Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3.11 QUAKE SHAKES JAPANESE TV


(originally appeared in Asia-Pacific Journal, March 28, 2011)













Japan Quake Shakes TV: 
The Media Response to Catastrophe
Philip J Cunningham
"Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. We have just experienced an earthquake. Please move away from the buildings to an open area...We will provide more detailed information as soon as possible..."

The polite but authoritative "we" was the voice of the Tokyo DisneySea theme park in this instance, but similar, oddly reassuring warnings of peril were being echoed across Japan, mostly following the lead of television broadcaster NHK.

Japan has a thriving terrestrial broadcast television market, which in most cities comes down to half a dozen key players. To watch Tokyo's six main TV stations side by side, as media scholars sometimes do, is to be subjected to an overload of dazzling color, brightly-lit sets, short, snappy jingles, silly commercials and plodding documentaries.

When the biggest earthquake in memory hit Japan at 2:46 PM on the afternoon of March 11, 2011, it took less than ten minutes for the bright, cluttered screens to be drained of color, commercialism and fun. With a disaster unfolding, TV stations were under intense pressure to change the tone of their broadcasts.

To review broadcasts from that afternoon, is to be transported back to a turning point in which everything suddenly changed. The state of TV, as it existed at that precarious moment, good, bad and banal as it might have been, is now a broadcast relic, the last gasp of normalcy before the earth shook Japan to its core, the sea swept the Northeast with tsunamis and a nuclear crisis broke the easy access to electric power that has been a hallmark of modernity in Japan for decades.

Commercials, like them or not, are cultural statements if not technical works of art, but even the best of them quickly assumed a negative valence the moment disaster struck. On that fateful Friday afternoon, each station rushed to report, each in its own fashion, on the quake in real time even as the ground was still shaking.

As zero hour arrived, network TV was thrust into a series of startling juxtapositions and incongruent pairings. The audio babble alone was surreal, a wobbly wall of sound composed of overlapping jingles, earthquake bells, buzzers and alarms, bits of dramatic dialogue, background music, stentorian narration, and breathless news reports.

Japan's biggest TV station NHK, where I worked for a number of years as a writer, news polisher and producer, is a publicly supported broadcaster that also receives government funding -- and is sometimes criticized for an apparent lack of editorial independence for that reason -- was the first station to break into regular programming to report the big quake, just 12 seconds after the first jolt.

NHK interrupted its live coverage of a meeting in the Diet, Japan's parliament. Recordings taken from the cameras recording that session would later show famous lawmakers reacting to the quake, some standing about unfazed, others ducking for cover.

The flagship NHK is linked to a multitude of seismic data-collection sites across the archipelago and has a network of remote cameras ready in case of emergency, providing an unblinking view of public thoroughfares long before the advent of web-cams. Typically the remote lens offers a rooftop glimpse of urban scenery and close-ups of vital infrastructure, available to the studio at the flip of a switch.

As the designated go-to station for earthquakes and other natural disasters, NHK typically puts up graphics and comprehensive lists of hard-hit areas with magnitude readings, giving other stations a heads-up and time to react.
NTV, a medium sized station with a somewhat conservative take on the news, became the first of the commercial networks to take note of the earthquake, cutting from a short taped piece about Tokyo mayor Ishihara Shintaro to a live studio shot just after 2:48 that afternoon.

Despite this supple reaction, NTV coverage quickly reverted to a series of commercials, presumably pre-booked for that time slot. This included a pretty model demonstrating how to use mascara remover towelette and facial cleansing foam followed by an ad for an American insurance company with the logo "We're everyone's hospital."

TBS, another commercial station, broke the bad news next, not with a news report but just running text superimposed on top of the screen, clocking in just five seconds later than NTV. It saw no need to interrupt programming but continued to run its afternoon trendy drama, the sort of soap opera production/housewife fare for which the station is famous.

Meanwhile NHK was fully focused on the emergency, having gone from showing maps of the hard-hit regions in northeastern Honshu to live camera coverage of in-house presenters in the studio intercut with some shaky live views from train stations and tower tops in stricken areas. Tsunami warnings followed almost immediately.

Watching the other stations in simultaneity while NHK reported grim-faced on an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude, one was struck by just how many commercials and shifts of tone and mood can be squeezed into the span of a minute or two. But then, with an earthquake in progress, the hand of time seems to bend and slow down, if not halt entirely.

Ironically enough, one of the commercials is an exquisitely filmed travel pitch, about a fantasy escape to western Japan, which is exactly where rattled residents of Tokyo would seek to go in the days to come to get away from the twin perils of aftershocks and radiation.

About three minutes into the quake, the comparative coverage took on an eerie, unnerving quality. NHK panned the city skyline from a hard-shaking remote camera, while NTV showed a brief studio shot of violently swaying furniture and swinging light fixtures. Then, rather inexplicably, the latter shifted to a smooth, soothing commercial, zooming in on a fresh sliced cabbage, best eaten with a certain mayonnaise, followed by a tomato-themed ad for toothpaste meant to remedy swollen gums.

At the regional station, TV Tokyo, a timely earthquake alert flashed on the screen in a distinctly inauspicious manner. The bad news did not interrupt programming but was superimposed over an unconventional sales pitch for gravestones, featuring two comical middle-aged men, one in a tacky suit, the other in a graduation cap and gown talking about why you should only use the best grave stones because "A grave is your home for eternity."

Meanwhile TBS continued its trendy drama of lovingly photographed stylish actors dressed in black, while Fuji TV cut to an empty news desk with chairs rolling around uncontrollably; apparently a failed attempt at a live update, with lights and cameras ready to go but no people in view.

A few seconds later, by which time the off-shore epicenter of a huge quake had been identified on NHK, three soap operas were still up and running, along with a story about fishing. And a commercial for "Body Cooler" featured a sexy actress standing on a beach as a long, smooth blue wave crashed in the background.

By the time Fuji TV finally broke the news at 2:51 PM, the story was old and redundant. Its viewers already knew about the earthquake because the Tokyo region had been shaking underfoot for minutes. From this point on, four out of six channels were offering dedicated quake coverage.

TV Asahi, which produces journalistically sound news programs and sometimes battles with NHK over political differences, was inexplicably slow at the switch. While pandemonium was breaking loose on the other channels, Asahi aired an ad for a 1950s drama, showing seaside scenes of a man and a child in period costume perched on rocks in front of crashing waves, intercut with quaint scenes set in snowy rural mountains. Next up was a coming attraction filled with apocalyptic imagery, billowing explosions, people running scared, roaring flames everywhere, engulfing the map of Japan superimposed on the screen in advance of an urgent news break.

Finally, around five minutes into the tremblor, the control room switched to a newsreader who looked straight into a wobbly camera, and with considerable poise, backed by a visibly frantic newsroom, began to announce the bad news.
Six and a half minutes after the quake started to rattle Tokyo, TV Tokyo continued to broadcast its scheduled program, a jaunty tale about three jokey TV personalities who decide to try their hand at fishing. There is a close-up of a striped fish writhing in a net, then tossed into a blue basket to exclamations of pleasure about what a beautiful fish it is. At that point, TV Tokyo at last cut to full-time earthquake coverage.

























Broadcast record of six tv stations at the time of quake
In a single afternoon, Tokyo television coverage went, in short order, from scenes of happy people pouring cups of healthy instant green tea to grim-faced newscasters estimating death tolls, from sleek, seductive ads for cars photographed under immaculate conditions, to the flotsam of cars and jetsam of houses helplessly bobbing in a black tide. Glossy takes of starlets doing their makeup and comedians promoting luxury products were replaced in sequence by jumpy camera phone images of devastation and despair.
Just as the quake struck, an insurance commercial was aired featuring a loud, obnoxious duck decked out in a curly yellow wig. By an odd coincidence, Gilbert Gottfried, the actor behind the voice of the Aflac duck in the related US commercial series was terminated a few days after the quake for making some callous jokes about real estate changes in Japan.
US Aflac ad featuring Gilbert Gottfried as voice of duck


Sample Aflac ad for Japanese market, different duck
One minute the screens were beaming with joyous young actresses singing the praise of hair coloring foam, female-only phone apps and aromatic laundry scents, the next the viewer was assaulted with sad, unadorned faces numb with shock and despair. One minute a convenience store chain urged viewers to "Start a New Life". Moments later the slogan sounded like a bad joke as small towns were shown being ripped asunder by rushing waters of unspeakable destructive power.

