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2011 Tsunami in Japan

A massive earthquake of 8.9 triggered a tsunami in the North-Eastern Japan.

The earthquake was reported at 14:46 local time (05:36 GMT) about 250 miles from the capital city of Tokyo. The magnitude of Earth quake was reported to be 8.8 on the Richter scale. This earthquake was the fifth largest in the World since 1900. The size of the quake is surprising many seismologist because such a huge magnitude is unexpected in such a place as the Japan Trench.

Tsunami damage

As per the reports, a wave as high as 10 meters struck the coast of Japan. Reports on TV show a wave across the Onahama city in Fukushima prefecture which swept away houses, buildings, cars and trucks. Damanges were also reported in Kamaishi in the province of Iwai. Residents in the coastal areas have been urged to immediately evacuate to higher ground. Many students at a graduation ceremony in Tokyo were injured when a roof collapsed after the earthquake.

Initial reports say that at least six people were killed and 20 injured at the coast of Miyagi prefecture. TV visuals show flames and black smoke coming out of a building in Odaiba. Bullet trains to the north of Japan were halted after the earth quake hit the country. Airports are closed. Some of the mobile networks were crashed. Tokyo Electric Power Co says that power outage has hit at least 4 million homes in Tokyo. 8500 megawatts of electric generation capacity had been affected.

The Sendai Airport was fully submerged with the terminal building appearing like a lonely island.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear plant at Miyagi Prefecture said that the plant has automatically shutdown itself. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant on the Sea of Japan coast in Niigata Prefecture is continuing to operate. No problems are reported with the Hamaoka nuclear plant on the Pacific coast in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Major Steel Plant catches fire

The Cosmo oil refinery in Chiba prefecture exploded after the earthquake was triggered. Many of the Japanese nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down. All three reactors of Hokuriku Electric Co. at its Onagawa nuclear plant were shut down. JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp halted its operations at its refineries in Sendai, Kashima and Negishi. As many as 40 fires across the country were reported. As many as 10 nuclear units are shutdown. These nuclear units are responsible for supplying power to many parts of the including Tokyo.

Tsunami Crisis management

Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan has convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet to assess the situation. A crisis management team has been set up by the Government. PM says there is no nuclear plant radiation detected.

"The government will put its strength together and work hard in tackling this disaster. We ask the people of Japan to act fast and to help one's family and neighbours. We should all help each other to minimise the damage.... I call on citizens to act calmly. Especially those who are near a beach, please evacuate to higher ground to avoid the tsunami... The Self-Defense Forces are already mobilized in various places.", the Prime Minister said.

Stock market post losses

The Japanese stock markets extended losses after the report of Tsunami. The Yen fell to 83.30 against the US Dollar. It was 82.81 before the earth quake. The Nikkei Stock Average ended down 179.95 points (1.7%), to 10,254.43. This is it's lowest for the index since January 31. Government bonds rose and the yen earlier fell to a two-week low.

Meanwhile, the situation in the US Stock Markets is no different from the rest of the world. The US markets fell a little showing reaction to the Japanese quake and China data.

Radiation Leak

A radiation leak at a Japanese nuclear plant has been confirmed. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited a nuclear plant and confirmed that "small amounts" of radiation has been released from one of its reactors. Upon his return after an aerial survey, the Prime Minister held a press conference and said that the rescue efforts are in full swing. 50,000 rescue personnel deployed to the hardest-hit regions.

Tokyo declared a state of emergency for five of the nuclear reactors in the country. The five nuclear reactors belong to two atomic power plants. US Secretary of the state Hillary Clinton announced that US has transported coolant to a Japanese nuclear power plant which was affected by the earthquake yesterday. US President Barack Obama asked about the status of the nuclear power plants in his telephonic conversation with Japanese Prime Minister.

