'This Week' Transcript: Disaster in the Pacific



AMANPOUR (voice-over): This week, disaster in the Pacific. As my team and I cross Japan to find almost biblical scenes of destruction, fears of a nuclear meltdown after the powerful earthquake, the devastating wall of water. A race is on to stop a dangerous radiation leak and rescue tens of thousands.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, a special "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour, disaster in the Pacific, live from Tokyo, starts now.


AMANPOUR: Hello again. And we are here live broadcasting from Tokyo, where the government is scrambling to deal with this massive crisis: an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster.

The prime minister said on television tonight that this is an unprecedented crisis, the worst challenge this country has had to deal with since World War II. And we are here near the Narita Airport, which is the staging ground for U.S. and other international help that is now rushing in.

The government is concerned about a possible second meltdown at a second reactor, the Fukushima plant. It is also concerned about a possible explosion at that second reactor, although it's playing down the idea of leakage of nuclear radiation. And we are going to talk about that.

We're also going to talk about what we saw today. My team and I went up to the north, where the most devastation has been, and also my colleagues have reached some of the worst-hit areas, as aid officials also are reaching those areas for the first time. We will have all that in this broadcast.

And later, Jake Tapper, my colleague, will turn to all the news from Washington. President Obama and the United States administration is not only having to monitor this international crisis, but also the civil war in Libya and, as well, a bitter budget battle on Capitol Hill.

But first to the situation here in Japan.


AMANPOUR: Let's take a look at a map of the country. The earthquake struck just off the coast of Japan, and it sent strong tremors that shook and damaged buildings at least 200 miles from the epicenter. And the tsunami wave then destroyed and damaged two-thirds of the east coast of this island nation.


AMANPOUR: And now government officials north here in the Miyagi prefecture, which is home to Sendai, the worst-hit area, are saying that there could possibly be 10,000 people dead in that one place alone. The government is calling on all people here to conserve electricity. It's warning that electric power will be rationed because so much of Japan's electricity comes from those nuclear power plants that are now shut down.

My team and I took a helicopter tour up north. We saw the devastation firsthand from the air.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): As we make our way through the outskirts of Tokyo, life looks surprisingly normal. The trains are running again, three days after the powerful earthquake that shook even this capital, hundreds of miles from the epicenter. Last night, there had been an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. And as we're driving now, we hear that another reactor is overheating.

(UNKNOWN) (through translator): We are acting -- assuming that a meltdown has occurred. And with reactor number three, we are also assuming the possibility of a meltdown.

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