Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Information Portal

Lady Gaga says, "We're doing more harm to Japan by staying away than by going."

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Chinese tourism to Japan rebounds after quake despite nuclear worries

News from Xinhuanet.com, June 27, 2011

Japan will shorten its group visa approval process for Chinese travelers effective from July 1 in order to stimulate slumping tourism in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis that hit the country in March this year.

Read more.

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Fall in post quake outbound departures reaches bottom

News release from Japan Travel Bureau Foundation, April 26, 2011

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UN agencies: current situation poses no risk to travel to and from Japan

Current situation for travel and transport to and from Japan

Update April 18, 2011


The United Nations organizations (WHO, IAEA, UNWTO, WMO, IMO, ICAO, ILO) closely monitoring the effects of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant remain confident that radiation levels do not present health or transportation safety hazards to passengers and crew.

 

On 18 March, based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)*, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry assessed the safety significance rating of the accident at the plant as Level 5. On 12 April, this assessment was revised to Level 7 following information obtained from estimations of the amount of radioactive material discharged to the atmosphere.

 

Radiation monitoring around airports and seaports in Japan continues to confirm that levels remain well within safe limits from a health perspective. In addition, monitoring of passengers, crew and cargo from Japan carried out to date in other countries, in accordance with their national policy, does not suggest any health or safety risk. Therefore, screening of radiation for health and safety purposes is currently considered unnecessary at airports and seaports around the world.

 

For updates, travelers visiting Japan by air are advised to consult a dedicated website established by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau: http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/flyjapan_en/.

 

Further information covering all aspects of the response of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, as well as information regarding the radiation dose in Tokyo Bay and at sea in the region can be found on the following websites:

 

http://www.mlit.go.jp/page/kanbo01_hy_001411.html

http://www.mlit.go.jp/kowan/kowan_fr1_000041.html

http://www.mlit.go.jp/en/maritime/maritime_fr1_000007.html

The UN agencies involved in the monitoring process are the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Tourism Organization and the International Labour Organization.

*Information concerning travel and transport to and from Japan by air or sea is not dependent on the INES rating.

 

Further information concerning health aspects is available on the website of the World Health Organization: www.who.int

ICAO Newsroom: http://www2.icao.int/en/newsroom/default.aspx

 

UNWTO Contacts:

 

Principal Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

mrisi@UNWTO.org

 

UNWTO Communications Programme

Tel: +34 91-567-8100

Fax: +34 91-567-8218

comm@UNWTO.org

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Tsunami-Hit Sendai Airport Opens as U.S. Helps Clear Trees, 5,000 Vehicles

Source: Bloomberg Author: Dave McCombs, Kiyotaka Matsuda April13, 2011

 

Sendai Airport, engulfed by Japan's March 11 tsunami, resumed commercial flights today after Self- Defense Forces and the U.S. military helped clear uprooted trees, houses and about 5,000 vehicles thrown about by rushing water.

"Nothing compares to the scale and absolute destruction of what went on up there," U.S. Air Force Colonel Robert Toth, 45, said by phone yesterday from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

Toth, whose unit specializes in restoring aviation facilities in war zones and disaster areas, was on the first U.S. military plane to land in the area after the natural disaster.

The start of commercial flights at the airport, the largest on the tsunami-hit Tohoku coast, may bolster reconstruction efforts following the magnitude-9 earthquake that left about 27,500 people dead or missing and crippled a nuclear-power plant. All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. will fly to the airport three times a day each.

 

"I didn't think we would be able to restart operations so soon," Shinichiro Ito, All Nippon's chief executive officer, said at today's reopening ceremony. "The airport was a mountain of debris."

 

Trapped Inside

 

When the tsunami struck, about 1,300 people, including 600 workers, were inside the facility, said Hiroyuki Inai, 44, an engineer from Kobe, Japan, who was among the people trapped when the water crashed in.

 

"The cars in the airport parking lot looked like toys or a movie," he said.

 

Inai spent the next two days in the airport, sleeping under packing materials on a sofa to keep warm as aftershocks rattled the building. He eventually left after a civilian rescue operation arrived with a bus to ferry passengers to the railroad station.

 

Full restoration of the facility will take at least a year after today's partial reopening, Sendai Airport President Katsuhiko Ito said today.

 

Parts of the terminal building, hangars and other facilities were still caked in mud as crews continued removing vehicles and debris.

 

The U.S. Air Force began helping Japan's Self-Defense Forces with the cleanup five days after the quake struck, Toth said. Members of the U.S. Navy, Army and Marines also were involved, he said.

 

Help Arrives

 

Toth and a team of about a dozen airmen flew to a Self- Defense Force airfield about a 90-minute drive from Sendai. A convoy of Humvees then ferried them to the devastated airport.

 

Within hours of their arrival, Japanese and U.S. personnel had cleared a 5,000-foot (1,500-meter) strip of asphalt, Toth said. That allowed a Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) C-130 military freighter, fitted with avionics designed for landing without ground control in war zones, to touch down the same day, bringing in fuel and further equipment.

 

Japanese personnel and workers used forklifts and cranes to load smashed cars and other heavy debris onto trucks. They then used street-sweepers, earth-moving vehicles and construction equipment to clean smaller pieces and mud off the tarmac, Toth said.

