About 130 South Korean nationals living in the Japanese prefecture of Miyagi, one of the areas hit hardest by a massive earthquake and tsunami, are unaccounted for because of power outages and inoperative phone lines, officials said Saturday.
South Korea's consulate in the Japanese city of Sendai, located
within Miyagi, is trying to make contact with its nationals there
and assess any damages to some 4,500 Korean nationals living in the
"We had received word about 200 nationals who were unreachable
so far. Of them, we have been able to make contact with between 60
and 70 people," said Koh Kyeong-ae, an official at the Sendai
consulate, in a telephone interview with Yonhap News Agency.
"It's difficult to assess damages because of power outages and
communication problems," Koh said.
Koh added there have been no reports of South Korean casualties
so far, but the number of Korean nationals left unaccounted for was
believed to be higher.
Up to 1,000 people were feared dead after the 8.9-magnitude
quake and a giant tsunami rocked northeast Japan on Friday.
Officials in Seoul said they were trying to check for possible
South Korean casualties, but telecommunication problems were
hampering the efforts.
The possibilities of Korean injuries or deaths cannot be ruled
out because about 910,000 South Koreans live in Japan, some 12,000
of them in six prefectures of northeastern Japan.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry set up emergency response teams
in Seoul and at its embassy in Tokyo and consulate general in
Sendai to assess any impact to its nationals. (Yonhap News)