Posted by: calloftheandes | March 31, 2011

God Has Revealed Himself in the Sadness, Program Host Says of Catastrophes

Kazuo Ozaki

Televised images of Japan’s tsunami devastation and radiation threat after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Friday, March 11, transported Kazuo Ozaki back as he watched in horror from his home in Tucson, Ariz.

“I am experiencing this feeling of desperation like I did when I was a 13-year-old boy and B-29 planes dropped bombs on my home city” said Ozaki, an HCJB Global radio producer who continues to do programming at age 78.

The March 11 triple catastrophe half a world away prompted Ozaki to ask if his son, Yuji, 45, and daughter-in-law were OK in Tokyo. Just hours later they made contact to say they were alright. Yuji, who was on the 26th floor of a skyscraper when the quake hit, made a hasty exit as the building swayed. His wife then battled massive traffic jams to pick him up and take him back home.

Interviewed on Wednesday on Moody Radio’s “Chris Fabry Live!”, Ozaki reminisced of both sorrows and hope decades ago that shaped his character and led him to personal faith in Christ. His childhood on Japan’s Honshu Island was forever changed in 1945 with American planes overhead. (The full interview can be heard at

“When the bombs were dropped, they destroyed two-thirds of my city,” Ozaki told Fabry. He and his little brother, Yoshiaki, fled to a shelter, only to discover the next day their house was destroyed.

“That’s how I started my new life,” Ozaki said, telling of his enlistment in Japan’s defense forces. He worked as a translator in the information section, putting U.S. military newspaper articles into the Japanese language. A U.S. missionary in Sapporo who hosted the Japanese in his home asked Ozaki to interpret for him, and the more Ozaki interpreted the gospel messages, the more he wanted its truth. As he put it, “I became a Christian by preaching to myself!”

“I gave my life to the One who knows everything and created everything, including me,” added Ozaki, whose programs throughout the years have celebrated the Ecuadorian and Japanese cultures alike. “I began a new life trusting Him and following Him.”

In 1964 in Quito, Ecuador, he and his wife, Hisako, began making Japanese-language programs, a year after producing the first programs in Japan. Ozaki has continued the radio work even after Hisako’s death in 2006. Today the programs air from HCJB Global-Australia’s shortwave radio facilities in Kununurra.

Natural disasters put trust in God to the test, as Ozaki concedes with, “I’m still looking for the answers to the disaster.” Then he adds, “I know God is in it. He has revealed Himself in the sadness.” He embraces the notion that God desires to use Japan’s series of catastrophic events to divert people’s attention from empty pursuits such as materialism and humanism.

“The Japanese people after World War II lost not only material things, but their belief system,” he related. “They wanted to find truth; they questioned the purpose of life. They went more to materialism.

Now, 66 years later, the Japanese are proud of their prosperity. Many have lost their moral foundation, but this recent catastrophe has “reawakened their sense of compassion and care for others and is motivated to unite and restore Japan,” Ozaki said. “This is the time to straighten up our own almighty human way of living and turn to follow the genuine Almighty God who created the heavens and earth for His glory.”

His HCJB Global associates at the Yodobashi Church in Tokyo have supplied Ozaki with about 50 names of listeners who correspond regularly with the office staff. “I will utilize the HCJB Global-Japan homepage and a special program this weekend to help listeners find out find out about people’s safety through personal contacts, and to let them know how they can help locally,” Ozaki said.

On his weekly program, “Saturday Talk,” Ozaki and his radio guests seek to present truth in an unthreatening way. He interviews many listeners who share their life stories on his program. “These stories help develop a relationship among all the listeners and brings them back every week to listen,” he said.

On Sunday’s half-hour program, “Bible Talk,” Pastor Mineno of Yodobashi Church—also home to HCJB Global’s Tokyo office—and Ozaki teach principles from the book of Proverbs, giving guidelines for happy living. Mineno has prepared special messages for the Japanese people that will go out the next two Sundays.

On Saturday, March 26, an additional half-hour program will air, providing the whereabouts of listeners in the affected areas along with news about relief activities and personal words of encouragement from the Japanese churches in the U.S.

The programs air on international shortwave radio from Kununurra (15525 MHz, 2230-2300 UTC). They are also available via a satellite network in Japan and online (

After the quake/tsunami hit, numerous listeners have written Ozaki with comments such as, “I never expected … that much damage,” or “It felt like the end of the world.” Others have offered financial support and encouragement to disaster survivors in Japan.

The director of the Japan Short Wave Club, Toshi Ohtake, gathered information with a portable emergency radio after vast areas of Japan lost electricity. He wrote Ozaki that “these battery-operated radios should be distributed in times like these. Radio is the most effective tool of communication when a disaster happens.”

Sign from antenna switching attic at HCJB's former transmitter site at Pifo, Ecuador. Shortwave radio waves travel thousands of miles.

In Ecuador where the Ozakis lived for nearly four decades, some 242,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas last Friday, mostly on the country’s Pacific coast but also in the Galapagos Islands because of the tsunami threat.

President Rafael Correa’s emergency declaration and evacuation order were some of the strongest preventive actions in South America. Schools were closed, and the military was dispatched to guard the property of evacuees. Ecuador also temporarily suspended oil exports and operations at its La Libertad refinery near the ocean, though its main refinery continued to function.

Last Friday the seas progressively grew after a series of initially low swells. Police on the Galapagos reported that the tsunami flooded a low-lying area of Santa Cruz Island more than a quarter of a mile inland without causing serious damage. There was also flooding on a larger island, San Cristóbal.

Correa announced on his Saturday radio address that evacuees had been bused back to their homes that day, assisted by police. Some 13,000 police were deployed for the evacuation.

Radio Station HCJB serves as the matrix station for the weekly radio talks. In addition to programming for listeners, the station updates its webpage and sends short Twitter messages (“tweets”) to inform Internet users of events as they develop.

Sources: HCJB Global, Moody Radio, Associated Press,

Note: A short commercial about Kazuo’s emergency room care in November 2010 is available to view at At the time his son, Michio, was in Ecuador to conduct concerts by Radio Station HCJB. See this post on Call of the Andes.

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