 

"The reopening at Sendai is way ahead of what anybody would have thought when we started," he said. "Most of the praise goes out to the Japanese workers."

 

"Wonderful Feeling"

 

More C-130 flights followed as work on clearing the rest of the runway continued. That was completed by March 21, allowing larger Boeing Co. C-17 planes to bring in power shovels and vehicles to help clear debris, as well as food, water and fuel for distribution to evacuation centers, Toth said.

 

"Cleanup operations went into high gear on the 21st," Toth said. "That's also when we brought in bathrooms, showers, sleeping quarters and large vehicles."

 

The Air Force handled more than 250 aircraft at the airport, including ones flown by the Marines, Army, Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. The aircraft delivered more than 2.31 million pounds of food, water and aid, and more than 15,000 gallons of fuel, Toth said.

 

Once larger planes began landing, work moved on to restoring the airport's air-traffic control functions and replacing lights, sensors and other gear smashed by the tsunami. By March 22, the perimeter fence was being rebuilt and Self- Defense Forces were restoring communications with the tower, said Toth, who recently flew to the airfield.

 

"Hearing the Japanese controller back on the radio from the control tower as we were coming in to land was a wonderful feeling," he said.

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UN Confirms Safety Of Japan Operations
No Recommendation for Passenger Screening

Update April 1, 2011

 

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed confirmation from six United Nations (UN) agencies monitoring Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that there is no health or transportation safety hazard. The UN statement also confirmed that screening for radiation of passengers arriving from Japan is currently considered unnecessary at airports or seaports around the world.

 

The joint statement was prepared by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Tourism Organization.

According to the UN statement, continuous monitoring around Japan’s airports confirms that radiation levels are well within safe limits from a health perspective.  For updates, travelers visiting Japan by air are advised to consult a dedicated website established by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau: www.mlit.go.jp/koku/flyjapan_en/.

 

“Safety is always the top priority. The transparent and continuous monitoring of the situation has allowed Japanese and international authorities to confirm that Japan’s airports remain open and safe for travelers and transport workers. It is important that governments and industry respond to the challenges of this crisis with best practices supported by expert advice. We are reassured that the UN is not recommending screening measures for passengers coming from Japan,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.


For more information, please contact:
IATA Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

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Latest update from PATA Japan Chapter member, Hiroshi Kurosu, senior researcher, JTB Foundation

Update March 24, 2011

 

According to informal news sources in JATA, sales for domestic travel have been the worst hit in Tokyo so far, as travel agencies are not able to issue group tickets for long distance trains due to disruption of timetables caused by the blackouts. Some reports state that the sales in Osaka are almost normal.

 

Something to keep a close watch on are departures during the spring holiday season from the end of April to early May, known as the 'Golden Week' in Japanese, as the figures in March and April may decline quite sharply anyway.

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Latest update from PATA Japan Chapter member, Fumihiro Sakakibara:

Update March 22, 2011

 

The following is the information collected. These information are from newspapers, TV broadcasting and internet.

Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has started to report radiation levels around Narita and Haneda Airports on their website in response to cancellation of flights to these airports by international airlines such as Lufthansa due to nuclear reactor issues in Fukushima. According to the data on their website, radiation levels around these two airports on March 20 were far below 100m Sievert per year, which is supposed to be no impact on human beings.


Continuous cancellation for travel to Japan

 

  • USA advised their citizens to refrain from traveling to Japan right after the earthquake happened on March 11, and again on 13th when the nuclear plant accident got revealed requested not to travel to Japan.  On 16th US government released an issue to postpone Japan travel.  France issued travel warning on 13th.  Korea set the area within radius 30km of the Fukushima No.1 power plant as travel restricted area.  China requested their citizens to refrain from traveling to Japan.
  • According to a travel agency in Japan that handles inbound travel for international tourists, March and April are usually a popular travel season for international tourists, but they have already had cancellation of a few thousand from mainly China and other Asian countries for tours in March and April.
  • Another travel agency had handle mainly European and Australian tours said that almost all tours of 300 to 400 tourists for April and May have been cancelled.  They say that international tourists have higher safety concern for the nuclear issues.
  • Cancellation continues at hotels and tourist facilities in Kyushu and Okinawa from Asian tourists as well as domestic Japanese tourists. Municipal bureaus and travel trade have anxiety that the cancellation will increase as time goes by.
  • Legend of the seas (1,300 passengers), a large cruise ship, cancelled to dock into Hakata port in Fukuoka city from Shanghai in the early morning on March 16.  It is to avoid explosion of Fukushima nuclear power plants and the ship was requested to do so by China National Tourism Office.
  • Aso Farmland in Minami Aso village in Kumamoto prefecture, Kyushu had experience of 200pax-cancellation mainly from Korea.
  • Hoteliers in Shirahama, Wakayama says that 10% of their guests were international tourists everyday, but now almost none comes.  
  • International tours from Korea and Taiwan, even bookings in the future, are all cancelled, said a hotel in Nachikatsuura.

 

If the situation is prolonged, the impact on Japanese economy in western Japan would become more serious.  Last year, Japan marked the largest number of international tourist arrivals at 8.61 million.  

Kansai Osaka Airport recorded the largest number at 3.51 million.  At this moment, it is so obvious that they would have a large decrease, and they are trying to make the loss minimum.