Sample footage from Tokyo at the time the quake struck

Three days after the quake and tsunami, Tokyo mayor Ishihara Shintaro may have nulled his chances for a fourth term as Tokyo mayor by telling Asahi Press Club journalists that the tsunami of March 11 was "tenbatsu" or "punishment from heaven" because the Japanese have become greedy and egotistical.



Asahi Kantei Twitter post on Ishihara Shintaro comments

Tepco's tastefuly crafted non-apology apology
How odd to hear a leader in a largely Buddhist country preach the wrath of God like a small town American fundamentalist (indeed, an American survey indicated that 38 percent of respondents viewed the quake's devastation as God's wrath). But Ishihara, who first acquired fame as a youth writer, is something of a populist, and his penchant for shocking off-the-cuff comments of the sort a more thoughtful, cautious politician would be loathe to make, is part of his idiosyncratic persona. Still, he was enough of a politician to apologize after the posting of his comments on Twitter raised a storm of protest.
In days that followed the quake and tsunami, public service announcements began to take the place of commercials, as broadcasters returned to airing taped shows with time slots that advertisers were reluctant to fill. But the anodyne messages offered by Japan's advertising council also began to irritate viewers, due to the banality of the themes, such as rabbits and other cute cartoon animals teaching the value of making friends by exchanging polite greetings.


Ad Council Public Service Announcement after the quake

So many viewers complained about the predictable punch line, brought to you by the advertising council or "A.C." that finally the end credit was dropped. The fact that complaints reached a threshold at which the normally one-way conversation between advertiser and viewer became a heated dialogue attests to the mounting frustration and quiet rage felt by ordinary Japanese as they watched the Fukushima Daiichi disaster unfold on television.
One company that showed a rare willingness to advertise during these depressing days is none other than the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, the company most responsible for negligence and lack of adequate safety procedures at the dangerously radioactive Fukushima complex. It might seem brazen for TEPCO to advertise when it itself is the topic of the nightly news, but it is engaged in a desperate PR battle to save its deteriorating reputation and stock valuation at a time when both are in free fall.
TEPCO's non-apology apology looked like the notice for a wake, consisting of white lettering on a black background, apologizing for the inconvenience in highly formulaic terms that clarified nothing about the company's responsibilities for the disaster and neither named nor depicted the company's president.

Tepco's public relations commercial on "Inconvenience"


Shima Kosaku, the ultimate salaryman
The spot was appropriately subdued, after all, TEPCO has long courted some of the best-paid copy artists, advertising executives and even manga artists in the business, such as Hirokane Kenji, famous for his long-running salaryman series "Shima Kosaku," also produced "Genshi-chan" or Lil' Atom as a TEPCO mascot.


Genshi-Chan The Ultimate Lil' Atom

Under the spell of its own overarching corporate vision embracing the unlimited power of a nuclear future, TEPCO has demonstrated in some of its questionable business decisions, short cuts and cover-ups risking the lives of its employees, a willingness to take calculated risks to meet the admittedly voracious demand for electric power in Tokyo and the surrounding megalopolis.


Tepco ad for the energy rich good life (before the quake)


Greater Tokyo region brightly lit up by Tepco
Far from being a stranger to advertising, TEPCO is a "generous" sponsor of television programming. The huge corporation, Japan's largest energy firm, has scores of subsidiaries and an ample war chest to buy the best public relations and legal protection in the business. Its "generous" support for commercial television and advertising in print has given it more than a modicum of protection from hard-hitting journalism, not unlike the unspoken power of the American tobacco and oil industries that use advertising and sponsorship to sanitize their image and deflect serious inquiry.
But you won't learn much about that, on public television NHK. NHK, not unlike America's NPR, might be largely free of direct commercial pressures, but it is not free of influence. Both organizations share a finger in the wind quality of being over-sensitive to flavor-of-the-month political correctness. But NHK dwarfs NPR in terms of budget, reach and influence and it enjoys direct governmental links that make it more akin to VOA or Radio Free Europe.
Best described as a quasi-governmental entity, NHK enjoys de facto, if not de jure status as the voice of Japan. By pedigree and tradition it is the platform by which Japan speaks to the nation and the world. It was the home of Tokyo Rose during the Pacific War and when Emperor Hirohito made his famous announcement at the close of World War 2, he was talking to NHK. Even today it dominates coverage of Diet Sessions, Sumo wrestling, diplomatic news and, after the Tohoku earthquake, a special message from Emperor Akihito.


Emperor Akihito address the people in wake of disaster

While NHK hires journalists by the dozen, and produces many thoughtful, reflective documentaries, it is dependent enough on government funding to fill its budget gap that it goes easy on governmental policy and large corporations that enjoy bureaucratic support.
Quasi-governmental NHK projects a mild-mannered persona, walking the narrow line between a willingness to report and an unwillingness to offend. It could also be described as a quasi-journalistic entity, given that it offers a media mix of fresh, original programming along with gun-shy cancellation of controversial programs and government influenced news product.
Still, NHK stands head and shoulders above the rest as the earthquake and disaster channel par excellence, thanks as much to its own vast information collecting infrastructure, with bureaus, reporters and cameras across the country, and significantly, due to its government-authorized links with Japan's Meteorological Agency and Ministry of Transport.
That's why it's a good place to turn for government and corporate statements about the earthquake and tsunami, but not a good place to learn about corporate malfeasance that worsens the toll of nature's fury and creates entirely man-made disasters. As former NHK television journalist Kamanaka Hitomi found, NHK was so loath to take on Japan's nuclear power industry when she was producing a news story on the topic that she quit in protest and has campaigned against nuclear power plants ever since. An insightful indictment of the formidable "power elite" that she was up against can be found in Andrew DeWit's recent article on Japan's power elite, that is the link between Tepco and other large utilities and government regulators.
Having spent three years in the studios and newsrooms of NHK in Tokyo, followed by a sojourn at CCTV in China, I can attest to the notion that NHK broadcast news, while more hard-hitting and thorough than that of its Chinese counterpart, is alike in the sense that it shares a hybrid broadcasting mission in which the duty to inform is balanced by the duty to reassure the public and promote harmony.
Although opponents of nuclear power still face an uphill battle in fossil-fuel poor, energy-hungry Japan, there have long been strong individual voices, from Okinawa to Hokkaido speaking out about the dangers of harnessing for electricity generation the terrible power that reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders.
Adding to an enormous and profound body of work on the topic of things nuclear, Oe Kenzaburo has just commented on the 3.11 crisis, linking it in a trinity with the atomic bombs dropped on Japan and Pacific atomic tests conducted by the US military. (http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2011/03/28/110328ta_talk_oe)
As a result of grievous damage to national infrastructure and power shortfalls, Japan will be pressed to find ways to lessen its dangerous dependence on nuclear power. Tokyo, where rolling blackouts are setting the tone for a new, less energy dependent lifestyle, is on the front line, confronting out of necessity its materialistic, energy-guzzling lifestyle square on.
There is no going back. The fantasy world depicted on Japanese TV just as the quake struck is a freeze-frame, a snapshot in time, of a time and place that has been changed irrevocably by the force of nature and the follies of man.

Philip Cunningham is a professor of media studies who has taught at Chulalongkorn University and Doshisha University. He is the author of Tiananmen Moon: Inside the Chinese Student Uprising of 1989A long-time student of Chinese, Japanese and Thai affairs, his blogspot is here.
Recommended citation: Philip J Cunningham, "Japan Quake Shakes TV: The Media Response to Catastrophe," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 13 No 6, March 28, 2011



Comments

Chuck Berg
04/01/2011
An excellent description and analysis of Japanese TV responses to the nature/nuclear disaster. Cunningham's backgrounding of NHK's dual and conflictd status as societal cheerleader and reporter is, of course, mirrored in conglomerate/public news operations worldwide. A genuine contribution to the crucial and growing discourses on nuclear energy and their potential impact on regulatory policy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

QUAKE SHAKES JAPANESE TV

Philip J Cunningham






“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. We have just experienced an earthquake. Please move away from the buildings to an open area...We will provide more detailed information as soon as possible...”