Latest 2011 Tsunami in Japan Updates

Update at March 16, 2011 - 00:00 am PST

Another earthquake with a magnitude of 6 on the Richter scale has rocked the Kanto region in Japan. The earth quake occurred at 12:52 pm local time. As per the latest reports, more than 3,600 people have been confirmed to be dead since the earth quake last week.

Update at March 15, 2011 - 09:21 pm PST

  • US experts head to Japan to help them control the nuclear disaster.
  • Fire at the number four reactor of Fukushima No. 1 atomic power plant.

Update at March 14, 2011 - 11:50 pm PST

  • Japanese Prime Minister sends a text message to all mobile phone users in the country to conserve power.
  • Japan is taking the help of US military personnel in fighting the fire in Reactor 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
  • Japanese farm ministry assures its citizens of adequate food at the time of crisis.
  • The no-fly zone has been set for 30 kms radius over the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Update at March 14, 2011 - 09:20 pm PST

Japanese police confirm 2,400 deaths in the recent earthquake and tsunami. Radiation leaks in the nuclear plants are nine times the normal, says reports. Japanese Prime Minister says radiation levels were no longer under control. Reports say radiation could reach Tokyo in 10 hours.

Update at March 13, 2011 - 08:53 pm PST

Reports say that the North East coastal Japan may be hit by another Tsunami Monday. The officials have begun evacuating the people to higher grounds. An explosion rocked the Fukushima Dalichi nuclear power plant and was felt 30 miles away.

Update at March 12, 2011 - 02:02 am PST

Meteorological Agency of Japan says a slim chance of 10m or higher tsunami is possible. After shocks with a magnitude of 5.4 continue in Japan. Reports say that Japan has shifted 8 feet after the tsunami and earthquake.

Update at March 12, 2011 - 01:00 am PST

Reports say that an explosion occurred in a Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. There was shaking when the incident occurred and the walls and roof of the power plant were destroyed. The cause for the explosion is under investigation. Several workers in the power plant may have been injured because of the explosion.

The death toll due to the earth quake has reached 1300.

Update at 11:47 pm PST

Japanese nuclear authorities are successful in opening the valves of the No.1 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi plant. This successfully relieved the pressure at the reactor.

Update at 10:14 pm PST

Seven foot waves hit the Hawaiian islands. No major damage was reported in either Hawaii islands or the west coast. The Japanese police say that 215,000 people have fled their homes after the tsunami hit Japan. Scientists say that the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan yesterday was 8,000 times stronger than the quake that hit New Zealand last month. An official of the Japan's nuclear safety commission says that a possible meltdown in Japan's nuclear power plant is possible.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visits a nuclear plant in Japan and confirms that small amounts of radiation has been released from one of the reactors.

Update at 07:32 pm PST

Recent reports say that more than 1000 people are feared dead. Evacuation of 10,000 residents living near nuclear plants is in progress. A national agency report says that 627 people were injured while 531 are missing.

The US's pentagon has positioned six naval ships for tsunami relief. US Defense secretary Robert Gates said that they are ready to help Japan in any way they are asked. 68 search and rescue teams from 45 countries were on stand by and are ready to be deployed on Japan's request, says United Nations. Switzerland offered rescue teams, while poland offered firefighters.

Update at 03:38 am PST

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley notified US President Barack Obama of the incident at 4 a.m. Obama immediately reacted and assured help to Japan for its recovery from the earthquake and tsunami. In his statement, he said, "We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."

The Tsunamic coupled with the grim situation in Arab has panicked the European Stock Markets which are the first large markets before the US Markets open.

Japanese PM Kan asked the Self-Defense Forces to go into action. The Japanese central bank said it will take steps to ensure financial stability. Ministry of Finance said it is too soon to monitor and gauge the impact.

The Tsunami alert for Calif. has been upgraded from Point Concepcion north to the Oregon-Washington border. The status in Southern California however remained at 'tsunami advisory'.

Japan said that the cooling function at Tokyo Electric Power's (9501.T) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is getting fixed after it stopped soon after the quake. A state of emergency is declared in the region.