 

Other updates

  • Many leisure facilities in Tokyo and greater Tokyo have started to close or to shorten opening hours due to the earthquake. It is to cooperate to conserve power in response to the requests of power saving by the government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).  
  • Consideration for the damaged areas, less frequent train operation, lack of gasoline supply and other situation have led atmosphere for people to restrain from going out in Tokyo and greater Tokyo. The three-day weekend from March 19 was not attract tourists, and the facilities are worried about this situation to be lengthened over the spring travel season.
  • Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea in Urayasu, Chiba have continued to close the parks since the earthquake.  They can open the parks since the facilities were not largely damaged, but it is to meet the power saving request.  Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama, Kanagawa shortened their opening hours to 18:30 from usual 22:30 through the three-day weekend, and decided to stop operating all attractions.
  • FujiQ Highland in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, where main attractions are roller coasters, has applied time-shift operation for the three rides and operated one at a time.

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International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  report for Japan Earthquake

Update (21 March 2011, 15:30 UTC)

 

On Monday, 21 March 2011, Graham Andrew, Special Adviser to the IAEA Director General on Scientific and Technical Affairs, briefed both Member States and the media on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan. His opening remarks, which he delivered at 15:30 UTC at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, are provided below:

1. Current Situation

We are seeing some steady improvements, but the overall situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious. High levels of contamination have been measured in the locality of the plant.

The restoration of electrical power to Unit 2, which we reported yesterday, is good news. AC power is available and an electrical load check to pumps, etc. is currently on-going. Work on the restoration of off-site power to Units 3 and 4 is also underway.

 

Seawater is still being injected into the reactor pressure vessels of Units 1, 2 and 3. Pressure in the reactor pressure vessel and the containment vessel drywell at Unit 3, which had been rising yesterday, has again fallen.

Water is being sprayed periodically into the spent fuel pools at Units 2, 3 and 4. The Agency still lacks data on water levels and temperatures in the spent fuel pools at Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Following the restoration of cooling at Units 5 and 6, temperatures in the spent fuel pools continue to decline.

 

2. Radiation Monitoring

As of yesterday, the IAEA radiation monitoring team took measurements at distances from 56 to 200 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At two locations in Fukushima Prefecture gamma dose rate and beta-gamma contamination measurements have been repeated. These measurements showed high beta-gamma contamination levels. Measurements by the IAEA and the Japanese authorities were taken at the same time and locations. The Japanese and independent IAEA measurements gave comparable results.

Measurement of gamma dose rate and beta-gamma contamination were taken on 20 March at more locations. The dose-rate results ranged from 2-160 microsieverts per hour, which compares to a typical natural background level of around 0.1 microsieverts per hour. High levels of beta-gamma contamination have been measured between 16-58 km from the plant. Available results show contamination ranging from 0.2-0.9 MBq per square metre.

Further measurements are needed to assess possible contamination beyond the area currently monitored - both closer to the facility and further way. We have no contamination measurements showing that that contamination levels are high at greater distances than 58 km from the plant, but this cannot be excluded.

 

In the coming days, the IAEA monitoring team will continue to take measurements in the Fukushima prefecture.

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NO RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO JAPAN

Update March 18, 2011

 

A recent statement released by the World Health Orgnisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation has shown that international flight and maritime operations are back to normal. Aircrafts and ships are now able to operate in and out of Japan’s major airports and sea ports, with the exception of areas damaged by the tsunami.

 

The United Nations organisations are closely monitoring the situation and will inform the public accordingly should there be any changes. Although unusual levels of radiation have been detected at some airports, it does not present any health risk. Radiation screening of travellers coming from Japan is deemed unnecessary at this time.

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Latest update from PATA Japan Chapter member, Fumihiro Sakakibara:

Japan Earthquake Update (March 18, 2011)

 

The following information are from newspapers, TV broadcasting and internet.

The focus  has shifted to seizing of the nuclear and reactor issues and secure life and living of refugees from the damage from the earthquake and the tidal waves.

 

The worst issue in Tokyo and greater Tokyo area is:

1 Impact of scheduled blackouts on daily life

2 Lack of living supplies

 

Scheduled blackout

Due to the accidents at the nuclear power plants in Fukushima, the electric power supply has become significantly short.  Kanto region where it has concentrated population has been divided into five blocks, and the power supply is regulated and limited by different time zones when demands are very high.  Blackouts in the evening are considered to be most effective and are frequently conducted.

One can say that the transportation systems to connect Tokyo downtown area and suburbs are all normal now except some parts.  Commuter railway lines, however, run less frequently in order to conserve the electric power especially during the evening rush hour.  It has been very inconvenient and stressful for those who work in Tokyo.

 

Transportation system

Currently, the transportation systems that connect Narita Airport and Tokyo downtown area are secured with unstable operation schedules.  JR Narita Express trains and some of the Airport Limousine busses are not yet under operation. Accessibility to Haneda Airport remains the same with no problem.

 

There are no trains operated to travel north from Tokyo including to go to the damaged areas. For those who want to go to the area, the following route will be good:

Travel to Niigata, Yamagawa, Akita and other cities on the west coast of the northern Japan, and then travel cross to the east coast to Sendai, Morioka, Fukushima and other cities in the area.

