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Expat sons of Japan fret & fear
- Tata Steel engineers pray for kin in island nation

Jamshedpur, March 17: There’s a tsunami of worry rocking the salubrious spring of Jamshedpur.

Japanese consultant engineers at Tata Steel have been hit hard by the recent ravages in the island nation, though no casualty among their family have been reported since the March 11 quake that measured 8.9 on the Richter scale.

Toshio Kuwano, an engineer working at the steel major’s coke drying and quenching (CDQ) project, has been passing sleepless nights ever since he saw the grim TV footage of the quake-tsunami-nuclear explosion trio. Though he knew his family at Kyushu — Japan’s southern tip — was far from Sendai and Fukushima, he kept praying.

“The quake-tsunami combination devastated vast swathes of our nation. Luckily, I’m from Kyushu, Japan’s southern tip, far from Sendai. But still I am worried, as sitting thousands of miles away, I can only pray for the safety of my loved ones. The telephone is our lifeline,” said Toshio Kuwano, an engineer working with Tata Steel, via an interpreter.

“After nature’s fury came the cascade of nuclear explosions at Fukushima. I am lucky to be here, but my heart is with my countrymen. My family in south Japan only felt the quake’s barest tremors,” said team mate Joji Nagatoishi.

In fact, Nagatoishi himself had a narrow escape. “I was in Kyushu last week. I reached Jamshedpur on Sunday only to know about the nuclear blasts at Fukushima,” he added.

Kuwano, with eight other compatriots currently staying at Bistupur’s Fortune Hotel Centre Point, are lucky to hail from south Japan that was spared the ravages.

A fresh contingent of Japanese executives arrived today from Tokyo via Mumbai, but for a day. “We would have preferred to be with our family now, but work needs to go on,” said Saito Naoki, director, Metal One, a consulting company.

“Japanese guests stay here often, but in the past few days, the situation has been chaotic. Some have left, others have postponed their trip. It affects business, but we have to take it in our stride, as it is a natural disaster. We have sent a letter of concern to our Japanese guests,” said Rajeev K. Bajaj, general manager, Fortune Hotel Centre Point.

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