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Japan earthquake and tsunami updates

edited March 2011 in - Japan
I'm going to keep you updated here with the latest news on what's happening in Japan right now, including travel and safety news.

The March 11th earthquake was ultimately measured at 9.0, and had a significant impact on Tokyo and northeast Japan. It is estimated that up to 20,000 people may have died.

Tokyo: there has been major infrastructure damage, and train and subway schedules have been reduced to save power. Service to Narita airport has been suspended. There is a shortage of electricity, food and water. There are continued aftershocks that could reach as high as 7 on the richter scale. Tokyo is at the moment unaffected by the radiation leak in Fukushima, 270km away.

Sendai: There is a shortage of power and water in Sendai, with many parts of the city without either.

Many towns and villages in the region are extremely difficult to get to, and rescue attempts are underway. Most governments have advised against travel to Japan at this time, and several airlines have cancelled flights.

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are offering free calls and texts from the US to Japan until the end of March.

If you would like to donate to relief efforts, you can do so through Google's crisis response site here.

I'll keep this thread updated as news comes in!


  • edited 8:26PM
    Cruises are being cancelled: Oceania, Cunard, and Azamara Club Cruises have each announced that they are cancelling scheduled calls in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami. Japanese ports will be replaced with additional stops in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Flights are being diverted: Major airlines are altering flight schedules in the wake of the Japan disaster, while limited resources and nuclear fallout are concerns. Lufthansa, Air France KLM, and Air China are diverting Tokyo flights to southern Japan and other countries.
  • edited 8:26PM
    For those in South Africa who would like to donate to Japan relief efforts, you can sms JAPAN to 47499 to donate to the Red Cross. Costs R2/sms.
  • edited 8:26PM
    Here's an interesting link - not what it seems, I promise!
  • edited 8:26PM
    Do not sms JAPAN to 47499 as the cellular networks take 62.5% of the money!!!
    Rather contact the Japanese Red Cross or Unicef. Donations & information can be found at You can donate as little or much as you like & ALL of it will go towards a really good cause.
    My blog explains more...
  • edited 8:26PM
    This is very devastating, Haiti was bad enough and thats my country but Japan is worse Dear God ! My prayers go out to everyone in Japan ! Its sad how while we was sleeping people were screaming for their lives in Japan! This really touched me! soooooooo many people died 20,000 is a BIG NUmber ! I'll continue to let my prayers fill the air of Japan and the people.
  • edited March 2011
    The US Government has advised all nationals within an 80km radius of Fukushima to evacuate. The Japanese government is advising evacuation for anyone within 20km, and anyone within 40km to stay indoors.
  • edited 8:26PM
    I was just wondering;

    IR to the present melt down situation in Japan. They use ceramic tiles to protect the space shuttles at re-entry, because such ceramics protect against heat. Why not douse the fuel rods with powdered ceramic material of a similar make-up? Wouldn’t that be more effective than water that just goes up in steam and spreads the contamination? Please pass this thought on to anyone qualified to assist.

    John David Feagin
  • edited 8:26PM
    @JDF While I'm absolutely no nuclear scientist, what I've been told is that the most effective thing to counteract nuclear reactions is boron, which is currently being shipped by the ton from South Korea and now France.

    According to someone who knows more than me: "Boron absorbs neutrons which kills the reaction but it also destroys the reactor preventing it to ever create another reaction again for the same reason. It's a last step that isnt taken lightly but according to other sources all the reactors have been safely shut down."
  • edited 8:26PM
    Hi, do you have any source on flights TO Japan? particularly Haneda airport. I'm considering a flight to Tokyo as a volunteer and am trying to get some details on transportation to and within Tokyo.
  • edited 8:26PM
    @Sam It is not advisable to try to travel to Japan as a volunteer unless you are fluent in Japanese. The word from the area is that resources (water, electricity) are scarce and simply cannot support any additional people. If you do speak Japanese and are set on volunteering, I suggest you contact the Red Cross in your country and attach yourself to an official organisation. They will be able to help you with your travel arrangements.

    Although I don't know where you're coming from, there are flights to Tokyo on several airlines. Travel within Tokyo is very limited as some areas are unnavigable and resources, as I said, are scarce.

    If you would like to help, I would suggest making a donation to the Red Cross and allowing skilled volunteers to use the money in the best way possible. You'll find a link to the donation page in the original post.
  • edited March 2011
    Here's a link to an updated article I wrote about the impact the Japan earthquake is having on travel at the moment.
  • edited 8:26PM
    There's been another earthquake in Japan, the Migayi prefecture. Motorways have been closed and power is out in many parts of the northeast. There have been a few casualties reported, but no major damage so far.
  • edited 8:26PM
    The Fukushima nuclear plant has had its emergency rating raised to Chernobyl level, however the radiation output is still only 1/10th of Chernobyl's. A 20km exclusion zone has been placed around the plant, and members of the Japanese government have speculated that the area my be uninhabitable for decades.
  • edited 8:26PM
    Its better to avoid the journey to japan because of earthquake and nuclear leakage.
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