Brazilians React to Disaster in Japan

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By DARRELL MIHO

Shock from the 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami and nuclear crisis has been felt halfway around the world by the people in Brazil.

President Dilma Roussef sent a message of sympathy to Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan: “The Brazilian government and people send our most sincere condolences and solidarity in the face of this disaster that struck Japan.”

The Rio Times reported that roughly 260,000 Brazilians live in Japan, and Marcos Galvao, Brazil’s ambassador in Japan, said there were no reports of any Brazilian casualties.

In Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, the Japanese community is heartbroken over the multiple disasters.

Beatriz Nakaie, a 36-year-old nurse, said, “It’s a tragedy. The Japanese are well prepared for an earthquake, but the tsunami, they can’t control. Nobody can.”

Akeo Yogui, president of the Federation of Japanese Provinces, says that the 47 member associations, which represent each of the 47 prefectures of Japan, will assist members in locating relatives and will launch a campaign to raise funds to aid relief efforts in Japan.

While watching a Japanese news broadcast in his office, Takashi Morita, an 87-year-old hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) who emigrated to Sao Paulo a few years after World War II, was very concerned about the crisis in Japan. Shaking his head, he said, “Hibakusha already fought against nuclear plants and weapons. They are very dangerous. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it [nuclear radiation]. Now the danger is a reality.”

His daughter, Yasuko Saito, added, “Humanity and nuclear power is impossible to continue together because nuclear power can never be controlled.”

But being the daughter of a hibakusha, she also understands the inner strength and resilience of the Japanese. “We know the Japanese people will rise up again,” she said.

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