A magnitude 8.9 earthquake, the seventh strongest in history, struck off the northern coast of Japan at 2:46pm local time on 11 March 2011, approximately 350 km north east of Tokyo. The earthquake was felt as far as Osaka.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami has affected infrastructure and buildings in Fukushima, Miyagi, Aomori, Iwate, Nagano, Niigata and Ibaraki Prefectures.
For those of you that want to be kept informed of the latest developments by way of television broadcasts:
- the Tokyo Broadcasting System television channel (TBS) is streaming live on Ustream in Japanese;
- the national broadcaster NHK is also streaming live on Ustream in Japanese; and
- in Australia, the free-to-air channel ABC News 24 continues to provides rolling coverage.
For information on any tsunami warnings:
- across the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre provides extensive information;
- specific to Japanese waters, the Japan Meteorological Agency; and
- specific to Australian waters, the Bureau of Meteorology.
For information relating to transport:
- the current status of transport operated by JR East in Tohoku region – the region most affected (in Japanese);
- the current status of transport operated by JR East in Kanto region – the Tokyo region (in Japanese);
- the current status of Shinkansen operated by JR East (in Japanese);
- the current status of Tokyo’s Narita Airport;
- the current status of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport; and
- if you are flying to Japan, it is advisable to contact your airline company prior to departure to check on the status of your flight.
Contacting Australians in Japan
If you are concerned about friends and family in Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has advised that you should contact them directly in the first instance. If this is unsuccessful, you can contact the DFAT 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (within Australia).
The Australian reported that approximately 11,000 people live in Japan. The Acting Prime Minister said on 12 March 2011 that 93 Australians were registered to be living or holidaying in the worst-hit areas. However, he said that it was likely there were more.
You may also use Google’s 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Crisis Response website to locate a friend or family member, or to report that you are well. This website also provides useful resources relating to transport status and alarms and warnings.
Australians in Japan requiring assistance
Conversely, if you are in Japan and require assistance, you can contact the Australian Embassy in Tokyo on 03 5232 4111 and you will be transferred to the Crisis Centre.