Indiana's Japanese community unable to contact families

Workers at this Japanese market on the Indianapolis north side were very worried about family members Friday.
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Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Indiana has close connections with Japan, and many in Indianapolis' Japanese community still haven't been able to communicate with family and friends there following Friday's devastating earthquake.

The Japan-America Society is putting together a fundraiser to help victims of the disaster.

Lunch hour at Castleton's Japanese Market kept employees on the go, but even then, their thoughts kept drifting to events half a world away.

Midori Davis says her family lives several hundred miles south of the epicenter, but still close enough to cause panic.

"I just want some clue it's okay. I want to talk to them," said Davis.

We were with Davis and Sanae Sugasawa before the market opened as they tried repeatedly to call family members. All they got was a busy signal. Phone lines are jammed throughout Japan.

Both women say they experienced many earthquakes while living in Japan, but nothing anywhere near the magnitude of this one.

"We are kind of used to it, but this time no, especially with the tsunami," said Davis.

They put the phone aside later Friday morning, but not their thoughts and concerns. At the height of the lunch hour, Davis and Sugasawa had yet to reach their families. But seeing the devastation, they knew that many people were hurting without water, power or homes.

"Nobody wants to live in a makeshift place. At once you can lose your house all in a moment. I can't imagine. I just can't accept it happening in my country," said Davis.

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Indiana has many connections to this northern region of Japan. Many companies with factories or offices here in Indiana also have facilities in the region that has been affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and a number of those companies have temporarily closed factories. Additionally, Indiana's sister state, Tochigi Prefecture, has suffered damage, as has Kuji City in Iwate Prefecture, sister city of the City of Franklin. Greenfield's sister city is Kakuda, also located in northern Honshu where the damage was more severe.