The polite but authoritative “we” was the voice of the Tokyo DisneySea theme park in this instance, but similar, oddly reassuring warnings of peril were being echoed across Japan, mostly following the lead of television broadcaster NHK.

Japan has a thriving terrestrial broadcast television market, which in most cities comes down to half a dozen key players. To watch Tokyo’s six main TV stations side by side, as media scholars sometimes do, is to be subjected to an overload of dazzling color, brightly-lit sets, short, snappy jingles, silly commercials and plodding documentaries.

When the biggest earthquake in memory hit Japan at 2:46 PM on the afternoon of March 11, 2011, it took less than ten minutes for the bright, cluttered screens to be drained of color, commercialism and fun. With a disaster unfolding, TV stations were under intense pressure to change the tone of their broadcasts.

To review broadcasts from that afternoon, is to be transported back to a turning point in which everything suddenly changed. The state of TV, as it existed at that precarious moment, good, bad and banal as it might have been, is now a broadcast relic, the last gasp of normalcy before the earth shook Japan to its core, the sea swept the Northeast with tsunamis and a nuclear crisis broke the easy access to electric power that has been a hallmark of modernity in Japan for decades.

Commercials, like them or not, are cultural statements if not technical works of art, but even the best of them quickly assumed a negative valence the moment disaster struck. On that fateful Friday afternoon, each station rushed to report, each in its own fashion, on the quake in real time even as the ground was still shaking.

As zero hour arrived, network TV was thrust into a series of startling juxtapositions and incongruent pairings. The audio babble alone was surreal, a wobbly wall of sound composed of overlapping jingles, earthquake bells, buzzers and alarms, bits of dramatic dialogue, background music, stentorian narration, and breathless news reports.

Japan’s biggest TV station NHK, where I worked for a number of years as a writer, news polisher and producer, is a publicly supported broadcaster that also receives government funding -- and is sometimes criticized for an apparent lack of editorial independence for that reason -- was the first station to break into regular programming to report the big quake, just 12 seconds after the first jolt.

NHK interrupted its live coverage of a meeting in the Diet, Japan’s parliament. Recordings taken from the cameras recording that session would later show famous lawmakers reacting to the quake, some standing about unfazed, others ducking for cover.

The flagship NHK is linked to a multitude of seismic data-collection sites across the archipelago and has a network of remote cameras ready in case of emergency, providing an unblinking view of public thoroughfares long before the advent of web-cams. Typically the remote lens offers a rooftop glimpse of urban scenery and close-ups of vital infrastructure, available to the studio at the flip of a switch.

As the designated go-to station for earthquakes and other natural disasters, NHK typically puts up graphics and comprehensive lists of hard-hit areas with magnitude readings, giving other stations a heads-up and time to react.

NTV, a medium sized station with a somewhat conservative take on the news, became the first of the commercial networks to take note of the earthquake, cutting from a short taped piece about Tokyo mayor Ishihara Shintaro to a live studio shot just after 2:48 that afternoon.

Despite this supple reaction, NTV coverage quickly reverted to a series of commercials, presumably pre-booked for that time slot. This included a pretty model demonstrating how to use mascara remover towelette and facial cleansing foam followed by an ad for an American insurance company with the logo “We’re everyone’s hospital.”

TBS, another commercial station, broke the bad news next, not with a news report but just running text superimposed on top of the screen, clocking in just five seconds later than NTV. It saw no need to interrupt programming but continued to run its afternoon trendy drama, the sort of soap opera production/housewife fare for which the station is famous.

Meanwhile NHK was fully focused on the emergency, having gone from showing maps of the hard-hit regions in northeastern Honshu to live camera coverage of in-house presenters in the studio intercut with some shaky live views from train stations and tower tops in stricken areas. Tsunami warnings followed almost immediately.

Watching the other stations in simultaneity while NHK reported grim-faced on an earthquake of unprecedented magnitude, one was struck by just how many commercials and shifts of tone and mood can be squeezed into the span of a minute or two. But then, with an earthquake in progress, the hand of time seems to bend and slow down, if not halt entirely.

Ironically enough, one of the commercials is an exquisitely filmed travel pitch, about a fantasy escape to western Japan, which is exactly where rattled residents of Tokyo would seek to go in the days to come to get away from the twin perils of aftershocks and radiation.

About three minutes into the quake, the comparative coverage took on an eerie, unnerving quality. NHK panned the city skyline from a hard-shaking remote camera, while NTV showed a brief studio shot of violently swaying furniture and swinging light fixtures. Then, rather inexplicably, the latter shifted to a smooth, soothing commercial, zooming in on a fresh sliced cabbage, best eaten with a certain mayonnaise, followed by a tomato-themed ad for toothpaste meant to remedy swollen gums.

At the regional station, TV Tokyo, a timely earthquake alert flashed on the screen in a distinctly inauspicious manner. The bad news did not interrupt programming but was superimposed over an unconventional sales pitch for gravestones, featuring two comical middle-aged men, one in a tacky suit, the other in a graduation cap and gown talking about why you should only use the best grave stones because “A grave is your home for eternity.”

Meanwhile TBS continued its trendy drama of lovingly photographed stylish actors dressed in black, while Fuji TV cut to an empty news desk with chairs rolling around uncontrollably; apparently a failed attempt at a live update, with lights and cameras ready to go but no people in view.

A few seconds later, by which time the off-shore epicenter of a huge quake had been identified on NHK, three soap operas were still up and running, along with a story about fishing. And a commercial for “Body Cooler” featured a sexy actress standing on a beach as a long, smooth blue wave crashed in the background.

By the time Fuji TV finally broke the news at 2:51 PM, the story was old and redundant. Its viewers already knew about the earthquake because the Tokyo region had been shaking underfoot for minutes. From this point on, four out of six channels were offering dedicated quake coverage.

TV Asahi, which produces good news programs and sometimes battles with NHK over political differences, was inexplicably slow at the switch. While pandemonium was breaking loose on the other channels, Asahi aired an ad for a 1950s drama, showing seaside scenes of a man and a child in period costume perched on rocks in front of crashing waves, intercut with quaint scenes set in snowy rural mountains. Next up was a coming attraction filled with apocalyptic imagery, billowing explosions, people running scared, roaring flames everywhere, engulfing the map of Japan superimposed on the screen in advance of an urgent news break.

Finally, around five minutes into the tremblor, the control room switched to a newsreader who looked straight into a wobbly camera, and with considerable poise, backed by a visibly frantic newsroom, began to announce the bad news.

Six and a half minutes after the quake started to rattle Tokyo, TV Tokyo continued to broadcast its scheduled program, a jaunty tale about three jokey TV personalities who decide to try their hand at fishing. There is a close-up of a striped fish writhing in a net, then tossed into a blue basket to exclamations of pleasure about what a beautiful fish it is. At that point, TV Tokyo at last cut to full-time earthquake coverage.




BROADCAST RECORD OF SIX TV STATIONS AT THE TIME OF QUAKE


In a single afternoon, Tokyo television coverage went, in short order, from scenes of happy people pouring cups of healthy instant green tea to grim-faced newscasters estimating death tolls, from sleek, seductive ads for cars photographed under immaculate conditions, to the flotsam of cars and jetsam of houses helplessly bobbing in a black tide. Glossy takes of starlets doing their makeup and comedians promoting luxury products were replaced in sequence by jumpy camera phone images of devastation and despair.

Just as the quake struck, an insurance commercial was aired featuring a loud, obnoxious duck decked out in a curly yellow wig. By an odd coincidence, Gilbert Gottfried, the actor behind the voice of the Aflac duck in the related US commercial series was terminated a few days after the quake for making some callous jokes about real estate changes in Japan.



