ITF general secretary David Cockroft wrote to Japanese trade unions when the quake and tsunamis struck, offering help and condolences. Today he stated: "Time and the superb Japanese rescue effort, aided by international teams, have revealed that the damage and loss of life is even worse than first feared."
He continued: "The people of Japan are well prepared for these events but the sheer size of this one could have overwhelmed all preparations. Thankfully there has been great bravery shown in saving lives, and maybe we can allow ourselves to feel some pride that transport workers have figured widely in reports of passengers being safely evacuated from trains, and cared for at the affected airports. The news of our members in the seaports is likely to be grimmer.
"We are in constant touch with our personnel and members in Japan, who are doing their best to support the Japanese people, despite, often, the loss of their workplaces, infrastructure and union offices. We have placed the ITF at their disposal and are also assisting our members unions worldwide to offer practical support."