0. Introduction
1. Everything became ashes
2. The scene of the crime!
3."We are not heroes, but losers!"
4. N.Y. was chaos
5. Quick Response of FEMA
6. Opening of the Family Assistance Center
7. Establishment of Small Business Support Center -SBSC
8. Conclusion

0. Introduction

8:45a.m. [Japan time: 9:45pm, 12] September 11, American Airlines Flight 11, from Boston bound for San Francisco, with 92 passengers and crew members crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 18min. later, 9:03a.m, United Airlines Flight 175, leaves Boston and headed for Los Angeles, with 65 passengers and crew members collided with the South Tower. Then 40min.later, American Airlines Flight 77 departs Washington and bound for Los Angels carrying 64 passengers and crew members, struck the Pentagon in Washington D.C. This was terror, but it is also a disaster for N.Y city, which has over 6,000 people missing. When I watched T.V, I was wondering why it takes a lot of time to rescue victims, how people search for missing persons,and how N.Y city supports its victims. Those questions brought me to N.Y to investigate for myself. Just after the airports were open in the U.S, I flew to N.Y on Sep. 21. My schedule is below.

  1. Sep. 21: Arrived at the JFK#DFDB79
    Meeting at the JNN
    Examined Ground 0
    Meeting at the NNN N.Y branch
  2. Sep.22: Reported news to Mainichi houso on the phone
    Reported "News 23" on the Wall Street
  3. Sep.23: Reported FEMA with NNN reporters
    Had an interview with Ms.Kathy Freed
    Reported Ground 0
    Visited the Family Assist Center
    The Hospital Ship
  4. Sep.24: Had an interview with Yoshiko Yamazaki, the staff of the Red Cross
    Volunteer Center
  5. Sep.25: Left JFK
    Sep.26: Arrived NRT

1. Everything became ashes

9:50 a.m.: The South Tower sank to the ground. The North Tower collapsed at 10:30 a.m. just after The South Tower did. Both of them had 110 stories, completed in 1973, 1,368 ft. [North Tower] 1,362 ft. [South Tower]. The airplanes that hit the towers broke the facade and cores, so the support columns of the Twin Towers softened from the heat of the fuel and fires until they buckled under the weight of the higher floors. The weight of the collapsing floors caused a chain reaction, leveling the towers. The steel-and-concrete towers couldn't sustain the heat from the fuel fires. The collapsing broke steel and concrete, killing thousands of people, and sending a plume of smoke billowing through the streets. That reminded me of the eruption of the Unzen in 1992. Clouds of smoke from debris still remained after 10days. The smell of acrid smoke was too strong to open my eyes, and hurt my throat. I smelled that dead people were still burning. According to the one of the rescue team, there are still many dead bodies burning underground. It was said that tens of thousands of people worked in the twin towers. 6,453 are missing, 261 bodies found, 6,408 are injured, 415 are carried in the area hospitals. Most of bodies found so far from Ground 0 are firemen,and police officers, who arrived there to rescue people. The rest of the bodies were almost ashes like just teeth or finger nails, so it is very hard to recognize who they are. [ photos 1 to 7 ]

photo 1 The south of Ground Zero photo 2 The south of Ground Zero
photo 3 The North of Ground Zero photo 4 The pile of debris
photo 5 Twisted debris photo 6 Buring debris
photo 7 Collapsed buildings around Ground Zero    


