Posted at 03:24 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Japan earthquake and tsunami: Live updates


Earthquake-triggered tsumanis sweep shores along Iwanuma in northern Japan on Friday March 11, 2022. (AP)

As the West Coast prepares for the possible tsunami, and Japan reels from 8.9-magnitude earthquake, we’ll be following along with live updates here.

JAPAN: 9:14 a.m. (JST) / 7:14 p.m. (ET), Friday

New views of tsunami devastation

Japanese television station NHK World reports on the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake:

JAPAN: 8:26 a.m. (JST) / 6:26 p.m. (ET), Friday

Many services in Japan free

Until the country's state of emergency following a massive earthquake and tsunami comes to an end, the following services are free:

FON, a company which manages a large network of wi-fi hotspots, is opening up its 500,000 some-odd hotspots in Japan for free.

Phone network NTT is allowing users to make calls from all payphones in eastern Japan for free, according to a Tech journalist on Twitter.

Comcast made TV Japan free to digital cable customers in Washington so that they can follow the news, Seattle Times reported.

JAPAN: 8:15 a.m. (JST) / 6:15 p.m. (ET), Friday

Control lost at second nuclear power plant

Tokyo Electric Power Company said Saturday that the temperatures of its No.1 and No.2 reactors at its Fukushima Daini nuclear power station are rising, and it has lost control over pressure in the reactors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Fukushima Daini station is the second nuclear power plant the company has in Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan, where the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant is located.

JAPAN: 7:36 a.m. (JST), Saturday / 5:36 p.m. (ET), Friday

Official death toll

Japanese officials say more than 300 are confirmed dead, 530 others are missing and nearly 1,000 are injured, according to AP. Police in Japan expect the death toll to climb into the thousands.

JAPAN: 7:36 a.m. (JST), Saturday / 5:36 p.m. (ET), Friday

As Japan wakes up, its people are forced to face the fallout of the previous day's quake:

JAPAN: 7:36 a.m. (JST), Saturday / 5:36 p.m. (ET), Friday

Boat caught in Japan’s swirling water

Ferocious tsunami waves swirled near a port in Oarai, Japan. A boat is seen struggling to stay afloat in the whirlpool. WATCH:

JAPAN: 7:17 a.m. (JST), Saturday / 5:17 p.m. (ET), Friday

Most trains resume service

A large part of the train network in Metropolitan Tokyo is expected to resume service Saturday, Japanese television station NHK reported.

The massive earthquake Friday had brought the system to a standstill. Tens of thousands of people spent the night at stations or other places waiting for trains to run again.

Major Tokyo railway company JR East says 15 of its routes will resume service in the early morning. Most railway lines operated by dozens of smaller companies are working. A few are not running.

Shinkansen bullet trains that link Tokyo and other cities are not operating, except for the line between Tokyo and Osaka.

JAPAN: 6:50 a.m. (JST) / 4:50 p.m. (ET), Friday

Radiation levels seeped outside plant

Japan says radiation levels have seeped outside of a nuclear plant, expanding the area subject to evacuation, according to AP.

Radiation inside the plant has been detected to be 1,000 times higher than normal, according to Kyodo News.

The Japanese government late Friday had issued an official emergency at the nuclear power plant and evacuated thousands after its reactor shut down and it had problems with its cooling system.

Japan's nuclear safety agency had earlier said that they were releasing vapor to reduce the pressure inside the nuclear plant's reactor, but that it would not affect the environment or human health.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said the U.S. air force had delivered coolant to prevent a rise in the temperature of the facility's nuclear rods, according to Reuters, but an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon said he was unaware of any deliveries being made by Air Force planes related to the reactor issues.

A Voice of America journalist tweeted his concern:

Kyodo: This suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility. #jpquakeless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

JAPAN: 6:50 a.m. (JST) / 4:50 p.m. (ET), Friday

World leaders send Japan condolences, aid

World leaders on Friday sent condolences and offers of help to Japan after a tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed the country's eastern coast, killing at least 300. Hundreds more are missing. WATCH:

JAPAN: 6:47 a.m. (JST) / 4:47 p.m. (ET), Friday

Tsunami waves lap weakly at U.S. beaches

Tsunami warnings had residents in the U.S. heading to higher ground, but the dangerous waves failed to materialize and little damage was done to the shoreline. WATCH:

JAPAN: 6:35 a.m. (JST) / 4:35 p.m. (ET), Friday

Quake official magnitude 8.9

While the New Scientist Magazine reported that seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey have revised their calculations regarding the magnitude of Friday's quake to a 9.0, the National Earthquake Information Center says the official magnitude is upgraded to 8.9.