 

Mobile phone networks

Cellular phone networks are working almost alright, but calls in the damaged areas still have some troubles from time to time.

 

Airlines

 

Airlines are operating flights as scheduled with some changes. Some of airlines have started to adjust their international flight operations.

Delta Airline has temporarily suspended their Haneda operation, which was started just the other day, with a reason of more effective operation under such disaster situation.

Direct flights especially for long haul destinations have been changed to fly via nearby international airport to/from Narita (Scandinavia Air/Beijing, Lufthansa/Incheon, Air France/Incheon, Austrian Airline/Incheon, British Airways/Hong Kong, Swiss International/Hong Kong, etc.).

Also, international carriers such as Lufthansa, Etihad, Alitalia have changed their ports in Japan from Narita to Nagoya and Kansai Osaka.  

Cathay Pacific has changed their schedules for Tokyo flights so that their crew would not stay in Tokyo.  Korean Air operated two additional flights between Narita and Incheon to meet the demand of Koreans in Japan to go back home.  China Airline has suspended a couple of Narita departing flights and other flights.

 

Radiation tests

Some countries started radiation test for passengers and cargo from Japan.  Airlines release noticed to travel agencies that passenger recognized as a victim of the accidents when they are checking in are applied priority handling.  Also, there was a case reported that a cargo flight was sent back to Japan because of the radiation test result.

 

A number of countries/regions have issued travel warning to their citizens to avoid traveling to Japan.  Warning levels differ from not to travel to Japan to be on alert by country/region.  USA, Canada, UK, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and some others issued the warning.

 

Companies in Japan stops business trips both domestic and international. International business people of foreign/global companies and expatriates are rushing to depart from Japan.  A lot of international flights are fully booked.  There are cases that not to leave the country but to move further away from the nuclear site to Osaka and Fukuoka, and hotels in these two cities are reported full.

 

 

 Government offices

Government tourism offices of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Italy and France have closed their offices in Tokyo for the time being.  Main reasion is to secure and maintain safety of their staff.

 

Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) reported that the number of Japanese tourists in the damaged area was counted 5,500 (only those who they could confirm) as of March 15, and except 900 the rest were found safely.  Tours with escorts were all checked.  Most of the unknown tourists are participants of free-plan/no-agenda tours.

 

Other updates

Aftershocks still frequently continue in Japan.  Epicenters are now spread widely.  We feel the sizes of aftershocks are becoming slightly smaller.

 

Weather in the damaged areas is forecasted to turn better with higher temperature.

 

The nuclear power plant and reactor issues are such national anxiety. Yet, people in Japan have avoided panicking and have acted calmly in moral manner based on government’s report and announcement.

It is reported that Japanese government has putting their best efforts with international aids and assistance to balance the situation.  Though the danger level as a nuclear accidents is reported high and serious, things are properly taken care of at the present situation.

 

The lack of living necessities has become worse and worse, especially in the damaged areas.  Gasoline supply has become very short, and that has caused serious difficulties to save human lives, recovery activities and secure minimal living.

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Update from JNTO as reported by eTurboNews on March 18, 2011

Tohoku Region: Tohoku is the hardest hit; with no recovery of public transportation systems and continuous aftershocks, it is extremely difficult to travel to this region. Due to the nuclear power plant accident after the earthquake, it is strongly advised to refrain from traveling to Fukushima as well as to follow the updates.

 

Tokyo and surrounding areas: Despite the brief recovery of public transportation networks, periodical blackouts have been imposed for power conservation, causing train delays and cancellations. Some hotels and other businesses have shortened their business hours. This region may also experience some aftershocks.

 

Other regions: Hokkaido, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu are unharmed, and tourism facilities and transportation service are operating as usual.

 

For visitors currently travelling in Japan, the Tokyo headquarters of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides around-the-clock information service at the Tourist Information Center (TIC):

              TIC in Tokyo

              Phone: +81-(0)3-3201-3331

              Service in English, Chinese and Korean

              The 24-hour service is available for the duration of current crisis

 

Please note that due to the intensive recovery effort, travel information is updated frequently. Please refer to multiple sources for latest information.

 

Japan National Tourism Organization Tokyo Headquarters

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Japan Earthquake Update: Travel Advisory Issued

Source: http://www.petergreenberg.com

 

The U.S. State Department urged Americans on Sunday to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan after a powerful 8.9 earthquake three days ago, citing a high likelihood of strong aftershocks.

Meanwhile, the country’s transportation infrastructure is still crippled, but operational.

Flights have resumed with some delays at the nation's two international airports in Narita and Haneda. Only the flooded regional airport in Sendai remains closed, the State Department said. 

In the Tokyo area, mass transportation has become operational, but has been dramatically scaled back. Rolling blackouts have forced trains and subways to cut services, impacting commuters.

The Japanese government has asked the public not travel unless necessary, a measure aimed at conserving electricity. Electricity remains scarce as a result of damaged power plants, including nuclear reactors that are threatening to unleash radioactive fallout into the atmosphere.

Read more: http://www.petergreenberg.com/b/Japan-Earthquake-Update:-Travel-Advisory-Issued/-242660316045177087.html

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Japan situation update

March 17, 2011

UNWTO participated in the video/teleconference convened by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today, below is a short summary of relevant points for the travel and tourism sector:

 

·         A fact finding mission to Japan is currently underway, led by the Director General of IAEA, to assist Japan in the areas of environmental monitoring and the effects of radiation on human health.

