Yuki Tsunoda has expressed “deepest sympathies” to everyone affected by a series of large earthquakes to hit his native Japan on New Year’s Day.
The largest of the earthquakes registered at 7.6 on the Richter scale and had prompted major tsunami warnings from the Japan Meteorological Agency – the first there since the natural disaster occurred in 2011, but were subsequently downgraded.
Local officials in Ishikawa Prefecture confirmed that 30 people are now known to have died as a result of the earthquake, with huge damage having occurred, rescue efforts underway to find survivors and thousands of households having been left without power.
Yuki Tsunoda speaks out as Japan hit by 7.6-magnitude earthquake
The loss of life has been compounded by significant damage as a result of the earthquakes, with pictures emerging of houses having collapsed and Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, acknowledging there is a “battle against time” for rescuers to find further survivors.
AlphaTauri driver Tsunoda has expressed words of support for his home nation, and has acknowledged the “anxiety” that will be present in Japan at the moment.
With the situation still unfolding, he hopes to see as many people as possible stay as safe as they can while recovery efforts take place, while expressing his “deepest sympathies” about what has already happened.
“To everyone in the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture and other areas where there was an earthquake, I am very surprised that it happened so suddenly on New Year’s Day,” Tsunoda wrote in a statement on social media.
“I have seen many news reports and I can only pray that the damage will not get worse and that you will be safe.
“We would like to express our deepest sympathies to all those affected.
“There is a lot of anxiety in the situation, as you never know what might happen at any moment. Please stay safe.
“We sincerely hope for your safety and the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas.”