Chicago Japanese Consulate sets up info hotlines

March 11, 2011 3:46:08 PM PST
Officials at the Japanese Consulate located on North Michigan Avenue are monitoring the developments following an earthquake and tsunami on Japan's eastern coast.

They're providing phone numbers to anyone who may have relatives in Japan and have been unable to get in touch with them.

Those numbers are 1-312-280-0400 or 1-800-776-3877.

Akira Tajima, consul and director of the Japan Information Center, said the government is doing everything to minimize damage and ensure public safety.

"The Japanese government is working to address the disaster quickly and effectively...we greatly appreciate all the support we have received from the people of Chicago and Midwest," said Tajima.

The full extent of the damage has not been determined. Tajima said transportation and communication has been disrupted in many areas.

"We've just been getting a lot of calls from people concerned about their loved ones," Kris Kelly, spokesperson, Consulate of Japan in Chicago.

Osaka, Japan is Chicago's sister city. The staff of its Chicago office was online most of the day getting information about the earthquake and tweeting back and fourth with individuals.

"I think it's really shaken people up. We actually have people who we've sent on business and the trains have stopped, so we were emailing this morning making sure we know where people were," said Akari Rokumoto, Osaka's Chicago office.

Lupe Mota, a doorman at Olympia Towers Condos, has a son who was transferred to Japan three months ago working for Leo Burnett.

"I was devastated. I was worrying all day. But we got the word he's fine now and we feel better," said Mota.

The Consulate General's office say people seeking information about American students in Japan should contact the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

For information about Japanese students, people should contact the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago: .