Leeds Japanese workers tsunami fears

Staff members Tsuyoshi Takano, seated with collegues Jun Tench, Takako Shinki, Mika Harland and Hamka Okura Elwes make contact with relatives in Japan via Skype on the computer.
Staff members Tsuyoshi Takano, seated with collegues Jun Tench, Takako Shinki, Mika Harland and Hamka Okura Elwes make contact with relatives in Japan via Skype on the computer.
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JAPANESE staff at a Leeds-based global translation firm have been desperately trying to find out the fate of loved ones caught up in the country’s earthquake and tsunami mayhem.

The 16 employees at translation and interpreting firm thebigword, based in Lower Wortley, have been given a special room in which they can try to make contact by telephone, email or Skype.

Thankfully, all have found that their immediate families are safe but many are still desperate to track down extended family and friends.

Now the possibility of nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is causing more anxiety.

Spokeswoman Sue Baker told the YEP: “They have all managed to contact their families and their families are safe. One person spent all of Friday having a very difficult time.

“All have not yet managed to contact friends. Most of the contact is through Skype or email because the telephone lines are down.

“It’s a very worrying time.”

Staff at the company’s Tokyo office managed to escape the devastation because the building is designed to withstand an earthquake.

Sue added that many of the company’s clients have suffered because their factories and offices in Japan have been damaged.

Japanese staff at the Leeds office have been told they can go home if they wish but have chosen to stay in the UK.

Sue said: “Most have decided it’s not a sensible thing to do.

“The first instinct is to go and help but what you are doing then is taking the available seats and using space that could be used for emergency teams.”

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