Japanquake Wiki


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Tokyo, Japan - seen from the North Observatory 45th floor - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku.

Welcome to the Japanquake WikiEdit

Whether abroad or in Japan, Japanese or foreign, we all share many questions and worries as a result of this earthquake. There is a strong need for a shared, communal place for answers. If you are looking for that, hopefully you can find an answer here. If you see something missing or to improve, please contribute.

This is not trying to replace Twitter, Facebook or other online offerings that have provided a steady stream of information. Rather a place to put these bits and pieces into context and divide helpful information from rumors. Feel free to post anything on here as well as edit/comment.

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware, that not everything on this Wiki is necessarily a fact - judge for yourself and if you see something wrong add a short comment why you think so.

We will make it through this tragedy! 頑張りましょう!

Please look here, for donation and support information

東日本大震災 (Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai)Edit

This is what the magnitude 9.0 megaquake that shook Northern Japan on March 11th 2011 became known as. Apart from the immediate destruction it resulted in a tsunami on Japan's east coast and the worst nuclear accident in decades. Wikipedia has more extensive coverage of the events leading up to the disaster and a general assessment of the situation.

Getting HelpEdit

This is the place for information helpful to those directly affected by the quake or those trying to get in touch with a missing person.

Evacuating safelyEdit

This web site provides a basic guide in several languages about how to act in the event of an earth quake.

Looking for missing personsEdit

Google Person Finder is now tracking data for close to 200,000 people presumed missing.

Japan's three major mobile phone companies (Docomo, AU, Softbank) offer services to confirm the safety of missing people by entering their phone numbers.

Getting access to information if you don't speak JapaneseEdit

Acima has set up a hotline for non Japanese speaking Disaster Victims of Tohoku district - off the Pacific Ocean Earthquake:

We are providing you the most updated earthquake information and any other related infomation of your request, and interpretation service using Skype or MSN Messenger 24/7.Over 100 volunteers from all over the world are here for you!! Languages spoken include English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Cantonese, Thai, Tagalog, Korean, Hindi, Marathi, Shanghainese, Indonasian...

Using Public TransportationEdit

Jorudan offers information about current train schedules and suspensions in the Kanto area in Japanese. Kanto Train Status offers the same information, translated into English by volunteers, for those who do not speak Japanese. TimeOut Tokyo also offers train schedule information in English. Narita Airport informs about the status of international flights.

Getting shelterEdit

This Google Map shows shelters and evacuation sites in Tokyo (Site in Japanese).Couchsurfing has built a platform where volunteers offer people in need temporary accomodation in their homes.

Access to electricityEdit

Enter your ZIP code here (site in Japanese) to check when your area will be affected by the controlled blackouts. Also check the Tokyo Electric Power Blackout Calendar for a blackout schedule.

Preserve body warmthEdit

OLIVE has a very useful guide in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, on how to survive in a disaster area. The guide includes information on how to preserve body warmth.

Basic commoditiesEdit

OLIVE has a very useful guide in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, on how to survive in a disaster area. The guide includes information on how to make basic commodities like female hygiene napkins or waterless toilets from simple materials you might have on hand.

Support EffortsEdit

Selection of ways to support the victims of this tragedy and introduce worthy causes.

There are a number of initiatives on how to ease the burden of those affected either by gifting or by responsible behavior.


The official advice is not to move from the area you are currently in. Until things are considered more stable, it is suggested that you stay local to your house, so as not to overcrowd transportation and disaster relief routes. Heading to the afflicted area will only crowd the situation, putting more pressure on the limited resources they currently have. For the time being, money donations are considered to be the best way you can help. []


Information on who can and who cannot donate blood for quake victims. Restrictions apply mostly to people who have lived abroad.

Map of blood donation centers in Tokyo by the Japanese Red Cross. The following ones are open, according to TimeOut Tokyo:

(A) Shinjuku Station west entrance blood donation room (03 3348 1211); (C) Shinjuku east entrance blood donation room (03 5269 1431; near to Isetan); (D) blood donation room 'Shibu 2' (03 3770 0820); (E) Hachiko-Mae blood donation room (03 3476 2880); (F) Yurakucho blood donation room (03 3213 8666); (G) Akiba blood donation room (03 5298 2811); (H) Akiba-F blood donation room (03 3251 8201); (I) Ikebukuro East blood donation room (03 3988 9000); (J) Blood donation room Buratto (03 5950 3000); (K) Blood donation room Kichijoji Takion (04 2221 9000); (M) Machida blood donation room Comfy (04 2732 8494)


You can donate directly and online to the Japanese Red Cross online via Google Crisis Response. Cause Action has an extensive list of donation campaigns for quake and tsunami victims (Site in Japanese). Operation Tomodachi has more up-to-date information on giving effectively.. Japan volunteers has more information in English. Apparently, you can make cash donations at all Lawson convenience stores. Japan Volunteers also offers some hints on how to organize donation drives at your workplace, etc.. This article (in Japanese) gives a bit of information on where money you give to the Japanese Red Cross and other NGOs ends up.