Update at 01:54 am PST

Confirmed report of 23 dead and over 200 were washed away. Communication in the country has been severely impacted. Waves of 10 meters are reported to have hit the regions of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba. Water surged into Sendai located 350 kms to the north of Tokyo. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia is ready to help Japan tackle consequences of the disaster.

Update at 01:34 am PST

Death toll in Japan rises to 19. Russia confirms first tsunami wave reaching the Kuril islands. 3.3 feet wave hits Shikotan Island. Kunashir Island gets a 95 centimeter wave.

Japanese media reports eight people killed and in the wider Tokyo region. Many houses in Ibaraki prefecture northeast of Tokyo were collapsed. Japan warns of imminent strong quake on northeastern Honshu island.

Philippines alerts its residents in the coastal areas to leave the areas immediately.

Tsunami alert issued

A Tsunami warning is in effect in at least 50 countries including Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has also been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and US state of Hawaii. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center alerted more than 20 countries. Australia, New Zealand, Central America, South America and Antarctica are also likely to be impacted.

Countries on alert

  • Japan
  • Russia
  • Marcus Is.
  • N. Marianas
  • Guam
  • Wake Is.
  • Taiwan
  • Yap
  • Philippines
  • Marshall Is.
  • Belau
  • Midway Is.
  • Pohnpei
  • Chuuk
  • Kosrae
  • Indonesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Nauru
  • Johnston Is.
  • Solomon Is.
  • Kiribati
  • Howland-baker
  • Hawaii
  • Tuvalu
  • Palmyra Is.
  • Vanuatu
  • Tokelau
  • Jarvis Is.
  • Wallis-futuna
  • Samoa
  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Niue
  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Tonga
  • Mexico
  • Kermadec is
  • Fr. Polynesia
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn
  • Guatemala
  • El Salvador
  • Costa Rica
  • Nicaragua
  • Antarctica
  • Panama
  • Honduras
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia
  • Peru

No threat to India

The ministry of earth sciences of India announced that there is no tsunami threat to India. Speaking to the media, Shailesh Nayak, secretary of the department said that the tsunami threat is in effect to east Asian countries and not in the Indian ocean.

Threat to Hawaii

Waves are expected to hit Hawaii around 3 a.m. Friday local time. The state defense officials have started the evacuatino procedures and orders have been issued to evacuate all coastal areas by 2 am. Residents were alerted by civil defense sirens statewide shortly before 10 p.m. local time.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center has issued list of places where potential small waves would be hitting different regions of the California coast.

Port San Luis Harbor: 8:09 am
Santa Barbara Harbor: 8:17 am
Santa Monica: 8:32 am
San Pedro: 8:32 am
Newport Beach: 8:45 am
La Jolla: 8:48 am


The Coast Guard Administration of Taiwan has started evacuating residents off east coast of the Island. According to an update from the central weather bureau, waves of about 50 cm in height would hit the island's north and east coasts later on Friday.

Previous Earthquakes and Tsnumai alerts

  • March 9, 2011: Earthquake reported in Sanriku, Japan with a magnitude of 7.2
  • October 25, 2010: 112 people killed and 500 went missing on the Island of Sumatra. Earthquake of 7.7 reported.
  • February 27, 2010: 521 people killed and 112 went missing in Chile. Earthquake of 8.8 reported.
  • 2009: Earthquake and Tsunami alert in Asia - 250,000 people killed in 14 countries.
  • 2004: Tsunami and earthquake reported in Indian Ocean. Estimated damage of at least $10 billion.
  • 1995: Kobe earthquake. $100 billion damage reported which made it the most expensive natural disaster.
  • 1933: Earth quake with a magnitude of 8.1 in Japan. 3,000 people killed.
  • September 1, 1923: Great Kanto quake with a magnitude of 7.9. 140,000 people killed in Tokyo.

Previous Tsunami related News

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