·         A set of Questions and Answers (Q&A) is currently under preparation by IAEA, WHO (we disseminated yesterday WHO’s Q and A) and ICAO to provide consistent advice in layman language.

·         As a result of the meeting a smaller Task Force was created, led by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which will be to develop guidance on screening procedures for point of entry, including airports and ports, for passengers, cargos, etc. with regard to radiation exposure.
The task force is meeting this afternoon.

 

Participants to the above-mentioned teleconference included besides IAEA, the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD), and the European Commission (EC).

 

Relevant links:

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Latest update from PATA Japan Chapter member, Fumihiro Sakakibara:

Japan Earthquake Update (17 March 2011, 17:55 UTC)

 

Japanese authorities have informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that engineers were able to lay an external grid power line cable to Unit 2. The operation was completed at 08:30 UTC.

 

They plan to reconnect power to Unit 2 once the spraying of water on the Unit 3 reactor building is completed.

 

The spraying of water on the Unit 3 reactor building was temporarily stopped at 11:09 UTC (20:09 local time) of 17 March.

 

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.

 

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Emergency (17 March 2011, 14:00 UTC)

At the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Graham Andrew, Special Adviser to the IAEA Director General on Scientific and Technical Affairs, briefed both Member States and the media on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan.

 

Current Situation

 

The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants remains very serious, but there has been no significant worsening since yesterday.

 

The current situation at Units 1, 2 and 3, whose cores have suffered damage, appears to be relatively stable. Sea water is being injected into all three units using fire extinguishing hoses. Containment pressures are fluctuating.

 

Military helicopters carried out four water drops over Unit 3.

 

Unit 4 remains a major safety concern. No information is available on the level of water in the spent fuel pool. No water temperature indication from the Unit 4 spent fuel pool has been received since 14 March, when the temperature was 84 °C. No roof is in place.

 

The water levels in the reactor pressure vessels of Units 5 and 6 have been declining.

 

Radiation Monitoring

 

We are now receiving dose rate information from 47 Japanese cities regularly. This is a positive development. In Tokyo, there has been no significant change in radiation levels since yesterday. They remain well below levels which are dangerous to human health.

 

As far as on-site radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants are concerned, we have received no new information since the last report.

 

In some locations at around 30 km from the Fukushima plant, the dose rates rose significantly in the last 24 hours (in one location from 80 to 170 microsievert per hour and in another from 26 to 95 microsievert per hour). But this was not the case at all locations at this distance from the plants.

 

Dose rates to the north-west of the nuclear power plants, were observed in the range 3 to 170 microsievert per hour, with the higher levels observed around 30 km from the plant.

 

Dose rates in other directions are in the 1 to 5 microsievert per hour range.

 

Agency Activities

 

The Director General, who is now on his way to Japan, had another conversation with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The UN Secretary-General pledged all possible support for the Agency's efforts.

 

The Director General also met the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Toth, to discuss the possibility of the Agency gaining access to data collected by CTBTO radionuclide monitoring stations.

 

A written request has been made to CTBTO. We believe the additional data and information could assist the Agency in our assessment of the evolving situation in Japan.

 

A specialist from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) joined our team in the Incident and Emergency Centre earlier this week, providing expert advice on the possible trajectories of winds from the area of the power plants.

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Aviation body issues radiation warning

Update March 16, 2011

 

London’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), has issued a warning over possible radioactive hazard from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The warning from VAAC, issued at 2pm AEDT last Wednesday (April 16), applies to 10 regions including airspace zones in Japan, Russia, China, the United States, South Korea.

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Japan Nuclear Update - British Embassy by Paul Atkinson

(Update March 15, 2011, 6:55 pm)

 

The chief spokesperson, in a conference call with Paul Atkinson from the British Embassy in Japan,  was Sir. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, whose assessment  of the current situation in Japan is as follows:

 

* In case of a 'reasonable worst case scenario' (defined as total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an exclusion zone of 30 km would be the maximum required to avoid affecting peoples' health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.

 

* The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to  the above scenario.

 

* The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children - for normal adults the levels would need  to be much higher still).

 

 * The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected.

 

 * If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much improved in time, as the reactors' cores cool down.

 

* Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.

 

 * This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 km would have been adequate to protect human  health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis.

 

* The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons - structural damage or possible new quakes - but the radiation fear is not supported by scientific measures, even for children.

 

* Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy.

 

The discussion was surprisingly frank and to the point. The conclusion of the experts is that the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the subsequent aftershocks, was much more of an issue than the fear of radiation sickness from the nuclear plants.

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The following travel advisories have been issued:

March 15, 2011

 

UNITED STATES - The US State Department urged US citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time and also requests all non-essential official US government personnel defer travel to Japan.

BRITAIN - Britain's Foreign Office advised against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and the northeast of Japan.

FRANCE - France recommended its citizens leave the Tokyo region, citing the risk of further earthquakes and uncertainty over damaged nuclear plants.

GERMANY - Germany's foreign minister advised Germans to consider if their travel to the Yokohama/Tokyo region was really necessary.

