Global concern is now focused on the impact of the powerful earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale which hit northern Japan in the early afternoon of that time zone, when people were engaged in their normal daily activities. The devastating tsunami which that earthquake triggered has contributed to the tragic loss of lives, the bereavement, tremendous destruction and anxiety being experienced by the Government and people of Japan. The threat of continuing serious aftershocks is further cause for concern.

The Government and people of Jamaica convey our deepest sympathies to the Government and people of Japan as a result of this tragedy, whose full impact is yet unknown. Although Japan is possibly the country which is best prepared for the mitigation of this natural disaster, no one is ever forewarned and the strength of the impact can never be predicted.  We express our conviction that the strong leadership being given by the Government at this time and the resilience of the people of Japan will pull them through this very difficult moment.

Japan is a country which has always gone readily to the assistance of countries in the wake of their suffering from the impact of natural disasters. The international community must now stand ready to offer whatever assistance necessary to this generous country.

We have been in touch with our Embassy in Tokyo and are thankful that all our staff there are safe. Most spent the afternoon in evacuation centres close to the Embassy, but I am advised that all have now returned to their homes. Our Embassy is trying to contact all the Jamaicans resident in Japan and will report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on the results of their efforts. We are hopeful that all are safe since the majority of our citizens in Japan live in the mid section and the south of Japan, which do not appear to have suffered significant damage. However, our Embassy’s records show that about four Jamaicans are in the north, close to the affected zone and we remain very concerned and pray for their safety. The Embassy in Tokyo will be open tomorrow, as Ambassador Claudia Barnes and staff continue their efforts to communicate with all Jamaicans in Japan.

I spoke this morning with the Ambassador of Japan in Kingston, H. E. Hiroshi Yamaguchi, and expressed Jamaica’s profound concern at the loss of lives and devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

We continue to monitor the situation in Japan and to hope that the death toll will not rise further and that calm and the sense of safety, which are such important features in the national psyche of Japan, will soon be restored.


Issued by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade

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