The Government of Jamaica is deeply concerned about the massive earthquake that struck the eastern section of Japan earlier this morning. Measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, it is the most severe earthquake ever to have struck Japan and the 7th worst in the history of the world.
A large number of persons have been killed and extensive damage done throughout the Japanese islands. There is fear of radioactive exposure from the damage done to a nuclear power plant.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ken Baugh, this morning conveyed by telephone the sympathy of the Government and people of Jamaica to the Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica. We assured him of our prayers and support for the people of Japan in the wake of this enormous tragedy.
We are still trying to make contact with our Ambassador in Japan, Ambassador Claudia Barnes, to enquire about her safety and that of our Embassy staff as well as other Jamaicans in Japan. We have a large number of Jamaican teachers in various parts of Japan engaged in the teaching of English under a special bilateral arrangement between our two countries. We are concerned about them and anxious to be assured that they are safe and well.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to monitor the situation and a further statement will be issued as soon as we have gathered more information.