US AFLAC AD FEATURING GILBERT GOTTFRIED AS VOICE OF DUCK



SAMPLE AFLAC AD FOR JAPANESE MARKET, DIFFERENT DUCK


One minute the screens were beaming with joyous young actresses singing the praise of hair coloring foam, female-only phone apps and aromatic laundry scents, the next the viewer was assaulted with sad, unadorned faces numb with shock and despair. One minute a convenience store chain urged viewers to "Start a New Life". Moments later the slogan sounded like a bad joke as small towns were shown being ripped asunder by rushing waters of unspeakable destructive power.


http://www.youtube.com/user/yuanzency#p/a/u/1/uBCoUg8E0ns
SAMPLE FOOTAGE FROM TV TOKYO AT THE TIME THE QUAKE STRUCK



Three days after the quake and tsunami, Tokyo mayor Ishihara Shintaro may have nulled his chances for a fourth term as Tokyo mayor by telling Asahi Press Club journalists that the tsunami of March 11 was “tenbatsu” or “punishment from heaven” because the Japanese have become greedy and egotistical.



ASAHI KANTEI TWITTER POST ON ISHIHARA SHINTARO COMMENTS

How odd to hear a leader in a largely Buddhist country preach the wrath of God like a small town fundamentalist, but Ishihara, who first acquired fame as a youth writer, is something of a populist, and his penchant for shocking off-the-cuff comments of the sort a more thoughtful, cautious politician would be loathe to make, is part of his idiosyncratic persona. Still, he was enough of a politician to apologize after the posting of his comments on Twitter raised a storm of protest.
In days that followed the quake and tsunami, public service announcements began to take the place of commercials, as broadcasters returned to airing taped shows with time slots that advertisers were reluctant to fill. But the anodyne messages offered by Japan's advertising council also began to irritate viewers, due to the banality of the themes, such as rabbits and other cute cartoon animals teaching the value of making friends by exchanging polite greetings.




AD COUNCIL PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT AFTER THE QUAKE


So many viewers complained about the predictable punch line, brought to you by the advertising council or "A.C." that finally the end credit was dropped. The fact that complaints reached a threshold at which the normally one-way conversation between advertiser and viewer became a heated dialogue attests to the mounting frustration and quiet rage felt by ordinary Japanese as they watched the Fukushima Daiichi disaster unfold on television.

One company that showed a rare willingness to advertise during these depressing days is none other than the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, the company most responsible for negligence and lack of adequate safety procedures at the dangerously radioactive Fukushima complex. It might seem brazen for TEPCO to advertise when it itself is the topic of the nightly news, but it is engaged in a desperate PR battle to save its deteriorating reputation and stock valuation at a time when both are in free fall.

TEPCO’s non-apology apology looked like the notice for a wake, consisting of white lettering on a black background, apologizing for the inconvenience in highly formulaic terms that clarify nothing about the company’s responsibilities for the disaster.


TEPCO’S PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMERCIAL ON “INCONVENIENCE”

The spot was appropriately subdued, after all, TEPCO has long courted some of the best-paid copy artists, advertising executives and even manga artists in the business, such as Hirokane Kenji, famous for his long-running salariman series "Shima Kosaku," also produced “Genshi-chan” or Lil’ Atom as a TEPCO mascot.

Under the spell of its own overarching corporate vision embracing the unlimited power of a nuclear future, TEPCO has demonstrated in some of its questionable business decisions, short cuts and cover-ups risking the lives of its employees, a willingness to take calculated risks to meet the admittedly voracious demand for electric power in Tokyo and the surrounding megalopolis.



TEPCO AD FOR THE ENERGY RICH GOOD LIFE (BEFORE THE QUAKE)



GREATER TOKYO REGION BRIGHTLY LIT UP BY TEPCO



Far from being a stranger to advertising, TEPCO is a "generous" sponsor of television programming. The huge corporation, Japan’s largest energy firm, has scores of subsidiaries and an ample war chest to buy the best public relations and legal protection in the business. Its “generous” support for commercial television and advertising in print has given it more than a modicum of protection from hard-hitting journalism, not unlike the unspoken power of the American tobacco and oil industries that use advertising and sponsorship to sanitize their image and deflect serious inquiry.

But you won’t learn much about that, on public television NHK. NHK, not unlike America’s NPR, might be largely free of direct commercial pressures, but it is not free of influence. Both organizations share a finger in the wind quality of being over-sensitive to flavor-of-the-month political correctness. But NHK dwarfs NPR in terms of budget, reach and influence and it enjoys direct governmental links that make it more akin to VOA or Radio Free Europe.

Best described as a quasi-governmental entity, NHK enjoys de facto, if not de jure status as the voice of Japan. By pedigree and tradition it is the platform by which Japan speaks to the nation and the world. It was the home of Tokyo Rose during the Pacific War and when Emperor Hirohito made his famous announcement at the close of World War 2, he was talking to NHK. Even today it dominates coverage of Diet Sessions, Sumo wrestling, diplomatic news and, after the Tohoku earthquake, a special message from Emperor Akihito.




EMPEROR AKIHITO ADDRESS THE PEOPLE IN WAKE OF DISASTER


While NHK hires journalists by the dozen, and produces many thoughtful, reflective documentaries, it is dependent enough on government funding to fill its budget gap that it goes easy on governmental policy and large corporations that enjoy bureaucratic support.

Quasi-governmental NHK projects a mild-mannered persona, walking the narrow line between a willingness to report and an unwillingness to offend. It could also be described as a quasi-journalistic entity, given that it offers a media mix of fresh, original programming along with gun-shy cancellation of controversial programs and government influenced news product.

Still, NHK stands head and shoulders above the rest as the earthquake and disaster channel par excellence, thanks as much to its own vast information collecting infrastructure, with bureaus, reporters and cameras across the country, and significantly, due to its government-authorized links with Japan’s Meteorological Agency and Ministry of Transport.

That’s why it’s a good place to turn for government and corporate statements about the earthquake and tsunami, but not a good place to learn about corporate malfeasance that worsens the toll of nature’s fury and creates entirely man-made disasters. As former NHK television journalist Kamanaka Hitomi found, NHK was so loath to take on Japan's nuclear power industry when she was producing a news story on the topic that she quit in protest and has campaigned against nuclear power plants ever since. An insightful indictment of the formidable “power elite” that she was up against can be found in Andrew DeWit’s recent article on Japan’s power elite, that is the link between Tepco and other large utilities and government regulators. http://japanfocus.org/-Andrew-DeWit/3501

Having spent three years in the studios and newsrooms of NHK in Tokyo, followed by a sojourn at CCTV in China, I can attest to the notion that NHK broadcast news, while more hard-hitting and thorough than that of its Chinese counterpart, is alike in the sense that it shares a hybrid broadcasting mission in which the duty to inform is balanced by the duty to reassure the public and promote harmony.

Although opponents of nuclear power still face an uphill battle in fossil-fuel poor, energy-hungry Japan, there have long been strong individual voices, from Okinawa to Hokkaido speaking out about the dangers of harnessing for electricity generation the terrible power that reduced Hiroshima and Nagasaki to cinders.

Adding to an enormous and profound body of work on the topic of things nuclear, Oe Kenzaburo has just commented on the 3.11 crisis, linking it in a trinity with the atomic bombs dropped on Japan and Pacific atomic tests conducted by the US military. (http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2011/03/28/110328ta_talk_oe)

As a result of grievous damage to national infrastructure and power shortfalls, Japan will be pressed to find ways to lessen its dangerous dependence on nuclear power. Tokyo, where rolling blackouts are setting the tone for a new, less energy dependent lifestyle, is on the front line, confronting out of necessity its materialistic, energy-guzzling lifestyle square on.

There is no going back. The fantasy world depicted on Japanese TV just as the quake struck is a freeze-frame, a snapshot in time, of a time and place that has been changed irrevocably by the force of nature and the follies of man.

(as published in Japan Focus/Asia Pacific Journal, March 26, 2011)


Philip Cunningham is a professor of media studies who has taught at Chulalongkorn University and Doshisha University. He is the author of Tiananmen Moon: Inside the Chinese Student Uprising of 1989. A long-time student of Chinese, Japanese and Thai affairs.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TWEETING FROM THE JAPAN DISASTER FRONT

by Philip J Cunningham

The world of information made possible by Twitter technology is vast and fascinating, but what really rises above the Twittering noise, random comments and repetitive multiple posts of second, third and fourth hand material is the work of an intrepid individual, sharing, in short installments, an eye-witness view of an evolving situation. It is a take on the news as old as the news itself, first person testimony, offering a degree of coherence and individual fidelity that stands head and shoulders above the random, aggregate posts of a busy Twitter feed.

