Australian man found alive in Japan's quake zone

09:19, March 15, 2011      

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Monday confirmed an Australian man who disappeared after devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been found safe and well, but the number of Australians affected by the disaster are still unknown.

Concerns have been raised about the 25-year-old Jason Briffa, an English teacher in Sendai, the coastal city ravaged by a 10- meter tsunami on Friday.

DFAT on Monday confirmed that Briffa was located in a village near Sendai.

According to Briffa's employer in Japan, Denis Cusack, Briffa has been helping out in a village there.

Cusack said Briffa is in good spirits and had not phoned home because of problems with the phone lines.

"Obviously the phone lines have been down most of the time since Friday and he was able to get a signal and he called us," he told Australia Associated Press.

"His telephone was running low on battery but he said he was at the Murata high school and he's been helping locals with the clean- up for the past two days."

His mother, Mary Briffa, said she wants him home as soon as possible.

She said the family is relieved to hear the news, "but we are disappointed he didn't ring us himself."

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said his department was working with Japanese authorities to find all missing Australians.

"We will not spare any effort in tracking down the whereabouts of each and every Australian that we haven't been able to identify so far," Rudd told the Nine Network on Monday.

DFAT said it has not received any reports of Australian casualties in Japan.

With more than 3,000 Australians registered with the department as being in the country, DFAT has confirmed the safety of 2,217.

Australia's ambassador to Japan Murray McLean said it was not known how many people had been affected by the disaster.

"We really, honestly, do not know how many Australians were in Japan on the day of the big earthquake. The numbers are fluctuating," Murray McLean told ABC Television.

Australian team of 76 search-and-rescue personnel arrived in Japan on Monday and will head towards an area about 200 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

Source: Xinhua

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