Reported by [DLMURL="http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news"]Mainichi News[/DLMURL]:
Many Japanese still missing after attack
Several Japanese World Trade Center workers remain unaccounted for after terrorists flew commercial jets into the building in an attack in New York Tuesday, causing the entire structure to collapse.
Two Nishi-Nippon Bank workers, Kazuhiro Anai and Takuya Nakamura had still not been found Wednesday after the building collapsed. Speaking at a press conference in Fukuoka on Wednesday, bank officials grimly announced that there had been "no progress" in making contact with the pair. Another employee, Minoru Tahara was confirmed safe after he contacted his wife.
Chaos also continued among workers from the Fuji Bank's offices between the 72nd and 82nd floors of the World Trade Center. A total of 12 of the 125 workers remain missing. The other 113 employees have been confirmed safe.
Other companies to report missing Japanese workers included the Chuo Mitsui Trust and Banking Co., where two of three employees remained unaccounted for. As of noon Wednesday Japanese time no deaths from the company had been confirmed.
At least one Japanese person has been heavily injured following the attack. The man, Shizuoka Bank worker Toshio Shinya, was hospitalized with a broken right leg. It was expected he would be released from hospital Wednesday.
Eight workers were reportedly working in the Shizuoka Bank's 80th-floor branch in the World Trade Center building when the planes smashed into it and exploded in flames. Two other executives were not in the building at the time.
One of the dispatched employees reportedly called his wife by cell phone saying he had managed to escape from the building. At a press conference held shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday Japanese time, an executive from the Shizuoka Bank's head branch in Shizuoka said he had made contact with another employee. The employee said all bank workers had evacuated the building.
Later reports confirmed that all 10 of the bank's Japanese workers had been rescued safely.
Contact couldn't be made with the Bank of Yokohama's branch on the 46th floor of the World Trade Center's No. 1 tower, but all three employees were later confirmed safe. One reportedly escaped from the building and another was absent at the time of the attack. The bank had initially been unable to confirm the whereabouts of another Japanese man, 38-year-old Yuichi Itakura, but later reports said he was unhurt.
All 80 Japanese employees from the Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank's branch, who were separated between the two towers of the center building, escaped unscathed.
The Asahi Bank, which employed 23 Japanese in its branch on the 60th floor of the World Trade Center, said all its employees were safe.
All eight employees from the Chugoku Bank's 90th-floor office were unharmed. Bank officials said three Japanese employees worked at the bank along with other employees from the United States. Branch employees said they followed instructions and evacuated the building using the stairs immediately after a blast that rocked the building was heard. (Mainichi Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2001)
Japan to do everything possible to offset terrorist impact
Japan pledged to do everything possible to restore calm in the already fragile economy as share prices crashed and the yen rose sharply following horrific terrorist attacks in the United States.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tokyo would "take appropriate measures so that confusion would not emerge in the global and Japanese economic systems."
Japan's Nikkei 225 index sank below 10,000 points for the first time in 17 years Wednesday and the dollar fell nearly three yen against the Japanese currency after the attacks.
Japan's Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said the government was ready to step into the foreign exchange market to stem the yen's excessive rise against the dollar.
"If an unquiet situation continues, we need to intervene," he told a news conference.
The minister spoke by telephone to US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill about the situation and said the two countries had agreed to monitor market movements and take appropriate action when necessary.
"I talked about preventing the markets from becoming unstable through cooperation between Japan and the United States."
Ruling Liberal Democratic Party policy board chief Taro Aso said "currency rates are more problematic" than stock prices in terms of damaging the economy, Jiji Press news agency reported.
A surging yen could hamper Japanese exports as the higher value of the currency makes Japanese products more expensive abroad while reducing export income in yen terms.
The dollar fell below 119 yen, trading at 118.86 yen at 3:15 pm (0615 GMT) against 119.21 yen in New York and 121.71-73 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda appealed for calm in financial markets.
"We will keep close contact with overseas markets authorities to cope with the situation... We would like to urge market participants to take a calm stance," he said.
The key Nikkei-225 index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 6.6 percent to crash through the 10,000 point level Wednesday as investors fled the equity market on terrorist fears.
It plunged 682.85 points to end at 9,610.10, falling below the psychologically-important 10,000 mark for the first time in over 17 years.
To reduce volatility following the terrorist strike, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) halved the limit on price movements of individual stocks and started at 9:30 am (0030 GMT) -- half-an-hour later than usual.
"Given the unstable situation in the market, we also urge (investors) to refrain from taking any action that may undermine credibility in the market, such as spreading rumors," said TSE President Masaaki Tsuchida in a statement.
Earlier in the morning Japan's central bank announced it had raised liquidity levels in the financial system by around two trillion yen (16.67 billion dollars).
As a result, the outstanding balance of current account reserves at the central bank increased to 8.3 trillion yen, far above the targeted level of six trillion yen under the bank's present policy directive.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi early Wednesday condemned Tuesday's series of apparent terrorist attacks against the United States, calling them ''outrageous and reckless attempts'' that should not be tolerated.
''These acts of terrorism should not be forgiven, and I feel great anger over them,'' the premier said in a statement. ''Representing the people of Japan, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the U.S. president and the people of the U.S.''
Japan set up task forces in Tokyo and New York over what appeared to be coordinated attacks in New York and Washington, but has yet to confirm whether there were any Japanese victims, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said.
''There is confusion over information on the safety of Japanese people. I think we should only say that we don't know at the moment,'' the top government spokesman said at a hurriedly arranged news conference.
Two aircraft slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and an airplane crashed at the Defense Department in Washington. Fukuda said the twin towers in New York house 31 Japanese companies.
Two task forces in Tokyo, one at the prime minister's official residence and another at the Foreign Ministry, and a separate group in New York are collecting information on the attacks, according to Fukuda.
Koizumi called and told Koji Omi, minister in charge of Okinawa and affairs related to the Northern Territories, who is in Boston, to head to New York, while instructing Defense Agency chief Gen Nakatani, who is in Indonesia, to return to Japan.
Koizumi also instructed his government late Tuesday to step up security measures at U.S.-related institutions in Japan, Fukuda said. There are no reports of incidents at such institutions, he said.
The premier also sent a message to U.S. President George W. Bush late Tuesday expressing anger over the incidents.
''I am shocked to hear the news about the tragic incidents at the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. I share your anger over what appears to be acts of terrorism,'' the premier said in the statement.
''Representing the Japanese government and the Japanese people, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of the victims,'' he said.