In a matter of just a few days, one of the most privileged, affluent societies in Asia has been hit and laid prone with multiple disasters, and though the worst may be over, it's far from over yet. Japan, indeed the world as a whole, will feel the influence of the deadly March 11 earthquake, tsunami, related aftershocks, eruptions and subsequent damage to nuclear power plants and more generally the economy for years to come.

The following is the tweet record of an American reporter, now an Asia correspondent for VOA, with 18 years experience in Japan as he covers what could be fairly described as the biggest news story of his career

The reporter is Steve Herman and his twitter tag is W7VOA.

Steve Herman and I worked together in the International Division of NHK in 1990-1, sharing a Tokyo office while working as televison producers on Asia Now and China Now respectively.

Even then, long before he became a radio correspondent for CBS and later President of the FCCJ, I thought him the epitome of a newsman, one who was living and breathing news round the clock. A solid reporter with an excellent understanding not just of international news issues but the minutae of how things work in Japan, Steve is a good guide to a big breaking story.

The veteran reporter happened to be out of Japan when the big quake struck but managed to get back in country, despite disruptions at airports and rail lines, within a day. His posts chronicle a journey across Japan as he seeks access and interviews in the three hardest hit areas, Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.

His intial entries in this informal online diary commence with short notes about news he is reading and re-tweets of posts made by other journalists he is following on Twitter, reacting to news rather than reporting it, and appropriately enough, as it takes him the better part of a day to get on the scene. RT is short for re-tweet and sometimes he posts links to published articles that he likes or makes reference to.

Once he’s on his way to the scene of tsunami damage and dysfunctional nuclear power plants, the second-hand news and reactions to the news are gradually replaced by first-person anecdotes, sensations, interviews and reporting. When the earth starts shaking, he describes it. Then he finds out more about the quake or aftershock, and tweets the best information available to him at the time.

Sometimes it's an earthquake warning with no earthquake, sometimes an earthquake with no warning.

The constant tickertape flow of tweets by him and other people on the scene start to be incorporated into news updates which are also tagged, retweeted and made reference to on the Internet, TV and radio.

In short, by looking at a series of thoughtful on the scene tweets, one can get a feel for how information travels, how information is culled and selected and how it is then broadcast and repeated until it becomes the received understanding of an event.

This sort of tweet diary is interesting even when second-hand and third hand information is collated and forwarded, but it really is at its best when it shifts to the first person, and the tweeter on the scene is telling us about things he or she sees, hears, wonders about and analyzes in an original way.

Following his twitter reports in real time is to be transported into the urgency of a breaking story in the company of a cool, seasoned guide who does not flinch in the face of obstacles or bad news. Even with the haiku-like discipline of writing in short bursts, there is narrative arc and a building sense of drama as the reporter moves onto the scene and traverses difficult, sometimes outright dangerous territory.

For all their news value and dramatic impact, tweets are also snippets of personal conversations put to print. In Steve’s case, as he makes a dash from a safe part of Japan to an area at risk, his friends on Twitter urged him not to go, to consider the dangers, to which his response was simple and firm.

“It's my job.”

Here, then, a record of informal tweets from veteran Asia correspondent Steve Herman as he does his job. While investigating a tough, multifaceted breaking story, he took the time to tweet updates about things he saw and heard and gleaned from official sources. His short, abbreviated observations were informative enough that within a few days time he had ten thousand “followers” reading and re-tweeting his posts, including fellow journalists, all the while filing formal, in-depth reports for Voice of America.

The posts here have been copied from his twitter history, and thus are in reverse chronological order. To better sense the drama of an unfolding story in which each subsequent development is unknown, one might browse his posts by scrolling from the bottom up.


Steve Herman
@W7VOA ÜT: 37.373258,140.371634
Voice of America (VOA) Bureau Chief/Correspondent, based in Seoul, mainly covering NE Asia (Korean peninsula &Japa
n).




(Tuesday March 15, 2011 11:59 PM Japan Time)


Dow Jones via Kyodo: Radio France to withdraw Japan staff in wake of nuke radiation detected.
21 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


American Forces Press Service - Personnel in & around FA Yokosuka&Atsugi told to limit outdoor activitie… (cont) http://deck.ly/~YqXHE
23 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Another aftershock now 0123 in Fukushima-ken -- not so strong.
27 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


A bit of VOA &;A from me here in Koriyama on how the Fukushima folks are feeling: http://bit.ly/hL7dp2 (mp3 file)
29 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Kyodo: Japan gov't orders injection of water into No. 4 reactor spent fuel pool at Fukushima-1.
49 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


There are, after all, estimated 5,000 dead/missing in Iwate-ken.
58 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Anyone spotted DPJ bigwig Ichiro Ozawa (of Iwate-ken) post-tsunami? Blogger/Twitter buzz in Japanese that he's "missing."
59 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply


The Japan quake last week may have shortened Earth days and moved the planet's axis a tiny bit. http://go.usa.gov/4GA
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


RT @martyn_williams: RT @norishikata: On 16th, 8 experts of US NRC will arrive to give tech advice to respond to Fukushima 1
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Newest quake in Tohoku 3 mins. ago is M6.0.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


It's a Shindo 3 Aomori & Iwate-ken.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Another aftershock now at 1225 JST here in Fukushima-ken.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


TEPCO: May use helicopters within a few days to pour water on Reactor 4 at Fukushima-1 nuke plant to try to cool spent-fuel pool.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Japan's P-wave warning system gave a 3.5 seconds heads-up for tonight's Shizuoka quake.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Shizuoka media report some utility poles damaged by quake. Also the typical TV shots of smashed bottles on floor of stores.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


The Shizuoka quake hit at 2231 JST was M6.4 at depth of 10km nr Mt. Fuji.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


JMA: No changes observed for possible volcanic activity on Mt. Fuji.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


JMA: No relations can be found between tonight's Shizuoka quake & the M9.0. Don't know if last Friday's triggered this latest one.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


We're tweeing right now about tonight's Shizuoka temblor, not last Friday's M9.0. JMA holding news conference now.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Translation: This wasn't the "Big One" for the Tokai region.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


JMA: Pressure pattern different for tonight's quake than would be expected from anticipated huge Tokai quake.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


JMA: 1st x Shizuoka has been hit by a Shindo 6+ quake.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


JMA: Six aftershocks so far tonight from the Shizuoka quake. No tsunami worry, but concern about landslides.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Chubu Electric: No significant damage to Hamaoka nuke plant at Omaezaki, Shizuoka-ken from tonight's quake.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Poignant piece about US diplomat who recently lost key Japan post & now focused on quake relief - http://bit.ly/aXcxq
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


TV Shizuoka: Injuries reported following tonight's big quake.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Kyodo also reporting fires in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


NHK: Some fires reported around Fujinomiya, Shizuoka following tonight's quake.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Mt. Fuji facts: Considered active volcano for past 5,000 yrs. 16 eruptions since 781 AD. Last eruption: 1707-8.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Shizuoka PD: Some power outages reported following big quake.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


No tsunami alert from the two big jolts in Japan in the last hour.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


All we need now to complete the picture is for Mt. Fuji to erupt.
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Fujinomiya-machi is how the name of the epicenter location is pronounced for the M6.2.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


If Shizuoka comes away with no damage from a Shindo (Japanese scale) 6+ that'll be amazing.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


TEPCO: No reports of power outages in Tokyo from latest big quake.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

BenMabley Ben Mabley
by W7VOA

Earthquake - shaking significantly in Osaka for the first time since Friday
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Epicenter for the big Shizuoka quake is Fujimiya-shi (if I'm reading the kanji correctly).
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Here we go again with an aftershock in Fukushima.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


NHK live shot from Shizuoka looks amazingly normal.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


The 6.2 was ours here a few minutes before in Miyagi/Fukushima.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


