Support and comfort in times of distress
At 14:46 this Monday, the ITER staff interrupted their work and stepped outside office buildings to observe a minute of silence in honour of the victims of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami in Japan.
As the news about the devastating earthquake that took place off the eastern coast of Japan has trickled in over the past few days, many of us here at ITER have been worrying about the fate of our families, friends and colleagues living in the Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki Prefectures. Our concern has also been for all those in Japan who are associated with the ITER project and with fusion in general.
We are receiving an overwhelming number of messages from concerned parties near and far—local municipalities, the ITER Domestic Agencies, scientists and researchers associated with ITER, former colleagues and friends. They all express their sympathy and support following the unimaginable events of these last days in Japan. I very much appreciate these words of condolence and encouragement and would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who are thinking of us.
In the meantime it has been confirmed that no ITER staff was on mission in Japan at the time of the earthquake. We have also been reassured that our friends working at the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency and the Japanese Domestic Agency in Naka are all safe. The office buildings there have suffered some damage and, as there is currently no water or electricity, the offices have remained closed. Further north in Rokkasho, where the Broader Approach activities are located, the situation seems to be sound according to reports from our contacts there.
Even for a nation that has long become used to the disastrous consequences of earthquakes, nothing could have prepared us for a tragedy of this scale and magnitude, the aftermath of which has left the people of Japan reeling from shock. The death toll keeps rising and we grieve for the Japanese people, so many of whom have lost loved ones.
At this distressing time, it is the kindness and support shown by so many which helps to sustain us, and for this we thank you.
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