2. The scene of the crime!

The New York Police Department put the checkpoints around Ground Zero. We were kept away about 1 block from the area. There were the signs that said ," Crime Scene Search Area" on the street.[ photo 8 ]
I've thought that the rescue effords were too late, and there were few heavy machine in the Area before I arrived, but now I realized that there were 3 reasons for the delay. One is 1.2 tons of debris were stuck on the narrow streets so it was hard to get any machinery close to the center. The jets fuel fires melted the structural steels and they cohered to one another and stuck to the streets. The other reason is that there might have been secondary tragedies around the WTC due to other buildings around that were also damaged. Parts of the Marriott Hotel also had serious damage.That is why it was too dangerous to rescue around the area.The 3rd reason is that it is a crime scene. FBI and CIA try to preserve the spot just the way it is to investigate. They need evidence of suspects. After all, there were 2 different values in this tragedy, one of which was trying to save and rescue the victims as long as possible. The other value was that preserving any evidence at the crime scene. These different ideas made the rescue teams late in saveing people's lives. It was very hard to choose.[ photo 9 and 10]

photo 8 The sigh photo 9 Ground Zero from the north photo 10 Debris


3." We are not heroes, but losers!"

Each time the fire trucks came from Ground 0, the crowd erupted in cheers. I realized that the firemen became heroes in N.Y. 343 firefighters were lost in the secondary disaster and died after they rushed into the buildings to rescue victims. The N.Y civilians were so impressed by them. One of the firemen who I interviewed said, " There's nothing we can do about this tragedy. We couldn't save many people's lives and also our mates who were involved the second disaster. We haven't rescued them yet, therefore: we are losers rather than heroes. America uses us as toys, which make America start the war. It sounds very uncomfortable for us, so please tell the Japanese people what we are feeling now." This comment is unforgettable to me. Mind therapy is needed not only for N.Y civilians, but also the firefighters. It's necessary to be done soon.
There were a lot of flowers and photos from NY civilians at the entrance of the NY Fire Department. [ photos 11 to 13 ]

photo 11 Offered flowers photo 12 Comand Center in the NY Fire Dep. photo 13 The fire engine


4. N.Y. was chaos

How Mayor Giuliani dealt with this attack faced huge chaos just after the disaster occurred because the bureau was on the 23rd floors in the World Trade Center and it collapsed too. At that time, he was close to the World Trade Center. He was determined to dealing with the emergency, but that emergency bureau is just next to the World Trade Center, therefore; he was wondering where to go when he was thinking. The second airplane crashed into the South Tower while he was running around. He had to get in touch with a lot of city and national departments. He called the White House to report this disaster, but couldn't reach the NY Fire Department, and the President. Finally he reached Pataki NY's Governor, and planned to prepare the state soldiers by the next morning. Since then, NY City and the NY State have been cooperating with each other. The Office of Emergency Management [OEM] has established at a strong concrete garage on the Peer 92 along the Hudson River. The mayor announced the evacuation order and set up 7 shelters at schools and churches. At the same time, NY City specified the block around the World Trade Center as a secured area/no access, and has been controlling all traffic.

5. Quick Response of FEMA

In this chaos, FEMA's quick and accurate corresponding was great. Here is how they have worked. [photo 14]
FEMA and USACE have supported and helped to remove lots of debris from Ground Zero, carry out bodies , and keep evidence. In regards to the communication media, 10 TV stations lost communication antennas on the World Trade Center, therefore; all of the communication systems were stuck, but FEMA asked MERS to carry the satellite communication system to NY from Denver. Thus, MERS and FEMA cooperate with each other. FEMA also judged that about 6,000 houses in the area had construction damage to placing them in the red zone area. FEMA assists half of the rent to houses for people who live in the red zone area. Wall Street has been closed for 4days because computers were damaged by water from the World Trade Center. Although the U.S army kept up with recovery, it took 4days. I've heard FEMA say" Our backup for a securities company in Wall Street is perfect for disasters" before when I visited the head office of FEMA in Washington. My opinion is " Not really.' [ photo 15]
US. Naval Hospital Ship-Comfort-, which has come alongside of the pier92, has accommodated 1,685 people, and served 3,875 food for supporting teams.[photo 16]

photo 14 SR&R Team photo 15 Recovered Wall Street photo 16 US Naval Hospital Ship- Comfort


