Local Japanese woman speaks out about her home country

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - In Japan, officials are facing setbacks in their efforts to contain radiation from a melting, nuclear reactor.  Now, Japan's health ministry said there is not only elevated levels of radiation in some food, but the radiation has seeped into tap water in one village near the site.

While the health scare continues, rescuers are still pulling people from the rubble left behind after the massive earthquake on march eleventh.  Here in the United States, families of loved ones lost are helplessly searching for answers.  But in Columbus one woman is thankful that her family in Japan is okay.  She spoke with News Leader Nine about the horrifying moments after the quake, what her family is doing now, and what they see for the future of the island nation.

Chiyo Kan flips through pictures of her family in Japan, a country that feels a world away.  Her view of Uptown Columbus is a little different than what her family is seeing: destruction and devastation.  Kan was born and raised in Tokyo.  Her family still lives in Tokyo today and was there the day disaster struck.

"The phone connection was dead.  I mean disconnected everywhere.  So, I couldn't talk to my mom, but fortunately the Internet was okay," said Kan.

Kan told News Leader Nine all of her family and friends are safe.  Now, the focus turns to where Japan goes from here, and how the world can help.

"I cannot do anything.  I just pray so I'm kind of struggling so what can I do for them," said Kan.

She has been living in the United States for almost a year.  Even though she says she is shy with her English, Kan wants to speak out for her home country and for the future of the Japanese people like her niece, nephew, and her own baby.

"My baby's generation, they've got to get together, and make, I mean build Japan up again," said Kan.

Through everything though, Kan said the tragedies can make the country stronger.

"Everybody got together.  It is like a big family country," said Kan.

While she continues to pray for her family, she is forever grateful for the love and compassion she has felt a little closer to home in the Valley.

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