Japan disaster has local impact

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – The disaster in Japan has had effects locally, from a local company that has many employees from Japan to an area athletic team that had a sleepless night in Hawaii thanks to a Tsunami Warning.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals is based in Japan, but has an office in Montgomery.  Makoto Morita awoke to news of the earthquake and tried to reach his wife, who lives in Tokyo with their young son.

"While she was working in her office, it hit, this earthquake," Morita said.  "She escaped under the tables."

Kioyuki Isihikawa had a hard time communicating with the area difficult immediately following the quake.

"I have my son and wife in Tokyo, I tried many, many times to get in contact with them," Isihikawa said.  Fortunately I could contact my son very easy and he said he and his wife was ok."

While the earthquake rattled Tokyo, a tsunami caused devastation on Japan's coast and out over the Pacific.

The Faulkner University softball team is in Hawaii for a tournament. Their hotel is on the coast in Waikiki.    The tsunami warning there made for a sleepless night.

"When you're seeing nuclear car plants on fire and cars being pushed over, watching and waiting for this invisible thing coming at you," you do have a little bit of anxiety said Sean Bartels, the University's Sports Information Director.."

But as the night went on, it became clear the damage wasn't going to be too bad.  Meanwhile, family and friends back home grew more anxious, because phone lines in Hawaii were jammed.

"It was trying to keep mom and brother and sister and aunts and uncles and church members and people at the school and all that stuff satisfied that we weren't trying to pacify them but that we were really ok," Bartels said.

The Faulkner team had some of their sightseeing events canceled on Friday, but otherwise it's business as usual.  The tournament starts on Monday.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.