M6.0 at depth of 10km for the Shizuoka quake.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Look for fresh tsunami warnings.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


6+ on Japanese scale is potentially quite destructive.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


M6.2.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Shizuoka 6+ Shindo!
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


5- Shindo. Wow.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


I can feel it slightly here in Fukushima-ken as well.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


It's following by less than a minute the quake here. Amazing.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Shaking seen in Shizuoka in NHK live shot.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Its hitting Tokyo.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Yamanashi, Kanagawa, Shizuoka earthquake warning now issued. Stand by.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Now earthquake warning!
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


It's a Shindo 4 in Miyagi and Fukushima.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Tsunami alert may be issued according to JMA.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Now settling down. It's definitely not the M7 aftershock that's been forecast.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Whole hotel is moving here in Koriyama.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


It's a decent shake, lasting about 30 seconds.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Shaking now in Tohoku at 10:28pm
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Worst quake/tsunami-hit areas in NE Japan now forecast to get freezing temps, even snow.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Kyodo: TEPCO unable to pour water into Fukushima-1 No. 4 reactor's storage pool for spent fuel.
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


RT @markmackinnon: RT @Reuters: FLASH: French nuclear agency says Fukushima nuclear accident is level 6 on INES scale - Kyodo
4 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

martyn_williams Martyn Williams
by W7VOA
TEPCO believes 400mSv reading recorded this morning is due to debris from No4 reactor explosion - TBS
4 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


At Matsukizushi in Koriyama enjoying the ¥1500 Saigai (Disaster) Sushi Set. www.matukizusi.com http://4sq.com/gMJK3i
4 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply


Personal note: I see my total followers no. now over 10,000. Wow. Will try to follow many of you back once we get through the nuke crisis.
5 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




M5.2 shake at depth of 10km, centered here in Fukushima-ken.
5 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Another aftershock here in Tohoku at 20:07 JST. Not so big. But a good little roll.
5 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




My latest VOA report on the nuclear crisis here in Fukushima: http://bit.ly/fh5Vme #Japan
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Moderate aftershock.
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Shaking in Fukushima again.
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




NHK: A 70-year-old woman has been rescued in Iwate-ken after 92 hours buried in quake rubble.
7 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




While chance of meltdown leading to criticality seems very remote, we're told that the spent fuel pools are exposed to the atmosphere.
8 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo reports spent nuke fuel pool at Fukushima may be boiling. (I'm more concerned about these exposed pools than meltdown danger).
8 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Small shaking now in Fukushima Pref. Light aftershock compared to previous ones.
9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Just spoke with a family from the Fukushima 20-30km zone. They and others left Iwaki City, saying they don't trust gov't advisories/info.
9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @chicoharlan: Complex nuke news + inherent Japanese language vagueness + NHK translation... So opaque. Like verbal Escher painting.
9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan's top gov't spokesman talking to reporters again, trying to assure things might be getting better at Fukushima reactors.
9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Getting word that Prime Min. Kan preparing to address nation again. Reliable source info.
9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martin_koelling: Tokyo station: no mass flight, still plenty seats available, BUT long lines, many mothers with kids. ...
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @TimeOutTokyo: CouchSurfing has started a list of people in the area willing to offer accomodation to evacuees: http://bit.ly/hCUY0J
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martyn_williams: Just got a press release: Japanese porn producer pledges March profits to quake relief
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




More small levels of radiation being detected around Tokyo, according to Kyodo.
12 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply



martyn_williams Martyn Williams
by W7VOA

Nikkei Stock Average Now Down 13% at 8,363.46
12 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Topix futures trading suspended briefly after plunges in Tokyo stocks.
12 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Nikkei stock index off 1250 points at the moment.
12 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Nikkei continues plunge -- off 1,000 points.
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo reporting "small amounts" of above normal levels of radiation detected in Tokyo.
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan benchmark stock index, Nikkei, down 8% amid nuclear crisis, quake recovery woes.
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: Fire at No.4 reactor apparently put out.
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Hydrogen explosion occurs at Fukushima No. 4 reactor.
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Radiation 400 times annual legal limit measured near Fukushima No. 3 reactor.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Reiterates that current rad levels will not harm human health between the 20km and 30km radius area.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Keep calm, we can continue with our daily lives.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




(By the way, I am about 75 km from the nuke plant, for those asking).
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano again says actual rad release figures should come from TEPCO but reiterates high readings are likely coming from No. 4 reactor fire.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan top gov't spokesman says spent fuel in Reactor 4 explosion could be causing the fresh, very high rad readings.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano says Prime Min. Kan made final decision on not evacuate those in 20-30km zone.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Very little possibility of harm to human health from these reactors. (??)
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano says reports part of container vessel at No. 2 reactor damaged.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




He didn't answer the questions.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano, answering question, refers query to TEPCO on water injection process.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Entire Japanese Cabinet dealing with this situation.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




But Edano acknowledges this depends on wind speed, direction.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Harm to human minimal or not at all away from plant.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Reiterates PM Kan's order for those around nuke plant to stay indoors & keep windows shut. Do not use ventilation. Keep laundry in.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: 800 staffers were evacuated at Fukushima-1. 50 remain working on emergency cooling.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




We're now talking about milliseverts. These are levels that can impact human health, warns Edano.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Problem is how to maintain the cooling, says Edano.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Water injection ops continuing at 1,2,3 reactors at Fukushima-1. Going smoothly. We believe cooling is effective.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Hole observed in No. 2 reactor.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Blast at No. 2 reactor came 30 mins. after incident at No. 4.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Looks like Reactor No. 4 is exposed.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Hydrogen being generated so we're seeing radioactive substances being released.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Hydrogen explosion seems also to have occurred at No. 4 reactor as was case with No. 1, 3 reactors.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




No fuel rods in Reactor 4 but spent fuel is inside it.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Reactor 4 was out of operation at time of quake.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: Reactor No. 4 is on fire.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Edano: TEPCO will announce specific and accurate figures on radiation.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Now Chief Cabinet Sect'y Edano speaking.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Prime Min. Kan doesn't want to comment on each individual reactor, saying that info should come from TEPCO.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




He's going to take one question only.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan requests the Japanese public act calmly.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan: Every effort being made to avoid further explosions, radiation leaks.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan says for Fukushima-2 everyone should evacuate 10km radius.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




That was for those around Fukushima-1.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Those within 30km should remain indoors.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan: "We need now for everyone to move out of 20km radius around the Fukushima-1 plant."
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan: "Very high risk of further radioactive material coming out."
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan: Radiation has spread from the reactors and readings seem "very high."
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan PM Kan: "Every possible method has been used to cool the reactor..."
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Please listen calmly, Kan says.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Prime Min. Kan speaking now to the citizens of Japan.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: 2 USFJ pumping vehicles heading for Fukushima.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply



martyn_williams Martyn Williams
by W7VOA
@
@W7VOA Heard the same, especially European crews
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




I think this premature over-react but told that bosses of some int'l news crews in Sendai ordered them to evac to the North amid rad fears.
14 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




NHK: Prime Min. Kan will have a "message" at 1100 (40 mins. from now).
15 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan chief gov't spokesman to meet with reporters in 45 min. Also we're expecting a statement to the nation from Prime Min. Kan soon.
15 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Nikkei has dropped to 9000 level.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Fukushima's No. 2 reactor container damaged, radiation leak feared.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo quotes TEPCO for first time admitting possibility of a "meltdown" at Fukushima-1
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martyn_williams: Tokyo's Nikkei down 5% at 9:20. Follows 6% drop on Monday.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Radiologists say the average person is usually exposed to about 1000 µSv/hr annually.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Recorded rad peak emission of 8217 µSv/hr this morning At Fukushima-1 is 8x/legal limit.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Nikkei now down about 400 points.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan's benchmark stock index, the Nikkei, drops 2% at Tuesday's open.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: All workers being evacuated except those critical for trying to cool the reactor.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan Nucl. & Industrial Safety Agency: Reactor's pressure-suppression system likely damaged
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