CANADA - Canada warned its citizens to avoid all travel within 20-kilometres of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, and to avoid non-essential travel to areas of northern Japan that were near the quake and hit by the subsequent tsunamis.

KOREA (ROK) - The South Korean foreign ministry has issued a travel advisory for Japan. It advised against travel to the Fukushima area and other areas north of Tokyo.

CROATIA - Croatia recommended that citizens postpone any journeys to Japan. It advised Croatian citizens currently in Japan not to travel to the areas affected by the disaster and to remain in contact with the embassy in Tokyo for further notice.

SLOVAKIA - Slovakia has recommended not to travel to affected regions in Japan and delay planned trips to other regions, including Tokyo.

SLOVENIA - Slovenia has warned its nationals not to travel to Japan unless necessary.

(original source: Reuters)

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JAL Group Operates Extra Flights to Tohoku Region on March 15, 16

Updated (in Japanese): March 15, 2pm Japan Standard Time

 

The JAL Group will suspend all flight operations at Sendai Airport from March 16 to 26, 2011 following the airport closure after the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake.

JAL will however be operating 32 extra flights on March 16, including to Hanamaki Airport which became operational again to accept additional flights to the area. Scheduled flights to the Tohoku region will be operated with larger aircraft during this period.

In addition to the 30 extra flights planned for March 15, as announced yesterday, JAL will operate 2 additional flights between Tokyo (Haneda) and Yamagata today.

 

Suspended flights to and from Sendai Airport

Suspension period

Route

Daily flights

Flight numbers

March 16 to 26, 2011

Osaka (Itami) = Sendai

6 round-trip
(12 flights)

Itami to Sendai JL2201/2203/2205/2209/2213/2215
Sendai to Itami JL2200/2204/2206/2208/2210/2216

Sapporo (New Chitose) = Sendai

4round-trip
(8 flights)

Sapporo to Sendai JL2900/2904/2908/2910
Sendai to Sapporo JL2901/2903/2905/2909

Fukuoka = Sendai

2round-trips
(4 flights)

Fukuoka to Sendai JL3530/3534
Sendai to Fukuoka JL3535/3537

 

Additional Extra Flights on March 15 (on top of the 30 extra flights announced yesterday)

Departing

Arriving

Flight

Dep. Time

Arr. Time

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JAL4561

18:30

19:30

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JAL4560

20:05

21:15

 

JAL Group Extra Flights on March 16

Departing

Arriving

Flight

Dep. Time

Arr. Time

Sapporo (New Chitose)

Hanamaki

JL4931

16:20

17:20

Hanamaki

Sapporo (New Chitose)

JL4932

19:00

19:55

Osaka (Itami)

Hanamaki

JL4933

17:10

18:35

Hanamaki

Osaka (Itami)

JL4934

17:50

19:30

Sapporo (New Chitose)

Aomori

JL4953

08:25

09:15

Sapporo (New Chitose)

Aomori

JL4941

12:55

13:45

Sapporo (New Chitose)

Aomori

JL4939

17:00

17:50

Aomori

Sapporo (New Chitose)

JL4952

09:45

10:30

Aomori

Sapporo (New Chitose)

JL4994

11:35

12:20

Aomori

Sapporo (New Chitose)

JL4942

14:15

15:00

Osaka (Itami)

Aomori

JL4993

09:30

11:05

Osaka (Itami)

Aomori

JL4945

11:05

12:40

Aomori

Osaka (Itami)

JL4944

13:10

14:50

Aomori

Osaka (Itami)

JL4938

18:15

19:55

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4956

09:15

10:15

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4990

12:15

13:15

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4996

15:35

16:35

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4959

10:45

11:45

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4991

14:05

15:05

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4995

17:05

18:05

Osaka (Itami)

Yamagata

JL4957

07:30

08:45

Yamagata

Osaka (Itami)

JL4992

19:05

20:25

Osaka (Itami)

Akita

JL4947

13:20

14:40

Akita

Osaka (Itami)

JL4946

15:10

16:40

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4555

09:55

10:55

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4557

12:45

13:45

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4559

15:30

16:30

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4556

11:30

12:30

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4558

14:20

15:20

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4550

17:00

18:00

Tokyo (Haneda)

Hanamaki

JL4747

14:30

15:40

Hanamaki

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4748

16:30

17:40

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JAL Group Plans to Operate Extra Flights and to Use Larger Aircraft for Scheduled Flights to Tohoku Region on March 15

Updated (in Japanese): March 14, 8pm Japan Standard Time

 

Japan Airlines (JAL) has decided to operate 30 extra flights on March 15 and have scheduled the use of larger aircraft on March 14 and 15.

