Absolutely horrifying the ongoing events in Japan. I despair at the tens of thousands of deaths.
The internet connection is better than expected. Not good. Just better. It was originally designed by the US military to withstand the breakdown of communications in the event of a nuclear war. Multiple node redundancy I was taught as a little 'un.
As you're probably aware, the Japanese people have a strong work ethic and are very efficient in much that they do. Given a challenge in adversity, they rise to it. I've often been impressed by their 'can do' attitude - and communication is one of them. Effectively - I've been asked not to describe in detail quite how - (clue, 'multiple node redundancy') - there's a Net overlaying a Net clicking into place.
A downside of their efficiency is an overbearing bureaucracy. You need a permit for everything.
I have a friend who's working in the relief effort. What follows is an extract from a message I received a short while ago.
"Hi Dee mate. We got here on a (...edited....) and it's much worse than I imagined. We are all sharing a ten man tent with four dogs and it's sooooo cold. As you know, the difference between rescue and recovery is 5 days, so we need to get shifting cos we're half way through. Unfortunately, (they) [have] said that we need a permit to get stuck in. We need one like now. But we're been told it might take 5 days before a permit comes through. But we said that if that's the case we might as well go home now. It's been asked we have it in 24.
[paragraph mine] Can you ask those that pray, and even that dont that we get permits asap to keep us in their thoughts Dee?"