No report yet of Filipino casualties in Japan quake, says Phl Embassy in Tokyo

Greater Tokyo Area is the world's most populou...Image via WikipediaMANILA, March 12 (PNA) — Neither the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and its consulates in other parts of quake-ravaged northeast Japan reported any Filipino death or injury in Friday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed it.

But the Philippine ambassador to Tokyo, Manolo Lopez, said that Japanese media reported that more than a hundred people have died and a hundred more missing with no other details.


He has strongly advised the 360,000-strong Filipinos in Japan to be vigilant and look after each other as Japan braces for rescue and rehabilitation operations in the aftermath of the disaster.

Lopez did not indicate if the new Philippine Embassy in tony Shibuya district in Tokyo, the Japanese city closest to the quake epicenter, suffered any damage.

He told a Philippine television program with a much-contained voice that as far as he knows, none among his friends and acquaintances are casualties.

He advised Filipinos to proceed to the nearest fire station or City Hall in their area to receive further instructions and assistance — which are well-coordinated --as Japan, in the ring of fire in the Pacific, is generally efficient and competent at disaster-preparedness.

That it is ever ready for the so-called "Big One" is a well-known preparedness attitude of foreign residents and Tokyoites, whose forebears suffered through the mega-disastrous 1935 earthquake.

The consulate-general in Osaka City, farther down Tokyo, did not have any damage either, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Some 20 hours after the initial shock of the disaster, communication lines in the world’s most modern city began to slowly recover and Filipino families have resumed contacting their relatives in Metropolitan Tokyo and worst-hit prefectures (provinces) such as Miyagi, Sendai and Hokkaido.

More than a third of Japan's estimated 360,000 Filipinos live in these fertile and healthy farming prefectures, soil enriched by natural disasters.

All Filipinos contacted by Philippine media talked of fear and feelings of imminent death as the quake and its aftershocks rumbled on “for what appeared like 10 minutes” each time.

A Filipino worker at a U.S. naval base in Yokosuka -- home base of U.S. soldiers participating in joint military drills in the Philippines such as the forthcoming "Balikatan," and a two hour-ride from Tokyo, said residents were being mobilized for evacuation since the base is near the shores.

Earthquake-proof commercial buildings collapsed in central Tokyo, where thousands of workers were at the height of the day’s work when the quake hit at around 2 p.m.

The Embassy’s emergency landline numbers for members of the Filipino community in Japan are +81-3-5562-1570, +81-3-5562-1577, and +81-3-5562-1590. Embassy officials can also be e-mailed for inquiries at emergency@philembassy.net.

As soon as telephone service resumes operations, members of the Filipino community may also contact emergency numbers +81-3-5562-1573 and +81-3-5562-1574.

The embassy reported that in some areas, landline and mobile phone networks remain down, though internet services remain available.

The Philippine Consulate General in Osaka may be contacted at telephone numbers +81-90-4036-7984 and +81-6-6910-7881.

The Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Sapporo may be contacted at telephone number +81-11-614-8090 while the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Morioka may be contacted at telephone number +81-19-626-9139.

The Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Nagoya may be contacted at +81-52-584-5698 while the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Naha may be contacted at +81-98-892-5486.

In Manila, the DFA hotline numbers are 834-4646 and 834-4580. Requests for information may also be sent through e-mail address dfaoumwa.cmc@gmail.com. (PNA)