 

JAL Group Extra Flights on March 14 

Departing

Arriving

Flight Number

Dep. Time

Arr. Time

Sapporo (Chitose)

Aomori

JL4953

08:25

09:10

Sapporo (Chitose)

Aomori

JL4941

12:55

13:45

Sapporo (Chitose)

Aomori

JL4939

17:00

17:50

Sapporo (Chitose)

Aomori

JL4955

19:10

19:55

Aomori

Sapporo (Chitose)

JL4952

09:45

10:30

Aomori

Sapporo (Chitose)

JL4994

11:35

12:20

Aomori

Sapporo (Chitose)

JL4942

14:15

15:00

Aomori

Sapporo (Chitose)

JL4954

20:30

21:15

Osaka (Itami)

Aomori

JL4993

09:30

11:05

Osaka (Itami)

Aomori

JL4945

11:05

12:40

Aomori

Osaka (Itami)

JL4944

13:10

14:50

Aomori

Osaka (Itami)

JL4938

18:15

19:55

Sapporo (Chitose)

Akita

JL4937

16:15

17:15

Akita

Sapporo (Chitose)

JL4936

17:45

18:40

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4956

09:15

10:15

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4558

11:30

12:45

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4990

12:15

13:15

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4550

14:15

15:30

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4557

09:50

10:50

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4959

10:45

11:45

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4559

12:30

13:30

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4991

14:05

15:05

Osaka (Itami)

Yamagata

JL4957

07:30

08:45

Yamagata

Osaka (Itami)

JL4992

15:35

16:55

Osaka (Itami)

Akita

JL4947

13:20

14:40

Akita

Osaka (Itami)

JL4946

15:10

16:40

Osaka (Itami)

Yamagata

JL4997

14:40

15:55

Yamagata

Osaka (Itami)

JL4998

19:05

20:25

Yamagata

Tokyo (Haneda)

JL4996

15:35

16:35

Tokyo (Haneda)

Yamagata

JL4995

17:05

18:05

 

Larger aircraft used for scheduled flights on March 14, 15

Routes

Details

Tokyo (Haneda) = Aomori

4 round-trip (8 flights) to use larger aircraft
JL1201/1202AJL1203/1204AJL1205/1206 will be operated with A300-600R aircraft fitted with 290 seats instead of MD90s with a capacity of 150seats.

JL1207/1208 will be operated with A300-600ER aircraft instead of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a capacity of 165 seats.

Tokyo (Haneda) = Akita

2round-trip (4 flights) to use larger aircraft
JL1261/1260AJL1267/1268 will be operated with A300-600ER aircraft instead of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a capacity of 165 seats.

 

Extra flights and fleet changes for scheduled flights on March 16 are also being planned.

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Japan: Radiation rising and heading South

March 15, 2011

The nuclear reactor situation in Japan has deteriorated significantly. Two more explosions occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 15. The first occurred at 6:10am local time at reactor No. 2, which had seen nuclear fuel rods exposed for several hours after dropping water levels due to mishaps in the emergency cooling efforts.

Read more: Japan: Radiation Rising and Heading South | STRATFOR

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JAL Extends Support to Tohoku Pacific Earthquake Relief Efforts

  March 14, 2011

 

Japan Airlines (JAL) extends it deepest condolences to the people affected by the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and the tsunami that followed on March 11, 2011 which caused large scale destruction in many areas.

JAL will support the rescue and recovery process by providing free transport of relief goods and for aid personnel, as well as through a mileage donation drive to raise funds.

 

Mileage Donation Drive
JAL is offering its full support to the Central Community Chest of Japan (CCCJ)*1 and is calling on its JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) members to donate miles to raise funds necessary for relief work.

For every 7,500 miles donated, an amount of 7,500 yen will be contributed through the CCCJ to help the victims of this earthquake and to support the recovery and restoration process.

Mileage donations in minimum units of 7,500 miles will be accepted from 5.10pm today, March 14, 2011. Japan-registered JMB members can make mileage donations via JAL's website http://www.jal.co.jp/en/shien/ (English) while overseas-registered JMB members or members without access to the internet are requested to contact their region's JAL Mileage Bank Center.

 

Transport of Relief Goods
JAL will transport relief goods and supplies at no charge from March 14 to April 15, 2011 on its domestic and international network. Items will be carried as air freight under the conditions specified below:

  • The shipper and consignee must be non-profit public organizations which include the Japanese Red Cross, CCCJ and other public organizations that have contributed largely to the society.
  • Contact information of the shipper and consignee must be provided in detail.
  • The domestic airports to which cargo can be transported will initially be Aomori, Akita, Misawa, and Niigata and depending on the situation as airports reopen, goods may be transported to Hanamaki.
  • The international airports to which relief supplies can be transported to are Haneda and Narita in Tokyo, Chubu in Nagoyaand Kansai in Osaka.
  • Arrangements for customs clearance and surface transport at the departure point and arrival point must be completed by the shipper in advance.
  • Shipments must not contain dangerous goods, live animals, or other restricted items.
  • Shipment is subject to space availability.

Contact number for queries on domestic cargo: +81-3-57573151
(Opening hours: 9am to 12pm, 1pm to 6pm except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays)

Contact number for queries on international cargo: +81-3-5460-3818
(Opening hours: 9.30am to 12pm, 1pm to 6.30pm except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays)

 

Transport of Relief Aid Personnel
JAL will also provide air transport at no charge for rescue team members at the request of the Japanese government and regional municipals, as well as for persons supporting local relief operations and coordinating volunteer activities who belong to authorized non-profit public organizations, for departures between March 15 and April 15, 2011.

Personnel will be transported to and from Aomori, Akita, Misawa, Yamagata and Niigata while transport to Hanamaki airport may later be possible depending on the situation at the airport.

A dedicated line to facilitate transport arrangements for relief workers has been set-up. Please call 0120-25-8750 (9am to 12pm, 1pm to 5pm except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays).

