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Foreign residents call for post-quake info in devastated Niigata - From Niigata, Japan

Sep 03, 2010

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By Kakumi Kobayashi

Foreign residents living in areas devastated by the deadly earthquake that hit Japan’s Niigata Prefecture say they feel there is a shortage of post-quake information in their native languages.

Experts urged the Japanese government to step up efforts to also take care of non-Japanese residents.

In Kashiwazaki, one of the areas hit hardest by the quake, there were some 860 foreign nationals as of the end of last year.

Of the total, nearly 450 were Chinese, including students from Inner Mongolia. The next largest group was Filipinos, numbering about 150.

Chinese student Guan Hong Yu said he wants the information in Chinese to come in paper form such as fliers or something like a newspaper.

The second-year student at Niigata Sangyo University said it is expensive to check the latest situation on a mobile phone and he doesn’t think many young people listen to the radio regularly.

A woman who said she was from the Philippines also expressed hope for post-quake information in Tagalog.

The quake killed 10 people, injured nearly 1,100 and forced more than 10,000 to evacuate from their homes in Niigata Prefecture.

Many Kashiwazaki citizens still face having to endure hot summer weather in shelters without gas or tap water.

Tomonobu Haga, adviser to the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations said, ‘’At first, evacuees may be united in sharing the joy of survival. But such a sense of unity typically lasts for only three days.'’

‘’Fatigue, heavy stress and concerns about the future will grow so big inside themselves that they’ll have difficulties controlling themselves. ‘’Potential prejudices against non-Japanese could come into play under such situations,'’ he said.

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