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Disaster in Japan (CBS 60 minutes)

Disaster in Japan (CBS 60 minutes)

One of the Americans responding to the emergency is Julia Nesheiwat. She's a State Department official who was already in Japan working on nuclear issues. She served in Washington as deputy chief of staff to the director of national intelligence. In Tokyo, she's been on the Fukushima disaster from the start.

"We're providing the full resources of the United States government, everything we've got?" Pelley asked.

"Yes. Absolutely," Nesheiwat said.

"Our best people are on this?" Pelley asked.

"Yes they are," she said. "Working non-stop around the clock in each of the operations centers."

Nesheiwat told Pelley the U.S. is working side by side with the Japanese, but that this was not the case in the beginning.

An American team of top experts arrived shortly after the disaster but they were largely stuck at the U.S. Embassy. The Japanese didn't think they needed the help. But by last Tuesday the emergency was out of control and the U.S. gave the Japanese an ominous private warning.

Special report: Disaster in Japan
"That if we don't expand the efforts, we'll require heroic work that could be quite devastating for the workers," Nesheiwat explained.

Asked what the U.S. meant by that, she told Pelley, "That means they could very well lose their lives."

"An official with the U.S. government told the Japanese that your people are going to have to die to save that plant, unless you let us help you?" Pelley asked.

"Yes," Nesheiwat replied.

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