6. Opening of the Family Assistance Center

Another question when I was in Tokyo was how to investigate so many dead bodies and identify them. Japan had a similar experience when Japan Airline's plane crashed into Ostaka Mountain in 1985, which caused 520 people's death. In the World Trade Center disaster, they need to identify almost 12 times that. NY City and NY Fire Department have set up the Family Assistance Center at the pier94, and started to support missing people's families day and night. The Family Assistance Center keeps away from any medias to keep privacy of victim's families. Japan doesn't get any details of information of the Family Assistance Center, but I could interview Yoshiko Yamazaki who is a volunteer for Japanese families of victims. The Family Assistance Center was established with the manual of FEMA, where it is based on white walls and made the inside a comfortable condition. First of all, victim's family fill out form that consists of 8 pages and asks personal information of the victims. When the victim's family has a hard time to fill it out in English, volunteer interpreters, who are Japanese, French, and so on, are supposed to help them. The application form needs the family name, the address, victim's name, nationality, eye color, hair color, blood type, X ray photos, a medical history, used clothes of victims, and so on. Next, a police officer puts this personal information into the computer while having an interview victim's families one by one. The central computer of the Family Assistance Center has dates of dead bodies from the each hospital so that victim's families can identify missing families. This application is also an identification to apply a compensation payment of insurance. In addition, victim's families can search the newest information from hospitals and police departments on the computer there. They are served plenty of food, healthcare, mental healthcare,and families can touch pets freely to comfort them. Thus, FEMA disaster manual works so much in the World Trade Center disaster, and I'm impressed. [photo 17 and 18]

photo 17 Information of missing people on the hospital's windows photo 18 Families looking at the bulletin of missing people


7. Establishment of Small Business Support Center -SBSC

The U.S Small Business Administration-SMA- set up SBSC[Small Business Support Center] to support employees of the small business firms, which have fewer than 500 employees and under a million US dollars of annual income. SBSC provides the fund without security to those firms for recovery. SBSC helps not only the fund, but also a lawyer's office, a real estate office, and a support of unemployed people. I'm surprised that this small business support works at the early point in the disaster at the same time of supporting victims.[photo 19]

photo 19 SBSC


8. Conclusion

This terrible incident made Japan discuss the preparedness against terrorism. Japan feels that it could have an actual crisis but Japanese security system is still lax. After I came back to Japan, I was ordered to tell my name for identification at the domestic airport in Japan. How do they identify me only hearing my name without any pictures of me? I had to show my passport 5 times at the JFK. The situation is much more strict than it is in Japan. I feel sad. Now it should be the time to discuss about measures for future crisis seriously in Japan. "September 11" is not none of our business. I'm going to indicate my points of the crisis management below.
@ Discuss metropolitan crisis seriously
The Earthquake Research Committee reported that the island of Japan has been into an active term. We have to discuss about it and other crises at the same time.
A What could happen when the crises happen?
The second disaster involving firefighters and police officers happened at the World Trade Center. The lifeline was destroyed, an influx of calling from victim's families happened. Reporting how NY city took measures is the most important to imagine for future crisis. This way should be a shortcut for our disaster measures.
B Who will take an initiative?
Make each role clear. The U.S president issued the declaration of emergency so quickly on September 11. Dealing with the crises management needs quickly. The prime minister doesn't have a right to close the airport as the U.S president did, or other acts under the constitution of Japan right now.

C Who will conduct measures?
In the U.S, the government set the system of crises management in the event of emergency. FEMA collects crises information from all over the U.S, and conducts several operations. Japan needs the US's system too. When the Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred, the Fire Departments, the Self Defense Force, and the Police Department started to work separately. This situation made confusion, therefore; we need a rational system of rescue teams to deal with future disasters.

As I mentioned before, the Earthquake Research Committee reported that the probability of a big earthquake in 40 years in Japan is fairly high. 34 prefectures have a warning. To prepare for it, we have to tackle the problem of changing the present system to a rational system. Each time I learn the way of disaster measures in the U.S, I realize that Japan needs a Japanese style of FEMA, which works 24hours in the event of emergency. [photo 20]

photo 20 The volunteer has the sign saying"Thank you"