"We calculate seven or eight different types of magnitudes. For this quake we will stick with 8.9. We will reanalyze when we get more data. But it's really semantics right now," Paul Earle, seismologist at the National Earthquake Information Center, said.

Harold Tobin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison told the New Scientist that this figure will probably change again, typical in the hours after a large earthquake, as more information becomes available.

JAPAN: 5:45 a.m. (JST) / 3:45 p.m. (ET), Friday

Correspondents wearing helmets

Post reporter Chico Harlantweeted a photo from the evening news of Japanese correspondents wearing helmets:


JAPAN: 5:35 a.m. (JST) / 3:35 p.m. (ET), Friday

Four washed out to sea from tsunami capital of America: Crescent City, Calif.


A fishing boat lays on its side in shallow water in the boat basin at Crescent City, Calif., after a tsunami surge withdrew Friday, March 11, 2011. (JEFF BARNARD - AP)
The tsunami capital of the continental United States is Crescent City, Calif., Slate reports.

An "economically depressed logging and fishing town just south of the Oregon border" with a population of 7,542, Slate reports that Crescent City is the California location predicted to be hardest hit by the Japanese tsunami. One forecast predicts 7-foot waves.

Eight-foot waves from the Japan tsunami have already destroyed much of Crescent City harbor, the Los Angeles Times reported. The waves battered boats, closed the 101 Freeway, and left one person missing.

Four people also were washed out to sea Friday. Three were hurt and one is believed to be dead.

This isn't the first time Crescent City has dealt with a tsunami. It's the 32nd.

Since 1933, 31 tsunamis have been observed in Crescent City, four of which caused damage. One tsunami, in March 1964, remains the "largest and most destructive recorded tsunami to ever strike the United States Pacific Coast," according to the University of Southern California's Tsunami Research Center. The 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, 11 of them in Crescent City.

Crescent City is vulnerable to tsunamis because of an underwater elevation that guides tsunamis into deeper water, where they pick up speed the closer they get to the mainland.

JAPAN: 5:25 a.m. (JST) / 3:25p.m. (ET), Friday

Emergency apps

Slate has aggregated some of the most worthwhile emergency appsfor iPhones, including a Pocket First Aid & CPRapp, which saved a man's life who was in shock during the Haiti earthquake; Close Call, which displays emergency information about you such as allergies on your phone's lock screen; and Here I Am, which emails your GPS location to emergency services. The full list is here.

JAPAN: 4:11 a.m. (JST) / 2:11 p.m. (ET), Friday

Strong earthquake jolts in northern Japan, felt in Tokyo

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 jolted Nagano Prefecture, Reuters reported.

Dozens of aftershocks have jolted Japan's northeast since Friday's magnitude 8.9 temblor, but this most recent quake was in an entirely different location, according to AP.

The latest 6.6. quake hit early Saturday at a depth of six miles, some105 miles (170 north of Tokyo.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but the quake caused buildings to sway. WATCH the buildings sway:

Reactions came in via Twitter:

What? Did I just feel that here in Chubu? Or am I just tired??less than a minute ago via web

Not much chance of any sleep tonight in Japanless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPad

It feels like Japan is broken and the quakes won't end... Sitting in front of the TV waiting for the next warning...less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

JAPAN: 3:46 a.m. (JST) / 1:46 p.m. (ET), Friday

Radioactive vapor to be released at power plant


Japanese authorities are now warning that the pressure is still rising at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant after its cooling system failed, the Guardian reported. 3,000 residents are being moved out of the area after the government issued a state of emergency.

Pressure inside the reactor has risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal, according to Japan's nuclear safety agency. To reduce the pressure, slightly radioactive vapor needs to be released.

The agency said the radioactive element in the vapor would not affect the environment or human health. Staff are trying to restore cooling water supply at the plant but "There is no prospect for an immediate success," the agency told AP.

Bloomberg Japan has reported that two workers are missing from the first Fukushima nuclear plant and one is dead at the second plant.

The Japan Times tweeted that Prime Minister Kan would inspect the Fukushima plant in the morning, and tweeted other updates on the plant:

Fukushima reactor operator set to open valve of containment housing reactor to reduce pressure. Move may release radioactive steam. (Kyodo)less than a minute ago via HootSuite

See a drawing of how vapor would be released from the reactor here.

