'This Week' Transcript: Disaster in the Pacific


This is a country united in grief, in shock, and in their struggles. Many residents in Fukushima, near the nuclear power plant, expressed fear about the fallout here. This factory worker said, "20 kilometers away is safe, but the radiation may change and go out wider. It's very disturbing. There's no way to get out of here."

"I thing it's safe at the moment," said another local resident, "but I'm worried that the radiation might have already reached us."

Throughout the day, the government said radiation levels were safe outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone and offered treatment for evacuees coming from near the plant, but there have also been reports of higher than normal levels and people suffering from full-on radiation sickness.

"The place where I work might be contaminated," said this schoolteacher, "so I came here to have a check and try to find out what I have to do next."

At the airport in Tokyo yesterday, I spoke with a German journalist who's trying to get close to the plant. He came prepared.

(on-screen): Tell me what you've got here.

(UNKNOWN): A Geiger counter, I think it's called in English, yeah?

AMANPOUR: What does it measure, the Geiger counter?

(UNKNOWN): It measures the radioactivity right now here in the airport in Tokyo.

AMANPOUR: Is it high or low here?

(UNKNOWN): It's completely low. It's nothing.

AMANPOUR: But if it should rise as he approaches...

(UNKNOWN): We should go, yeah, because then it's rising, and you should -- you should leave. But now it's nothing dangerous at the moment.


AMANPOUR: And now, as you know, there have been mixed reports about the radiation issues. The government has been saying lately that it's going down, but there have been so many reports about how the levels have been much, much higher than is acceptable, several times higher than the Japan -- Japanese legal limits.

As we were in the air over the Sendai area, our colleague, Clarissa Ward, had reached Sendai and gives us now a snapshot of some of the worst-hit areas that she got to just as we were in the air.


WARD: Christiane, one of the first things we noticed driving into the city was just the amount of traffic. Literally, there were 10-block lines of cars waiting for gas, which is now being rationed out, also, long lines of people waiting outside of convenience stores. It's been two days since that quake, people getting very anxious now that supplies are dwindling.

But for the most part, this area of the city looks pretty normal. There was some electricity. Traffic lights seemed to be functioning. And it was only really when we hit the port area that we saw the scope of the devastation. Really, that area just felt like a warzone. There were sirens wailing, soldiers pouring into this area trying to assess the damage, smoke billowing up into the sky.

It's almost impossible really to describe the level and the scope of that devastation. Even the process of just trying to get into this city turned out to be quite an epic journey.

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