastated cities along the eastern coastline of Japan. One news agency in Japan reported a confirmed death toll of over 4,300 as of March 16. The quake and tsunami also led to explosions at a nuclear power plant 170 miles north of Tokyo.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are making particular inquiries about their fellow worshippers in the affected regions of Japan. Though located hundreds of miles away from the epicenter, those working at the Witnesses’ branch office in Japan reported that they felt the “strong swing of the buildings” where they worked. None of the Witnesses at the branch office were injured, and although it appears that the buildings sustained relatively minor damage, structural assessments are yet to be completed. There are approximately 2,300 Witnesses in the areas affected by the tsunami. Sadly, preliminary reports received on March 15 confirm that 2 Witnesses were killed and 115 were missing. Five houses of worship used by the Witnesses, called Kingdom Halls, were destroyed.
In cooperation with local authorities and other relief agencies, the Witnesses arranged to help meet the immediate needs of their fellow worshippers and other victims in Japan, establishing three teams to help organize disaster relief. These teams are working diligently to contact congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the devastated areas and care for the spiritual, physical, and material needs of their fellow believers. The Witnesses’ international relief efforts are being coordinated from their world headquarters in Brooklyn. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been actively promoting Bible education in Japan for nearly 100 years.
J. R. Brown, telephone: (718) 560-5600