Japanese embassy holds candle-light vigil for quake victims

New Delhi: Indian lawmakers, artistes and activists on Sunday joined Japanese officials in Delhi to offer prayers for the victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan which claimed more than 1000 lives and rendered over 2.15 lakh homeless.

The vigil saw MPs, journalists, noted activists and artists express their condolences for the victims of the calamity, one of the worst disasters in the recent times.

"In this hour of catastrophe, the only thing we can do is express our condolences. We salute the spirit of Japan for its effort to rebuild the country with a lot of grit even in times of grief," said BJP MP Tarun Vijay.

Japan's north-eastern coast was battered on Friday by a 8.9 magnitude quake, the largest on record in Japan, and an ensuing tsunami that washed over hundreds of kilometres of coastline, causing widespread destruction.

"Japan is experiencing a most serious tragedy now. Many towns and villages have been swept away, lives have been lost, people are still missing. We have evacuated close to 400,000 people to date," Akitaka Saiki, Japanese envoy to India, said.

He said the Japanese Government was trying its best to cope with the natural calamity and rescue efforts were on to save those still stranded.

Thanking the international community for joining his country in the "time of grief," Saiki termed the response by the international community as "phenomenal."

"We in Japan are deeply touched by the phenomenal response. At this time of extreme difficulties we are receiving condolences and assistance of all kind from other countries. We are still receiving mails and are most grateful," he said.

Among others present were BSP MP Vijay Bahadur Singh, BJP MP Rama Jois, noted theatre artiste Amir Raza Hussain and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukul Miti.