JAPAN: 3:23 a.m. (JST) / 1:23 p.m. (ET), Friday

Japan Prime Minister feels earthquake

Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, and members of parliament were in session when the magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit the country. WATCH:

JAPAN: 3:17 a.m. (JST) / 1:17 p.m. (ET), Friday

Earthquake and tsunami resources

The Post has created a list of resources, including information on where to obtain emergency alerts and assistance and how you can help.Find it here.

JAPAN: 3:12 a.m. (JST) / 1:12 p.m. (ET), Friday

Locals in Washington fear for family after Japan quake

The Japanese flag flies at half-staff at the Japanese Embassy in Washington where locals talk about their fears and concerns following the Sendai earthquake and tsunami:

JAPAN: 2:56 a.m. (JST) / 12:56 p.m. (ET), Friday

Fifth largest quake since 1900, Obama holds press conference

According to a list compiled by the United States Geological Survey, the Japanese quakeis the fifth largest in the world since 1900.


In a press conference, Obama said the earthquake was "potentially catastrophic." Follow his speech here or WATCH below:

JAPAN: 2:12 a.m. (JST) / 12:12 p.m. (ET), Friday

U.S. ships deployed to Japan

The Post's Craig Whitlock reports:

The U.S. military redeployed several ships toward Japan on Friday and began preparing for humanitarian-relief missions in the expectation that it would be asked to help respond to the devastating earthquake.
The USS Tortuga, a dock-landing ship that is homeported in Sasebo, in southern Japan, was expected to head north later today to parts of the country most seriously affected by the quake, said Col. David Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman.
The USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Navy's 7th Fleet, was loading humanitarian assistance supplies in Singapore and also preparing to sail to northern Japan, he said.
Meantime, the USS Essex, an amphibious warfare ship that resembles a small aircraft carrier, was readying to leave for Japan from Malaysia, where it had just arrived for a port call early Friday. The Essex also carries Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier, and its strike group were in the western Pacific near the Korean peninsula but were turning toward Japan in case they are needed as well, Lapan said.
Among other capabilities, the U.S. ships could provide airlift and rescue support, as well as deliver food, water and medical supplies.
Lapan said U.S. forces in the Pacific regularly train with allies to provide relief in the event of disasters.
"A number of the exercises that we conduct in this region are specifically designed as humanitarian-assistance-type relief missions because we've unfortunately had to do this several times in different areas in the Pacific," he said. "So we're well positioned."
The Defense Department has about 38,000 military personnel based in Japan, as well as 5,000 U.S. civilian employees and 43,000 family members. Lapan said there were no reports of any deaths of U.S. service members or their dependents from the tsunami, nor any reports of serious damage to military assets or installations.
He said Yokota Air Base, a U.S. military installation near Tokyo, had allowed more than 10 commercial airliners to land after they were diverted from Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Among the airliners that diverted flights to Yokota were Delta, United and KLM.
The closest U.S. military installation to the quake's epicenter is Misawa Air Base, located about 400 miles north of Tokyo.

JAPAN: 2:06 a.m. (JST) / 12:06 p.m. (ET), Friday

Twitter list

The Post has created a twitter list of people reporting on the earthquake. Follow it here.

JAPAN: 2:03 a.m. (JST) / 12:03 p.m. (ET), Friday

Images from the quake

Japan Times is reporting the death toll will likely surpass 1,000.


A child reacts to an aftershock at a temporary shelter in Tokyo for people affected by a strong earthquake which hit Japan Friday, March 11, 2011. (Itsuo Inouye - AP)


Honolulu, Hawaii, residents watch the surf on March 11, 2011 as tsunami approached the islands. (KENT NISHIMURA - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)



This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) image released on March 11, 2011 shows model runs from the Center for Tsunami Research at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory showing the expected wave heights of the tsunami as it travels across the Pacific basin. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

JAPAN: 1:06 a.m. (JST) / 11:06 a.m. (ET), Friday

Fire rages in Japan

A huge fire has broken out in Kesennumma, Japan according to the Guardian. Here's footage from a Japanese television station:

For a live streaming Japanese television station, go here.

JAPAN: 1:04 a.m. (JST) / 11:04 a.m. (ET), Friday

Nuclear power plants safely shut

The four Japanese nuclear power plants closest to the earthquake have been safely shut down, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Reuters.

The government had earlier decided to declare a nuclear-power emergency situation, which happens if there is confirmation of radioactivity leaks from a nuclear power plant or a reactor cooling system breaks down. A cooling system reported malfunctioning at one plant is now working.

The IAEA, the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog group, said it was looking for more information on which countries and nuclear facilities might be at risk from the tsunami.

The United States has transported coolant to a Japanese nuclear plant affected by the massive quake and will continue to assist Japan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

"We just had our Air Force assets in Japan transport some really important coolant to one of the nuclear plants. You know Japan is very reliant on nuclear power and they have very high engineering standards, but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn't have enough coolant," Clinton said at a meeting of the President's Export Council.

U.S.: 12:38 a.m. (JST) / 10:38 a.m. (ET), Friday

Hawaii, West Coast out of major danger

The United States appears to be out of major danger from the tsunami, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said. "The tsunami wave has gone through Hawaii and there does not seem to be any enormous impact, which is extremely encouraging," the BBC reports Daley saying. "I think the enormous fears that that were there hours ago, for some of us hours ago, has diminished greatly, which is quite a relief for all of us."

The tsunami in Hawaii surged onto beaches and up canals, exposing reefs, but the biggest wave measured so far was just under 3 feet at Hanalei, on Kauai, according to the National Weather Service. Waves are expected to continue and grow in height.

President Obama called Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at 10:15 a.m. this morning to discuss the earthquake and the tsunami.

JAPAN: 12:38 a.m. (JST) / 10:38 a.m. (ET), Friday

Aftershocks hit Japan; 116 reported dead or missing

Eight strong aftershocks have been recorded just two hours after the quake hit, Reuters reported.

Edano asks public to be ready for aftershocks as strong as initial quake (Kyodo)less than a minute ago via HootSuite

Feeling a shake level 4 at the momentless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

That aftershock had us standing up ready to go... Not going to be able to sleepless than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac

What does this mean? Is it usual for there to be so many aftershocks? Is it an omen?less than a minute ago via web

Costs of the 8.9 quake that hit Friday are initially estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion, according to JPMorgan. That is far less than $102.5 billion in damage caused by the Kobe earthquake in 1995, which measured 6.8.

At least 116 people were listed as dead or missing, AFP reported. Aerial footage showed massive flooding in northern towns. About 60,000 to 70,000 people were evacuated from the Sendai area, according to Kyodo News.

A major blackout occurred across a wide area of northeastern Japan. Police officers are controlling traffic with whistles and illuminated batons, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Japan coast guard is searching for a ship with 80 on board that was washed away by tsunami, MSNBC reported.

U.S.: 12:15 a.m. (JST) / 10:15 a.m. (ET), Friday

Tsunami waves reached Hawaii, Alaska

Tsunami waves have reached Hawaii, but the first waves hitting the state are only about a foot higher than usual, according to officials and local news reports, the LA Times reported. Earlier on Friday, a wave just over 5 feet at reached Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands

Officials had ordered an evacuation of Hawaii's coastal areas, warning of maximum wave heights of up to 8 feet after 3 a.m. local time, but there have been no reports of widespread damage yet. More tsunami waves were expected and authorities say it is too early to tell whether the waves will cause harm to the state.

President Obama, who was born in Hawaii, said: "We are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials."

Obama also sent a message out on Twitter to Japan:

JAPAN: 12:01 a.m. (JST) / 10:01 a.m. (ET), Friday

Photograph of the Sendai airport


Sendai Airport is surrounded by waters in Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, after a ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011. (AP)

JAPAN: 11:51 p.m. (JST) / 9:51 a.m. (ET), Friday

Citizen footage from the moment of the quake

YouTube has launched a CitizenTube channel on its site to collect videos from the earthquake. Here are a few so far:

JAPAN: 11:51 p.m. (JST) / 9:51 a.m. (ET), Friday

Oil drops below $100 in U.S. as quake shuts Japan refineries

Oil dropped below $100 a barrel in New York for the first time in more than a week after Japan's strongest earthquake in at least a century forced refiners to shut processing plants, according to AP.

U.S. crude futures are headed for their first weekly decline in a month. A fire at Cosmo Oil Co.'s refinery in Chiba, outside Tokyo, is spreading, a Fire Department spokesman said. JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. closed refineries in Sendai, Kashima and Negishi. Brent crude is also set for decline in London

"The earthquake is having a psychological impact on the market in triggering a rise in risk aversion," Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, told AP. "The effect is also physical, in that oil demand from Japan could temporarily be lower."

JAPAN: 11:39 p.m. (JST) / 9:39 a.m. (ET), Friday

Visitors evacuated from Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland's car park was drenched with water-logged segments from the ground following the earthquake that rocked Japan's Pacific coast Friday, police told AFP.

Police said the phenomenon was due to liquefaction of soil caused by the intense shaking of the tremor, not a result of the tsunami.

There were 69,000 people at Tokyo Disneyland and the neighboring Tokyo Disney Sea when the quake occurred, a spokesman at the local Urawa police station told AFP. There were no injuries or property damage reported at the theme parks.

"The visitors have been evacuated to safe places, but there are many puddles due to liquefaction around the theme parks," he said.

Here's an image from Twitter, reportedly of visitors waiting at the park after the quake


JAPAN: 11:33 p.m. (JST) / 9:33 a.m. (ET), Friday

The Washington Post’s Chico Harlan reports on the earthquake from Hiroshima, Japan. WATCH:

JAPAN: 11:28 p.m. (JST) / 9:28 a.m. (ET), Friday

Tsunami wave hits Japan’s main airport


A tsunami wave hit also wiped out Japan's main Sendai Airport, as a wave of debris crashed through. WATCH:

See a picture of people watching the wave approach here.

JAPAN: 10:59 p.m. (JST) / 8:59 a.m. (ET), Friday

U.S. coast braces for possible tsunami impact

The tsunami caused by a massive earthquake in Japan is now crossing the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a warning for at least 50 countries or territories around the Pacific and the U.S. coast is now bracing for the impact of the waves.

Tsunami waves began rolling into Hawaii, with readings of between 6 and 8 feet expected in some areas, CNN reported. The first impact in Hawaii was felt shortly after 3:07 a.m. local time (8:07 a.m. ET), according to Hawaii State Civil Defense, which issued a tsunami warning, followed by an increase in water coming ashore.

Honolulu is planning for several contingencies, because it is not certain how large the waves could be and where they may rush inland, Mayor Peter Carlisle told CNN. The Coast Guard is preparing for the worst-case scenario.

On the Oregon coast, sirens are urging people to seek higher ground. Information indicated a wave of more than 6 feet could reach Brookings in southern Oregon, while a wave of about 4 1/2 feet was predicted for northern Oregon's Clatsop spit. The waves are expected between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

In Alaska, the Alaska Emergency Management says the tsunami caused a wave just over 5 feet at Shemya and about 18 inches at Adak and Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. Shemya is 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Communities along much of the U.S. West Coast are under tsunami warnings. Read Tsunami warnings from the National Weather Service.

JAPAN: 10:59 p.m. (JST) / 8:59 a.m. (ET), Friday

Tsunami waves across the Pacific

This map shows a projection of tsunami waves across the Pacific, courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider:


JAPAN: 9:30 p.m. (JST) / 7:31 a.m. (ET), Friday

Earthquake hits Japan

Japan was struck with a massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and several aftershocks Friday afternoon. Washington Post reporter Chico Harlan reported from Japan:

The first earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time (12:46 a.m. in Washington), causing buildings to sway in Tokyo for several minutes.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest initial earthquake struck at a depth of about six miles, about 80 miles off the coast east of Miyagi Prefecture, a mostly rural but still densely populated part of Honshu, Japan's largest island.
Tokyo -- which is also on Honshu and about 230 miles south of the epicenter -- appeared to escape substantial damage, though some fires were reported and buildings shook violently during the initial quake.

AP reported there were "no reports of injuries to American personnel there or damage to U.S. installations or ships in the area."

JAPAN: 9:30 p.m. (JST) / 7:31 a.m. (ET), Friday

Audio report from Hiroshima

Harlan called in this audio report from Hiroshima. He had been getting ready to board a bullet train when the train was delayed by several minutes, which was a "really unusual occurrence." Harlan tells of thousands of train passengers who went silent, looking at images of cars and houses like driftwood washing away. LISTEN:

Listen!

JAPAN: 9:15 p.m. (JST) / 7:15 a.m. (ET), Friday

Live video of the quake

JAPAN: 9:00 p.m. (JST) / 7:00 a.m. (ET), Friday

Tweets from Japan

Here’s what people are saying right now on Twitter:

By , , T.J. Ortenzi and Justin Bank  |  03:24 PM ET, 03/11/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

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