Tokyo (AFP) April 29, 2011
The Dalai Lama offered a renewed prayer for disaster-hit Japan Friday, and urged the nation to look to the future.
"What I can do is to pray and offer my sincere condolences to the victims," he said on his first visit to Japan since the nation's biggest recorded earthquake and tsunami ravaged the northern Pacific coastline on March 11.
The disaster left more than 25,000 dead or missing and crippled a nuclear power plant, which has been releasing radioactive materials into the environment and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands living nearby.
"The earthquake was a disaster caused by nature. The tragedy caused by the nuclear plant accident was a problem created by mankind. From this, sufferings and worries arise in hearts", he said.
"What happened, happened. I hope that work will start with eyes firmly set toward the future."
The 75-year-old spiritual leader, who was en route to the United States, visited Japan to say prayers at Gokokuji Temple in Tokyo, where Tibetan monks in orange robes sat alongside Japanese monks.
He announced last month that he wanted to shed his role as political chief of the Tibetan government-in-exile but will retain the more significant role of Tibet's spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama's prayer came a day after Buddhism's 49th-day rite, held on Thursday along the northeast of Japan in the belief that is the day when departed souls face judgement for their sins.
Some 3,000 followers and spectators came to the Tokyo temple to hear the Dalai Lama, who offered his sympathy and sadness after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami plunged Japan into its worst post-War crisis.
"I wanted to visit this nation that faced such a calamity and to be a spiritual comfort, even if this may be a small act," he said.
The Dalai Lama has said that his decision to resign from politics will help the movement to pursue its campaign against Chinese oppression in Tibet after his death. Many Tibetans pleaded with him to change his mind.
On Friday he told reporters that he had decided "to hand over my legitimate political authority, but that does not mean I resign from (being the) Dalai Lama."
He said he had "voluntarily, happily, proudly" ended his political role despite the reservations of "a number" of Tibetans.
"The majority understand my decision as timely and right."
Tibetan exiles this week elected Lobsang Sangay, a 43-year-old Harvard academic, to be their new prime minister.
China on Thursday attacked the Tibetan government-in-exile as "illegal" following the election of the new prime minister.
Beijing continues to brand the Dalai Lama a "splittist" and subjects him to virulent public attacks.
earlier related report
The government asked volunteers to join organised relief programmes and refrain from driving individually to communities destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami in March to ease congestion that could slow restoration work.
While welcoming the free labour given during Golden Week -- a series of national holidays that last until May 8 -- local municipalities are asking for longer-term help that goes beyond the break.
Nearly 8,000 volunteers might work along the northern Pacific coast on each day during the holiday week, more than three times the level until now, the Yomiuri Shimbun estimated.
Sudden rushes of volunteers have already overwhelmed local officials, who have on occasion been unable to immediately find work for out-of-town guests who showed up unexpectedly, local media said.
"Needs change all the time. We hope volunteers would first inquire about the conditions" of specific areas before coming to disaster-hit towns, an official in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, told the Tokyo Shimbun.
Many municipalities in the northern Pacific coast are minor fishing and farming towns with small administrations, whose abilities were badly hit by the March 11 disaster, which also triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are accepting new volunteers via organised programmes, but many communities have decided to pass on fresh out-of-town volunteers elsewhere to avoid traffic and administrative chaos.
"The need for volunteers will continue and increase even after Golden Week," Miyagi prefecture said in a statement.
"We ask for your future participation (in volunteer work), if you cannot take part at this time, as we will continue publicising the condition of the area hit by the disaster," it said.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
Sendai, Japan (AFP) April 28, 2011
Japanese workers tackling the Herculean task of clearing millions of tonnes of debris from last month's earthquake and tsunami also face health risks from asbestos and dioxins. The destruction wrought by the March 11 calamity is so enormous that just removing the rubble is expected to take years. Clearing away an estimated 25 million tonnes of wreckage is a vital step in allowing victims ... read more
Japan PM on defensive over disaster leadership|
Dalai Lama tells Japan to look to future
Quake-hit Japan open for business: foreign minister
Second woman exposed to radiation at Japan plant
Thousands queue for iPad 2 across Asia
New polymer structures for use as plastic electronics
Chinese pay price for world's rare earths addiction
NIST nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories
Venice turns to floating barriers to ward off flood threats
U.S. land mass is shrinking
Miner Vale invests in mega dam
Eddies found to be powerful modes of ocean transport
Calling all candidates for Concordia
Melting ice on Arctic islands a major player in sea level rise
ESA-NASA Collaboration Furthers Sea-Ice Research
Melting ice on Arctic islands boosts sea levels: study
Scorpion venom bad for bugs but good for pesticides
China food scandals spark new safety fears
Stressed out crop impede higher agriculture yields
Lima to declare itself a GMO-free zone
Japan mulls tsunami lessons for reconstruction
Ecuador on alert after volcano erupts
Forecasters predict multiple US hurricane landfalls
Rain is Colombia's 'worst' natural disaster: Santos
Diehard pro-Gbagbo militia begin to disarm
Darfur rebels reject draft Doha accord
Nigeria holds final polls despite violence
Burkina Faso president assumes defence post
Chinese population ageing, moving to the cities
Evolution of human 'super-brain' tied to development of bipedalism, tool-making
Berlusconi, Sarkozy meet over migrants
Pope urges 'solidarity' with refugees from conflict
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|