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Dharamshala: The political and spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on Saturday expressed his sadness over a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

In a letter sent on 12 March to H.E. Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan, Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his shock and sadness on hearing the news of yesterday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama "offered his prayers for those who have lost their lives and offered his sympathy and condolences to their families and others affected by it."

The spiritual leader's reaction came as the Japanese government said it believed more than 1,000 people had been killed by Friday's 8.9-magnitude temblor and tsunami which devastated swathes of Japan.

"We must all be grateful that the Japanese government's disaster preparedness measures prevented the death and destruction from being much worse," the Buddhist leader and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

"Finally, as a Buddhist monk who daily recites the Heart Sutra, His Holiness felt it would be very good if Japanese Buddhists were to recite the Heart Sutra on this occasion. Such recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future. Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organized in Dharamshala for this purpose."

The Epicenter of the earthquake is believed to be around North east Japan of Miyagi prefecture. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake was followed by major tsunami around the east coast of Japan. The earthquake and the tsunami brought a lot of damage to the lives and properties with more than 1000 confirmed dead, and many still missing. The Tsunami virtually swallowed a town; many lost their homes and are sheltered in temporary shelters.

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