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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan Earthquake Aftermath News

地震 東京 ニュース

Two days after the massive earthquake that rocked eastern Japan, the effects are still very apparent.

Most noticeable are the constant aftershocks, one of the largest of which so far - magnitude 3 here in Tokyo - struck just as I began writing this entry (Sunday morning, about 10:27 a.m.). Basically, the aftershocks are more or less constant, with quivering evident almost as often as not. However, the aftershocks that "register" are notable for their length, often lasting a minute or more.

Hundreds of aftershocks with a magnitude of 5 or more are being registered daily, any one of them normally newsworthy in their strength.

Go shopping anywhere and the queues and crowds are like nothing I have ever seen before in Japan. People in Tokyo are stocking up in anticipation of the worst, and many store shelves are sparse or empty.

There is nothing but earthquake news on TV - less like the "news" you sit back and watch, and more like "bulletins" you hang on every word of: constantly updated clips that are keeping an anxious citizenry informed of the latest, whether the state of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima with its threatened meltdown, where trucks distributing fresh water can be located (further north - Tokyo is fine), the outlook on power distribution (over 3 million homes in the north of Japan are without power, and power cuts affecting even Tokyo are expected from tomorrow, Monday), the progress of rescue efforts, and the accompanying sobering statistics on numbers missing, injured or dead. The death toll - mainly from tsunami - is now in its thousands.

New video footage is constantly being posted of the destruction caused by tidal waves, especially in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, where whole towns have been swamped and ravaged to a degree that almost defies belief.

In Tokyo things have gotten a little closer to normalcy with the reopening of the city's highways yesterday around noon, reducing the congestion that had been blighting the ground-level roads. Tokyo's rail and subway system is largely back to normal running.

The gas supply of the building I live in was restored yesterday, but the elevator is still out of order, meaning a 13-floor descent and climb of the stairs whenever we go out.

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