January 27, 2015 21:07 UTC

In the News

Quake, Tsunami May Only Add to Economic Struggles for Japan

Houses burn in a flooded area of Natori City in northern Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on Friday
Houses burn in a flooded area of Natori City in northern Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on Friday

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

The earthquake that shook Japan with historic strength on Friday created a tsunami wave ten meters high. The water washed away boats, cars and houses in coastal areas north of Tokyo. It also led to tsunami warnings across the Pacific.

Scientists recorded the magnitude of the earthquake at 8.9. The United States Geological Survey says it was the fifth largest earthquake since nineteen hundred. The largest, with a 9.5 magnitude, shook Chile in nineteen sixty.

Quake, Tsunami May Only Add to Economic Struggles for Japan
Quake, Tsunami May Only Add to Economic Struggles for Japan

The quake struck near the east coast of Honshu, Japan's main island. It was centered under the sea about one hundred thirty kilometers east of Sendai. The tsunami washed away whole neighborhoods in Sendai.

President Obama offered whatever assistance Japan needs. He had already planned to meet with reporters Friday, and began by talking about the disaster.

A warehouse and vehicles are washed away in Kesennuma
A warehouse and vehicles are washed away in Kesennuma

BARACK OBAMA: "First and foremost, our thoughts and our prayers are with the people of Japan. This is a potentially catastrophic disaster and the images of destruction and flooding coming out of Japan are simply heartbreaking.

"Japan is, of course, one of our strongest and closest allies and this morning I spoke with Prime Minister [Naoto] Kan. On behalf of the American people, I conveyed our deepest condolences, especially to the victims and their families. And I offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed. We currently have an aircraft carrier in Japan and another is on its way.”

Japanese media said the tsunami carried away a ship carrying one hundred people. Television images showed a whole community on fire.

The quake has produced powerful aftershocks. It also raised concerns about possible effects on the world's third-largest economy. The economy was the second largest until China recently moved into that position.

Japan was already struggling to rebuild economic growth and reduce its budget deficit and government debt.

Japan has invested a lot of resources in preparing for earthquakes. Still, the nineteen ninety-five earthquake in Kobe caused an estimated one hundred billion dollars in damage.

The value of the yen dropped Friday but then recovered.

Japan is the world's third-largest importer of oil. World prices for oil fell after the quake. This followed weeks of increases because of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Oil traders said prices fell because of a belief that quake damage will hurt growth in Japan and reduce demand for energy.

Train passengers wait at Tokyo's Shinagawa station after service was halted
Train passengers wait at Tokyo's Shinagawa station after service was halted

The quake happened about three hundred seventy kilometers northeast of Tokyo. It shook buildings in the capital, halting all train and subway traffic and leaving many people unable to get home.

Joruji Shinozaki wrote on the VOA Learning English page on Facebook: Friday's earthquake was a nightmare. Suddenly the building where I live in Tokyo shook violently and objects began to fall. I was so scared because I've never experienced such a strong quake before in my life.

Another Facebook user in Japan, Mitsutoshi Sato, wrote: It was a frightening experience. The blackout lasted for more than 10 hours around me. Thank each and every one of you in the world praying for Japan.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

___

Contributing: Dave Gollust and Kent Klein

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Japan Hostage

    Audio Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan over Military Plan

    Japan says the government is working with Jordan to secure the release of a Japanese cititizen. The Islamic State militant group is holding Kenji Goto hostage, but claims to have executed another Japanese hostage. The hostage crisis will likely increase divisions among the Japanese public. More

  • Detroit Auto Show 42

    Video Cars Making a Comeback at North American Auto Show

    The 2015 North American International Auto Show took a test drive in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. It was the first major international car show in the U.S. Automobile manufacturers from around the world presented over 500 models, gas, electric, luxury, performance and concept vehicles More

  • Audio Chinese Civilians Guarding North Korean Border Areas

    Chinese media have reported several beatings and killings near the China-North Korea border. They blame North Koreans for the crimes. To protect the area, media reports now say that Chinese authorities are asking civilian patrols to guard their towns and villages near the border. More

  • Audio Obama Attends India's Republic Day Parade

    Mr. Obama was the first U.S. president to attend the event, which celebrates India’s first constitution as an independent state. The election results are likely to place Greece in conflict with the E.U. and international creditors. Deadly violence in Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines website hacked. More

  • Customers drink coffee as they read newspapers at the Tamoka coffee bar in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, September 16, 2013.

    Video Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

    What makes Ethiopian coffee the best? International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup of coffee, however they keep returning to Ethiopia. The country has an export revenue of more than $840 million a year from coffee to 120 countries. More

Featured Stories

  • agridrone

    Video French Farmers Are Using Drones to Examine Their Crops

    It used to be mostly the military that used small, unpiloted aircraft, called “drones.” The little planes were very costly. But as they have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. More

  • Video Is There a Better Way to Track Passenger Planes?

    New technology could help to more closely follow passenger airplanes, and find them when they crash; international group to meet next month to discuss changes. Airline industry leaders and regulators want to improve airplane safety. They want better, more dependable tracking devices. More

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs