As Japan deals with day three of devastation after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and powerful tsunami, we’ll be following along with live updates here.
JAPAN: 7:35 a.m. (JST), Monday / 6:35 p.m. (ET), Sunday
We are closing up the blog for the night. Come back and visit us tomorrow for updates as we continue to follow Japan’s recovery.
JAPAN: 7:55 a.m. (JST), Monday / 6:55 p.m. (ET), Sunday
JAPAN: 7:35 a.m. (JST), Monday / 6:35 p.m. (ET), Sunday
TEPCO has reported a rise in radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the Japanese government, Reuters reported.
JAPAN: 6:35 a.m. (JST), Monday / 5:35 p.m. (ET), Sunday
U.S. won’t experience harmful levels of radiation form Japan
The United States won’t experience "any harmful levels" of radiation from Japan’s nuclear power reactors, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Sunday, according to Reuters.
"All the available information indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from the Fukushima reactors out to sea away from the population," the NRC said in a statement.
"Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity."
JAPAN: 6:20 a.m. (JST), Monday / 5:20 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Bank of Japan to pump cash into banks
Japanese officials said Sunday that they will backstop the country's financial system when markets reopen Monday, CNN Money reported.
The Bank of Japan said in a statement that it will monitor financial markets and the operation of banks and will "stand ready to respond and act as necessary." The bank said it is ready to provide the markets with a lot of liquidity to ensure there is enough cash on hand to meet demands of panicky investors andcover customers' withdrawals.
JAPAN: 6:00 a.m. (JST), Monday / 5:00 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Death toll rises
The death toll reached 1,597 Sunday night local time, Wall Street Journal reported.
JAPAN: 5:30 a.m. (JST), Monday / 4:30 p.m. (ET), Sunday
The earthquake and tsunami in videos
We’ve rounded up the most compelling video from the last few days, including footage that captures the moment the earthquake hit homes and stores, giant tsunami waves rolling in, swaying buildings, stuck jets, and daring rescue effots. See the videos here.
JAPAN: 5:16 a.m. (JST), Monday / 4:14 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Trapped earthquake victim rescued after 20 hours
An earthquake victim in Japan is rescued after remaining trapped in a vehicle for 20 hours. WATCH:
JAPAN: 5:00 a.m. (JST), Monday / 4:00 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Experts see low risk of nuclear disaster
Reuters spoke with several nuclear experts who have been monitoring the situation in Japan and find a major radiation leak unlikely. According to professor Richard Wakeford of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Britain's University of Manchester, Japanese engineers' greatest ally may be time.
"The reactor cores were still hot when the reactor shut down, as time goes on that radioactive decay heat will get less and the problem will get less," he said in a statement.
Robin Grimes, director of the Center for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London, concurred, saying, "There's no risk of an extensive radiation leak into the surrounding areas ... the structure of the core is probably still intact."
Although it appears that there may have been a partial meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi's unit 1 reactor, a German engineer quoted by Reuters said a partial meltdown is "not a disaster" and a full meltdown is unlikely.
JAPAN: 2:10 a.m. (JST), Monday / 1:10p.m. (ET), Sunday
U.S. issues travel warning
The United States has issued a travel warning for Japan, Reuters reported.
The State Department said it requested all non-essential U.S. government personnel to defer travel and urged American citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan. It said that strong aftershocks were likely for weeks.
Noriyuki Shikata, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Relations at Japan's prime minister's office, tweeted:
JAPAN: 1:58 a.m. (JST), Monday / 12:58 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Chain letters spreading misinformation
Many people citizens are being misled about how to deal with the fallout of the massive earthquake and powerful tsunami by online chain letters, the Japanese government warned, according to Japan Times.
Over the weekend, an anonymous sender initiated an online alert campaign telling people to carry umbrellas and raincoats because "the explosion at Cosmo Oil refinery (in Chiba Prefecture) has released a poisonous substance into the atmosphere that will come down with rain.
The sender cited his or her brother-in-law as the source and warned people to stay inside unless absolutely necessary.
Cosmo Oil released a statement saying the likelihood of a threat to health from the exploded tanks is "extremely low."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano warned that such misleading e-mail letters "stir up unnecessary anxiety" and senders should refrain from sending them.
JAPAN: 1:48 a.m. (JST), Monday / 12:48 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Volcano in southern Japan has resumed
A volcano in southern Japan has resumed eruptions, the Japan's Meteorological Agency said Sunday in a warning. The volcano is spewing ash and rock again after a couple quiet weeks.
The mountain is on an island, 950 miles from the epicenter of Friday's earthquake, and it is unclear if the eruptions were linked to quake.
Watch video that purportedly shows the volcano erupt:
JAPAN: 1:44 a.m. (JST), Monday / 12:44 p.m. (ET), Sunday
Japanese electric company to ration power through April
Japan's leading power company announced Sunday that for the first time in history it would conduct rolling blackouts to prevent massive blackouts following the earthquake.
The measure will last through the end of April.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is the largest power provider in Asia and the fourth-largest in the world. TEPCO operates both plants in Fukushima Prefecture that were severely damaged by the quake, Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini. According to TEPCO and government officials, the blackouts will affect traffic signals, hospitals, trains and possibly the water supply.
JAPAN: 12:33 p.m. (JST), Monday / 11:33 a.m. (ET), Sunday
The U.N. has just released its latest report, which says rescue and relief operations have been hampered by aftershocks, tsunami alerts, & fires. Read it here. U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos is tweeting constant updates on the situation in Japan, with links to news conferences, statements by the prime minister, all in English:
JAPAN: 12:25 p.m. (JST), Monday / 11:25 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Japan man saved from rooftop that floated to sea
Hiromitsu Shinkawa clung to the roof of his home as he was pushed out to sea after a tsunami swept away his wife, the Associated Press reported. For two days, he drifted off Japan's northeastern coast, trying to get the attention of helicopters and ships that passed by - to no avail.
On Sunday, a Japanese military vessel finally spotted the 60-year-old waving a red cloth. He was floating about 10 miles offshore from the earthquake-damaged city of Minamisoma, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Japanese troops used a small boat to pluck him from the ocean.
"I thought today was the last day of my life," Kyodo News quoted him as saying.
Watch more rooftop rescues here.
JAPAN: 12:21 p.m. (JST), Monday / 11:21 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Quake set to deal blow to economy as factories close
Japanese automakers, electronics firms and oil refiners shut important factories, emphasizing the challenge facing the government as it tries to limit the earthquake's economic impact, according to Reuters.
Electronics giant Sony Corp has suspended operations at eight factories. Nissan Motor halted output at all four of its domestic assembly factories and said restarting them could depend on whether it can get parts.
There is a long list of companies unsure of how quickly they can get their plants back up and running, and widespread damage to infrastructure and power rationing.
Experts say Japan's economy will suffer only a temporary setback and could bounce back around April when spending on rebuilding efforts starts to take effect.
JAPAN: 11:59 p.m. (JST) / 10:59 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Fact sheet: Americans in Japan
There are approximately 160,000 American citizens in Japan.
We are not aware of any confirmed reports of American casualties in Japan.
The State Department has received numerous inquiries on the welfare and whereabouts of specific U.S. citizens in Japan. The Embassy and the State Department are working around the clock to determine the whereabouts and well-being of these U.S. citizens.
The best information we have is that there are approximately 1,300 American citizens in the Japanese prefectures that were most affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
The Embassy is working to send consular officers to these affected prefectures today (March 13) to assist American citizens in those areas. At this time, we do not have information on how many of these American citizens may have left the area.
The State Department has advised U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Japan.
JAPAN: 11:51 p.m. (JST) / 10:51 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Partial nuclear meltdown likely underway in Japan
Japanese government officials have said a partial nuclear meltdown caused by a massive earthquake is likely underway in the second of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear complex. WATCH:
The wind over troubled Fukushima nuclear complex will remain blowing from the west during the night on Sunday, pushing any radioactivity toward the ocean, an official at Japan's Meteorological Agency said, Reuters reported.
JAPAN: 11:38 p.m. (JST) / 10:38 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Japan’s quake has had little effect on the culture’s impeccable manners
Japan's massive earthquake has had little effect on the culture's impeccable manners, L.A. Times reported Sunday.
Reporter Laura King writes:
The Japanese language is full of ritual apologies, uttered so often as to become almost meaningless: Iam about to make a nuisance of myself -- please excuse me! Some of this is a matter of mere formality. But at a time of crisis, such politesse can be the glue that holds the country together.
King recounts a story of a woman named Hiroko Yamashita who was pinned down and had her ankle shattered by a bookshelf after the quake. When paramedics reached her, she did what any "normal" person would do and apologized for the inconvenience, asking if there weren't others they should be attending to first.
There are other examples. Shop owners and hotel clerks won't let the customers see their anxiety. On departing planes, passengers ask about one another's well-being but don't mention if they have a relative is missing so as not to burden the other person. When trains started running after hours of being shut down, there was an orderly line to get onboard.
And when a passenger departs the train, the rest call out: Kiotsukete! -- Be careful!
JAPAN: 11:30 p.m. (JST) / 10:30 a.m. (ET), Sunday
JAPAN: 11:12 p.m. (JST) / 10:12 a.m. (ET), Sunday
CNN has released footage which shows the ground slowly cracking open during the Japanese earthquake. WATCH:
JAPAN: 11:05 p.m. (JST) / 10:05 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Resources for the aftermath of the quake
- -Google person finder.
- -Scheduled blackouts and blackout zone map by area from popular Japanese blogger Michael Gakuran.
- -Satellite imagery of the devastation across Japan, via Google.
- -Protecting yourself from nuclear radiation, from Japan Subculture Research Center.
- -Who can and cannot donate blood in Japan, outlined by popular Japanese blog Mutantfrog.
- -How you can help, from Timeout Japan and the Japan Subculture Research Center.
- -Japanese translator, from Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group.
JAPAN: 10:45 p.m. (JST) / 9:45 a.m. (ET), Sunday
Nuclear reactor facing meltdown past its due date
The 40-year-old nuclear reactor facing a possible meltdown at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi power plant was originally scheduled to go out of commission in February but had its operating license extended another 10 years, Reuters reported.
The reactor was originally scheduled to operate for just 40 years, but Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved the extension.
The reactor also is also the utility's oldest atomic core.
Officials are working desperately at the plant to stop fuel rods in two damaged reactors from overheating. If the fuel rods don't cool, they could melt the container that houses the core, or explode and release radioactive material, according to officials.
The government has said there may have already been a partial meltdown of the fuel rods at the No. 1 reactor, and engineers are pumping in seawater to prevent the same happening at the No. 3 reactor.
JAPAN: 10:00 p.m. (JST) / 9:00 a.m. (ET), Saturday
Footage came in Sunday that showed incredible rooftop helicopter rescues in Japan. WATCH:
JAPAN: 9:30 p.m. (JST) / 8:30 a.m. (ET)
Day Three in numbers
As Japan faces Day Three of the damage from the earthquake and tsunami and fears a meltdown after the explosion at the Fukushima reactor, here are the numbers the country is dealing with:
- -2000 people dead or unaccounted for, that number may reach 10,000, according to Kyodo News.
- -The magnitude of the quake has been revised from 8.9 to 9.0 magnitude, according to AP.
- -More than 450,000 have evacuated from the area around the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to Kyodo News.
- -12-mile radius evacuation area around the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, revised from 6-miles, according to Kyodo News.
- -19 people exposed to radiation near the plant, according to the prefectural government, Kyodo News reported.
- -More than 12,000 rescued so far, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, according to BBC.
- -20,820 buildings have been fully or partially damaged, according to Kyodo News.
- -100,000 Self-Defense Force personnel sent to help, one of the largest operations ever for SDF, according to Kyodo News.
- -11,400 base stations of major cellphone operators not operating, according to Kyodo News.
- -879,500 subscribed phone lines remain out of service, according to Kyodo News.
- -5,000 houses in Iwate Prefecture alone submerged in water, according to Kyodo News.
- -1,167 residents unable to be contacted in Fukushima by the prefectural government, according to Kyodo News.
- -4,400 people remained isolated in the tsunami-swamped town of Onagawa, according to Kyodo News.
- -In Miyago, about 10,000 people unnaccounted for in the town Minamisanriku, half the town's population, according to Kyodo News.
- -70 percent chance of a level 7 quake in the next three days, according to Japanese television station NHK.