Tokyo Residents Worry About Quake's Hard-Hit Areas Japan's northeast coast is the area hit hardest by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. But the lives of Japanese across the country are being affected, and the capital is no exception. Residents there are worried about the nuclear accident but are also concerned about their fellow countrymen in worse-hit areas.
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Tokyo Residents Worry About Quake's Hard-Hit Areas

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Tokyo Residents Worry About Quake's Hard-Hit Areas

Tokyo Residents Worry About Quake's Hard-Hit Areas

Tokyo Residents Worry About Quake's Hard-Hit Areas

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Japan's northeast coast is the area hit hardest by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. But the lives of Japanese across the country are being affected, and the capital is no exception. Residents there are worried about the nuclear accident but are also concerned about their fellow countrymen in worse-hit areas.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And we're mostly following what's happening in Japan's northeast coast, which of course, was hit hardest by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami, but people throughout Japan are being affected even as far south as where Richard Harris is in Tokyo. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

ANTHONY KUHN: Prime Minister Naoto Kan began his morning press conference by warning people that what he was about to tell them was unsettling. He then detailed the damage at the Fukushima nuclear plants and ordered people living nearby to evacuate.

P: (Japanese spoken)

KUHN: A retiree who identified himself only as Mr. Niki(ph) said he had made three disappointing trips to the supermarket to stock up on staples.

MONTAGNE: As for water I don't mind, because I can use the city water. But as for bread, I'm quite worried about, but Japanese can live without the bread if there is rice.

KUHN: Empty bottles of chardonnay and pinot noir sit outside a French-style bistro in the upscale Minato district. Manager Hiroshi Watanabe(ph) puts a sign in his window saying the lights in his restaurant are low to save power on orders from his district government. He says his business is down by half since Friday's earthquake.

MONTAGNE: (Through Translator) Trains aren't running regularly, so my customers who come here can't get home. Also, some companies are asking their employees not to come to work. But more importantly, people aren't coming because when they think of the quake victims, they're in no mood to eat, drink, and be merry.

KUHN: For at least one prominent Tokyo resident, the disaster has cosmic and moral implications. Shintaro Ishihara is governor of the capital. He raised some eyebrows with these remarks about the earthquake at a press conference yesterday.

MONTAGNE: (Through Translator) The character of the Japanese people is selfish. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami to wash away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.

KUHN: Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Tokyo.

MONTAGNE: And this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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