To Our Readers, Jan. 30, 1995

A disaster on the scale of the Japan earthquake is a human tragedy, but for journalists it also becomes a mundane problem of logistics. When the first reports came in from Kobe last Tuesday, Tokyo bureau chief Edward Desmond dispatched reporter Irene Kunii to the scene. As the death toll rose by dozens an hour, Desmond packed extra sweaters and computer batteries and headed south himself, with photographer Greg Davis and interpreter Yoshihiko Asai. They could fly only as close as Osaka, where roads were clogged with relief-effort vehicles and people hoping to rescue family members.

From there it was...

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