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SPIE leaders express condolences to people of Japan following earthquake and tsunami

14 March 2011

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE Members in Japan are among those assessing damage and looking for the way forward after Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake northeast of Tokyo that triggered a massive tsunami hitting coastal areas in the epicenter region. The events have left an estimated several hundred people dead and widespread damage to farmland and property including several nuclear-powered electrical plants.

SPIE Fellow Mitsuo Takeda, a professor at the Univ. of Electro-Communications in Chofu, northwest of Tokyo, said yesterday that buildings were damaged but no human injury was reported at UEC as a result of earthquake activity. He said that streets into Tokyo had been jammed with traffic on Friday and traffic was beginning to clear by Saturday. Cell phone coverage was still down as he continued over the weekend to attempt to contact colleagues in other areas, including SPIE Director Toyohiko Yatagai (Utsunomiya Univ.) in Tochigi, and SPIE Fellow Ichirou Yamaguchi (Scientist Emeritus, RIKEN), in Kiryu. Both areas are north of Tokyo and farther inland.

"SPIE extends heartfelt sympathy to all the people of Japan during these horrific events," said SPIE President Katarina Svanberg (Lund Univ. Hospital). "We are saddened by the tragic loss of life, and deeply concerned for the great difficulties facing those who survive. Our thoughts are with you in these days of grief and sorrow."

Svanberg and SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs encouraged support for relief efforts underway to meet needs that have been assessed as much more extensive than in-country resources can manage. Among international aid organizations assisting in Japan are:

Media coverage of the event and related issues includes:

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants and other education programs around the world.

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Media Contact:

Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
amy@spie.org
Tel: +1 360 685 5478

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