But rad level at Fukushima-1 No. 2 reactor exceeded legal limit about 3 hrs ago.
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: Water level rises to cover 1.2 m of No. 2 reactor's fuel rods. That's the good news...
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Fukushima nuke crisis worsening...
16 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




My VOA report on how Sendai is struggling to hang on: http://bit.ly/fWThDF
22 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




This one lasting a long time but not super strong.
22 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Another aftershock now at 0300 Tuesday.
22 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Fate of several tens of thousands of people, including about 8,000 residents of Otsuchi in Iwate-ken, remains unknown.
23 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Latest on US Navy support to quake/tsunami relief ops: http://bit.ly/f5J0jo
23 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




The latest auto-prediction broadcast nationwide looks like a false alarm.
23 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply




Initial P-wave forecasting is known as the Tsuboi method. Warnings are broadcast automatically on national TV/radio in Japan.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Nothing shaking here in Fukushima.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Usually quite accurate...
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




P-wave data allows for broadcast warnings before actual shaking happens.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Quake warning now.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: Radiation 2x max seen so far detected at Fukushima nuke plant.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: Fuel rods fully exposed again at No. 2 reactor of Fukushima-1 nuke plant.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan nuke agency now says fuel rods at Fukushima Reactor No. 2 were fully exposed for 2.5 hrs.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan's top gov't spokesman says Fukushima's three reactors highly likely facing melting.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Report from Sendai: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Fatalities-Destruction-Litter-Japans-Tsunami-hit-Northeast-Coast-117923119.html
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Steam being released at No. 2 reactor of Fukushima nuke plant.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Fuel rods at No. 2 reactor of Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant now fully exposed.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Fuel rods at No. 2 reactor of Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant partially exposed.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Epicenter in Ibaraki-ken it seems. M 4.8 at depth of 30 km. Nothing to fret about compared to the other aftershocks.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Significant shaking again here now in Tohoku region.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Vegetable prices have doubled since Friday in Sendai.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @bizbayron: #NYTimes reports #USS Ronald Reagan passed through a radiation cloud in #Japan, crew on deck exposed.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Nagano-ken quake warning now.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




M6.3 quake in Tohoku.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Shindo 3 quake Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Moderate aftershock in Tohoku region?
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Seeing street signs shaking in Sendai right now.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Almost no restaurants open in Sendai. Now at Nakau -- only choice is kare udon, small or large. Hot water to drink, even no tea.
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Huge lines downtown Sendai at the few clothing stores, markets open.,
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Will post more photos from Sendai, along with reports, later Monday at voanews.com
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




At Port of Sendai. Literally many hundreds of vehicles smashed together. Destruction in every direction. http://plixi.com/p/83900253
14 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Walking through path of tsunami in Sendai. Flattened buildings, overturned and crushed cars, mud everywhere. Eerie silence.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We're heading to another tsunami devastation site near Sendai airport.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Alarm over new tsunami as media relayed reports of incoming wave, including from gov't minister tasked with disasters.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




JMA says no tsunami but NHK reporting helo pilot observed incoming big wave and we can't move closer to the coast until police get clear sig
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




I'm 3km from coast at Sendai. Tsunami observed incoming to south of us in Fukushima-ken.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Being stopped by police where tsunami hit Friday in Sendai. Another large tsunami may hit momentarily.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @HirokoTabuchi: Radiation Detected 60 Miles From Fukushima http://nyti.ms/iil46O
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




1,000 bodies just reported found on shore here in Miyagi Pref.'s Ojika Peninsula.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Entering Sendai.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Fresh big quake in Tokyo.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Just entered Miyagi Pref. On the expressway closed to public. Convoys of JASDF military vehicles, ambulances, water trucks heading north.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Common sign here in Fukushima City: "No Gasoline" #jpquake http://plixi.com/p/83853549
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: BOJ injects 7 tril. yen into short-term money market over quake concerns
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan TOPIX stock index now down 7%.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Empty shelves at Family Mart, Fukushima City. http://plixi.com/p/83850029
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Nikkei stock index plunges 2% at Monday open.
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Higher than normal rad levels from Fukushima were around 0220 JST Monday. We're told no new nuke plant explosions, however.
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Will head to Sendai from Fukushima this morning. Expecting spotty 3G coverage so maybe few tweets during my Mo… (cont) http://deck.ly/~bTeXH
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Fukushima tremor now different than the Ibaraki one a few minutes ago.
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Only a Shindo 2 this latest one in Fukushima.
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And now we're rolling here again in Fukushima at 0721.
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Quake is in Ibaraki -- M4.3. Very small compared to recent aftershocks.
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Quake south of us in Tokyo just now. Shindo 3 - Ibaraki.
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Kyodo: Radiation level again tops legal limit at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant. #Japan
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO: Unprecedented power cuts for Tokyo area to begin at 1000 JST today. #Japan
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




US NRC: Available info indicates weather conditions have taken the small releases from Fukushima reactors out to sea away from population.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo now reporting issues at yet another Japan nuke power plant -- this one in Tokai where FD says cooling system pumps have stopped.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Have kept NHK on all night in hotels since Friday, so as able to react instantly. Tonight will be night #3. Expecting aftershocks.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Founder Patrick Newell closing Tokyo International School for the week saying "challenging times in Tokyo no… (cont) http://deck.ly/~QOgNt
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




JT: Communications circuits to get worse in quake-hit areas in days ahead - http://bit.ly/hV89ZJ #Japan
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




No, really, the erupting volcano is nothing to worry about after a mega-quake, tsunami and nuke plant failures - http://bit.ly/eyJPRv #Japan
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Estimated final quake/tsunami death toll for Japan, based on various officials' comments, varies now between 3,000 and 10,000+.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Yonhap: South Korea redirected some incoming shipments of LNG to Japan to help address potential energy shortages.
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US State Dept.: U.S. citizens should avoid travel to #Japan at this time.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @japantimes: PDF of scheduled power outages http://ow.ly/4doYW In Japanese only for now.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Here's link to the French Embassy advisory: http://bit.ly/gEVXHD
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Reuters: France urges its citizens to leave Tokyo - http://reut.rs/gdkQ1z
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I'll have something to tweet about the French Embassy thing in a minute.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




My latest VOA report from Fukushima: http://bit.ly/hjl57x #nuclear
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Rolling blackouts in Japan might continue through end of next month.
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It's M6.0 at depth of 10km.
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Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima strongest hit by this latest aftershock.
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It's a big one right now. Whole hotel is shaking.
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Again another aftershock -- it's getting bigger.
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All foreign correspondents I've met here remarking on the amazing grace of the Japanese people in face of suc… (cont) http://deck.ly/~x0nY7
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Prime Min. Kan tonight acknowledged the obvious: Japan facing worst crisis since WW2.
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Another aftershock again we're feeling now in Fukushima. Not so strong.
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TEPCO: Rolling blackouts for Japan from tomorrow. Every regional utility to share burden, take turns of 3 hour outages.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




I lived in Japan for total of 18 years & only remember electricity going off once or twice.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




NHK sagely explaining how one of the problems with transferring power along the electric grid is due to fac… (cont) http://deck.ly/~N6Xhn
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Chief gov't spokesman's words, reading between the lines, not reassuring about fate of Fukushima #3 reactor.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan gov't admits food relief for quake/tsunami-hit areas not adequate.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kan says the situation here in Fukushima with the nuke plants is very serious.
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Prime Min. Kan calls for Japanese to conserve electricty amid shortage due to quake, nuke reactors damage.
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Kan says 12,000 people rescued so far.
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Kan is speaking from his office as word comes that the official confirmed death toll has surpassed 1,000. #jpquake
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Prime Min. Kan speaking to Japan now.
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Shindo 3 in Iwate-ken.
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A larger aftershock now.
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RT @PacificFleet: USS Tortuga on way to Otaru where it will onload 700 JGSDF personnel & deliver them to Akita #JPquake
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




JMA announcing all #tsunami alerts canceled for Japanese Pacific coast. A bit of good news finally.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