  • Subject to seat availability.
  • Upon making reservations, organizations are required to provide official verification related to their relief mission.
  • Persons without reservations will not be accepted at the airport.

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Flight disruptions for JAL

Flight operations for Japan Airlines (JAL) have been affected by the Tohoku Pacific earthquake which occurred Friday, March 11, 2011.

 

JAL was forced to cancel flights. On March 11 (Friday), 143 domestic flights were cancelled leaving 25,530 passengers affected, and 15 international flights were cancelled with 2,660 passengers affected. On March 12 (Saturday), 130 domestic flights were cancelled with 21,000 passengers stranded, and 17 international flights were cancelled with 2,440 passengers affected. On March 13, 24 domestic flights were cancelled with 1,560 passengers left stranded, and two international flights were cancelled with 230 passengers affected.

 

On March 12 (Saturday), JAL operated eight extra flights between Osaka (Itami) and Yamagata, Itami and Aomori, Sapporo and Aomori, as well as Tokyo (Haneda) and Aomori. Yesteday, JAL has scheduled extra flights to the Tohoku region from either Tokyo (Haneda) or Osaka (Itami). For the latest updates, please visit https://www.jal.co.jp/cms/other/en/weather_info_dom.html for domestic flights and http://www.jal.co.jp/cms/other/en/weather_info_int.html for international flights.

---

 

Explosion heard at quake-hit reactor

March 12, 2011 (updated at 9:26 UTC)

Source: Daily News (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

 

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is trying to confirm a report that an explosion occurred at a nuclear power station in quake-hit Fukushima Prefecture.

 

The agency said on Saturday that a person at the Fukushima Number One nuclear station reported that an explosion was heard and smoke was seen near one of the reactors at around 4PM.  Read more.

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Red Alert: Explosion Reported at Japanese Nuclear Plant

March 12, 2011

Source: www.stratfor.com

An explosion occurred March 12 at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan, Japanese news agency Jiji reported, citing local police. Reports of an explosion and smoke come after Japanese officials cautioned that a nuclear meltdown was possible. Officials at the plant had reported that part of the reactor core was exposed to air for a brief moment and that they were attempting to raise the water level to continue cooling the reactor. Officials later stated that steam was vented from the power plant to release the pressure built up by evaporating water. If an explosion occurred, it would indicate that the additional water pumped into the reactor has been unable to stave off the meltdown reaction inside the reactor core and that the plant is experiencing a far more serious crisis than initially reported by the Japanese authorities.

---

 

Red Alert: Japan Warns of Possible Nuclear Meltdown

March 12, 2011

Source: www.stratfor.com

Japanese officials are cautioning that a nuclear meltdown may occur at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant near the town of Okuma. According to Japan’s Jiji Press, some of the reactor’s nuclear fuel rods were briefly exposed to the air after the reactor’s water levels dropped through evaporation. A fire engine is currently pumping water into the reactor and the water levels are recovering, according to an operator of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the plant. A TEPCO spokesman said the company believes the reactor is not melting down or cracking and that workers are currently attempting to raise the water level.

 

If a meltdown takes place — essentially the core of the reactor overheating and damaging the fuel rods themselves — it would be the first since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the Three Mile Island incident in 1979.

 

The Fukushima Daiichi power plant was shut down automatically on March 11 due to the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan. The on-site diesel backup generators also shut down about an hour after the event, leaving the reactors without power and thus without the ability to cool down the core. Japanese officials were operating the cooling system via battery power and were flying in batteries by helicopter to keep the temperature regulated.

 

An unchecked rise in temperature could cause the core to essentially turn into a molten mass that could burn through the reactor vessel. This may lead to a release of an unchecked amount of radiation into the containment building that surrounds the reactor. This building could be breached if enough pressure builds, or, in this case, if the containment building was already breached through the earlier effects of the earthquake.

 

At the moment, it would appear that Japanese authorities are still trying to contain the reaction inside the reactor. That indicates that the core has not completely melted and that the reaction has not yet gotten out of hand. However, the situation could quickly become uncontrollable and the added water being pumped into the reactor could rapidly evaporate if the temperatures rise too quickly to be cooled off.

---

 

Red Alert: Nuclear Meltdown at Quake-damaged Japanese Plant

March 12, 2011

Source: www.stratfor.com

A March 12 explosion at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan, appears to have caused a reactor meltdown.

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When the Earth Wobbled

The Economist Mar 11th 2011, 14:32 by K.N.C. and H.T. | TOKYO

http://www.economist.com/blogs/asiaview/2011/03/earthquake_japan_0&fsrc=nwl

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News resources:

CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/ (breaking news live)

NHK official Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-gtv

TBS Japanese live footage: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tbstv

Alijazeera English live footage: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

NHK, Nippon Housou Kyoukai, Japan broadcasting Association, is the public broadcasting center  Information in English available: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/

 

Radio New Zealand International -  a link with status updates from many Pacific destinations -http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php

 

On Twitter

@CNN

@BreakingNews (BBC)

@mpoppel (BNO news)

 

Search:

#tsunami

#earthquake

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Pacific Disaster Center

http://www.pdc.org/PDCNewsWebArticles/2011/eq/japan.htm

 

(US) National Weather Service Pacific Region Headquarters

http://ptwc.weather.gov/