Thursday, April 28, 2011

Doctor symbol of disaster courage Kyodo

Thursday, April 28, 2011

News photo
Seeing for themselves: Minamisanriku Mayor Jin Sato (right) explains the devastation to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the playground of the tsunami-hit Isatomae Elementary School in Miyagi Prefecture on Wednesday. AP

Doctor symbol of disaster courage

NEW YORK — A Japanese doctor who was recently chosen as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people said Tuesday he believes he was picked as a symbol of all the people who have been courageously fighting against difficulties after being affected by the March 11 disaster in his homeland.
Takeshi Kanno, a 31-year-old internist, spoke with media outlets in New York, where he was visiting at the invitation of the magazine. He was noted for helping evacuate patients at his hospital in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, after the tsunami alert and waiting until the last of his patients had been helicoptered out before he too left.
Then on March 16, Kanno attended his wife's delivery of a baby boy.
Asked about the latest conditions, Kanno said, "Needs for goods and housing are being met to a certain extent, but (the survivors) still cannot fully live like humans. The question used to be how to survive. Now it has shifted to how to live and be independent.
Kanno said he debated whether to leave the site to visit New York, but decided to make the trip after people around him encouraged him to directly deliver the voices of the victims.
Kanno, who arrived in New York on Sunday, said he was heartened by those who welcomed him for coming all the way and suggested that he take a break. He said the victims, too, need time for relaxation.
"I want to deliver the message that the Japanese will undoubtedly accomplish reconstruction although tough situations will continue," Kanno said before a dinner Tuesday hosted by the magazine.
Kanno worked tirelessly evacuating and treating patients at the Shizugawa public hospital in Minamisanriku when the quake and tsunami struck March 11. He began his doctoral studies at the Tohoku University Graduate School earlier this month.
The magazine selects the 100 most influential people every year on its own criteria from the political, academic, arts and business circles among others.
Also included in the list this year is Katsunobu Sakurai, the mayor of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, who used the video-sharing site YouTube to criticize the Japanese government's response to the nuclear accident near his city.

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