It's a Shindo 3 in Iwate-ken apparently.
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It's shaking again here in Fukushima, a long smooth roll this time -- that tells me a strong quake but far away.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Scene at radiation monitoring station in Koriyama, Fukushima-ken: http://bit.ly/hZovbV #nuclear
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Shaking here in Koriyama, Fukushima. Not very big compared to previous aftershocks.
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply



kenji_rikitake Kenji Rikitake
by W7VOA

Miyagi Police Dept Chief said the death in the prefecture will exceed 10,000; 379 bodies are recovered as of noon (NHK http://is.gd/qiwot3)
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We're in Koriyama, where Fukushima evacuees are being checked for radiation exposure. http://plixi.com/p/83652095
13 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




That's JMA upgrade, not USGS: RT @jlehane3: @W7VOA Quake now upgraded to 9.0 FRI
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @n1vux: @W7VOA your source is consistent with @arclight and @badastronmer 's student's father
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Nuke vet says fuel pins cracked releasing cesium 137 & iodone 131.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martyn_williams: 70% chance of Magnitude 7-class quake in next three days, 50% chance for three days after that - Japan Met Agency
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@
@MikeWHoll Nuke vet is Japanese without inside info about history of the plants and industry.
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But he says cooling failure is a terrible situation. Predicts Reactor-1 at Fukushima-1 can never be used again. Removal will be "big issue."
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Nuke vet says Japan gov't taking conservative steps but from scientific standpoint the announced rad readings are not signficant.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Nuke vet says no one ever planned for tsunami above 2m high at Fukushima. But waves were 4 to 7m and wiped out power system.
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...but says "partial meltdown" not responsible term for journalists to use as no one can see inside reactor vessel to confirm.
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Did background phone interview with respected, retired nuke power plant expert. Terms situation as likely partial core damage to reactor...
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




My latest VOA story on web (might be a bit out-dated already): http://bit.ly/dMMdwD #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




84 y.o. woman nuke evacuee in shelter just tried to give me her rice ball lunch! She says I have a handsome face! #Fukushima
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martyn_williams: Sat. explosion occurred when hydrogen that was being vented from containment vessel mixed with oxygen - MOFA official
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Gov't says rad level briefly at 1,200ms at Fukushima.
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Thanks to Red Cross volunteer they'll get rice balls, water today. But not bath/shower facilities.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




There are about 2,000 evacuees here in Miharu, from Futaba, Okuma and Tomioka towns around Fukushima nuke plants.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Miharu town: nuke evacuees watching TV report about radiation around their homes. http://plixi.com/p/83609534
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Kyodo: Fukushima plant radiation at 882 micro sievert vs 500 allowable in 1 hour.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Many DM/replies to me asking whether/how many reactors melting down here. I'm in no position to give definitive answer right now.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Looks like M6.3 or 6.4. #jpquake
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Also Shindo 4 Ibaraki. Here in Fukushima in car didn't notice it.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Strong quake in Kanto -- Shindo 4 in Chiba.
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Spoke w- nuke evacuee at 7-11 in Koriyama. Says doesn't trust gov't info. Understands need to avoid panic but he asks gov't to reveal all.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Empty shelves at 7-11 in Koriyama, Fukushima-ken. A lot of beer, coffee in can still left. #jpquake http://plixi.com/p/83587059
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Traveling in car with NPR reporter & Spain's Ponto Radio correspondent. As the only one who speaks Japanese I'm the interpreter! #Fukushima
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Heading east in Fukushima trying to reach evacuees from radiation exclusion zone.
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Latest jolt was at depth of 10km and M6.2.
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Also Shindo 4 here in Fukushima-ken.
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Strongest jolt was in Yamagata-ken.
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This is a good shake -- big throughout Tohoku region.
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Major aftershock NOW
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Chief govt't spokesman now briefing reporters again in Tokyo about nuke emergencies. Watching on TV from Fukushima.
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So please check the voanews.com site from time to time to see my updates from Fukushima. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Updating my VOA stories on the nuke emergency here in Fukushima. I don't have net access to post the link to my stories....
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Two significant aftershocks here Sunday morning in last 20 mins. #jpquake
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Unless more aftershocks stir us we're crawling in the futon at only open ryokan we found near Fukushima airport for few hours of sleep.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Apologies for not replying to every query. No internet here so no Tweetdeck to follow DM's etc. Doing everything off of my Blackberry.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Newest aftershock in NE Japan: M6.1 at depth of 30km.
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This is just surreal -- the aftershocks are coming more frequently tonight.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




4 on Japanese scale in Aomori.
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We're feeling it here in Fukushima -- rolling motion, subtle.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Hitting Iwate now -- north of us.
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Another quake warning now for Iwate!
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Sakaimura just got hit at 2335JST with a 5- on Japan scale (recorded as M4.4 Richter).
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




It was M4.3 -- didn't feel it here in Fukushima.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




It's farther south than predicted -- in Ibaraki, 3 on Japan scale. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We're about to get hit again according to JMA warning being broadcast.
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Fresh #tsunami warning issued for NE Japan Pacific coast.
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Yet another aftershock in nearby Miyagi: M5.8.
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RT @martyn_williams: 3 civilians in Fukushima w- radiation poisoning. Were outside awaiting rescue nr plant at time of explosion - NHK
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @martyn_williams: Magnitude 6.0, 40 kms under the Pacific Ocean off Japan's eastern coast - JMA via NHK
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @SHIMADEN: @W7VOA 5 Lower Japan shake scale in Hamadori, Fukushima.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Big big aftershock in Fukushima now!
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RT @AmbassadorRoos: US military is prepared to augment Japanese Self Defense Forces with all available assets & equipment upon request.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We're feeling an aftershock now in Fukushima. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




In Fukushima-ken. We have 3G mobile sig but no internet access. Most places have no water. Electricity on however. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japan Prime Min. Kan to address nation momentarily.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Another quake just hit about 7 mins. ago in Ichinoseki, Iwate-ken. 4 on Japanese shake scale.
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Another strong quake hitting -- Nagano-ken.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Evac radius around Fukushima nuke plant expanded to 20km.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




How ironic: at 7/11 in Fukushima there's a donation box for relief for the earthquake...in New Zealand.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Evac area around affected Fukushima nuke plant expanded to 10km from 3km.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Chief Cabinet Sect'y Eda in Tokyo now speaking to reporters about the Fukushima nuke incident.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Loud explosion at Fukushima nuke plant.
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Japan nuke agency says pressure successfully released from Fukushima No. 1 reactor. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We have landed at Fukushima. #jpquake
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @tmiyagi: The #Japan Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency website is http://kinkyu.nisa.go.jp/ (via @buvery)
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply



kenji_rikitake Kenji Rikitake
by W7VOA

JR East: Jouetsu/Nagano Shinkansen bullet train will operate from 4pm (NHK TV)
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




I'm hoping we'll find an ample supply of potassium iodide after we land in Fukushima.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




It's my job. RT @MichaelCromer: .@W7VOA Dude, you SURE you want to fly into that beast's belly?
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




AP quotes experts saying if nuke meltdown, risk zone is 6km radius. #Fukushima #Japan
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Japanese media report radioactive cesium detected near Fukushima plant quoting nuke safety commission.
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Kyodo also reporting that Fukushima plant may be experiencing meltdown. #Japan
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




(AP) - Japan nuclear safety commission official says meltdown at nuke power plant possible
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




We're at the gate at Itami for a flight to Fukushima due to depart in 30 minutes. Let's see if they let us fly into the belly of the beast.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply



martyn_williams Martyn Williams
by W7VOA

RT @dicklp: Nuclear expert tells The Times: meltdown has technically begun at Fukushima.
12 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




TEPCO warning of blackouts today for wide areas of Japan as electricity in short supply. #jpquake
11 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




Along with Spanish ABC correspondent and NPR reporter from Seoul, in cab en route Itami airport, rushing to catch plane to Fukushima.
11 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @SHIMADEN: Emergency communication on ham radio at 7.043 MHz SSB in #Japan.
11 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




RT @dicklp: Testing the road north of Tokyo. Tohoku Expressway is still closed. #jpquake
11 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply




I'm at 関西国際空港 (Kansai International Airport) ✈ (泉州空港北1番地, 泉佐野市) w/ 4 others http://4sq.com/flqkq2
11 Mar Favorite Retweet Reply