Recently, several reports of donation fraud have come up in the Japanese media (cf. e.g. this article from Yomiuri Shinbun). It would be prudent to stick to established aid organisations or sources you can trust personally.

Give shelterEdit

Couchsurfing has built a platform where volunteers offer people in need temporary accomodation in their homes. Love4Japan offers a similar service and has so far mostly gathered hosts from Germany and other parts of Europe.


Japan Volunteer has assembled information on organisations that accept donations of material goods (blankets, food, etc.).

The International School in Yokohama is accepting donations of "warm clothing (including winter coats), blankets, shoes (not sandals), clean socks, underwear (new), sleeping bags, personal products (shampoo, toothpaste, soap etc), disposable diapers, backpacks & bags, and sealable lunch bags" for people in the Tohoku region until Friday, the 18th. For more information, please visit their Facebook site.

As of Friday the 18th, Tokyo city is now accepting donations for quake victims from residents:

  1. Supplies for babies: antifebrile sheets (Netsusamasheet) / nappies / wipes / baby lotion / baby oil etc.
  2. supplies for the elderly: diapers / nursing care supplies ( wipes, thickener for foods) etc.
  3. Others: contact lens care products ( cleaning solutions, cases) / pocket warmers (Hokkairo) / sanitary goods / paper cups / kitchen wrap
  4. water

See The Japan Times for more details.

Charity salesEdit

Jean Snow offers a list of things you can buy with all of the proceeds going to quake victims.


How to support relief and reconstruction efforts if you are not in Japan.

USA and other countriesEdit

Japan Volunteers recommends giving directly to Japanese NGOs like JEN and Second Harvest Japan. The American Red Cross as well as the International Red Cross / Red Crescent accept donations. If you have an Apple iTunes account, you can easily make a donation via the iTunes store. also offers an easy way to donate. The Japan Society in New York is also collecting money for quake victims. Check out TimeOut Tokyo for even more international relief organisations and Rick Martin for more ways to donate. InterAction has also a list of religious organisations, NGOs etc. whom you can give to.


The German Red Cross financially supports rescue efforts by the Japanese Red Cross. Donations can be made online and are tax-deductible in Germany. No credit card is required. The German Deutsche Zentralinstitut für Soziale Fragen (DZI) has put together further information on how to donate effectively (German PDF file) and offers some alternative relief organisations, including Caritas and Diakonie. People should be careful not to fall for potentially fraudulent donation drives, as the DZI explains:

Die Spendenaktionen für die Opfer des Erdbebens und des Tsunamis in Japan rufen auch Betrüger auf den Plan. Das Deutsche Zentralinstitut für soziale Fragen (DZI) warnte vor einem aktuellen Fall: Unter Verwendung einer angeblichen E-Mail des DZI habe eine Person versucht, bei verschiedenen Tageszeitungen eine Anzeige mit einem Spendenaufruf zu veröffentlichen. Die Spenden, die von einer "privaten Gruppe von Dozenten und Studenten" gesammelt würden, sollten deutschen Opfern in Japan zugutekommen. Das DZI in Berlin distanzierte sich ausdrücklich von dem Aufruf. Weder der Absender noch die angegebene Bankverbindung seien dem Institut bekannt.

Also check Sueddeutsche Zeitung for more information on donation drives.

In continental Europe's largest Japanese expat community in Duesseldorf, various privately organized donation drives are taking place. As of March 18, you were able to give money at the Shochiku grocery store (Immermannstr. 15) and at the Naniwa noodle bar. The website of Duesseldorf University's department of Japanese Studies has more information on donation drives in Germany and on charity and commemoration events in Duesseldorf. A German blog informs about charity sales and donation drives taking place in Berlin. For more updates on charity actions and donation drives in Germany, please subscribe to German Japanese studies mailing list J-Studien.

In a radio interview, the leader of the Deutsch-Japanischen Gesellschaft am Niederrhein e.V. in Duesseldorf has urged everybody to donate money, not material goods.


The French Red Cross is also taking donations to support the Japanese Red Cross. Aujourd'hui le Japon has more information on how to donate from France.


The Nederlandse Rode Kruis has now (March 18) started a donation campaign for the quake victims

Volunteer in the reconstruction effortsEdit

While the crisis does not appear to be over any time soon, some are already planning ahead to cleanup and reconstruction. Tokyo Quake Cleanup is a Facebook group looking for volunteers among the foreign community:

This group is intended as a clearinghouse of information for foreigners/English speakers who are looking for opportunities to contribute directly to relief efforts in northern Japan. The situation is unlikely to be stable enough for volunteers for the next few days, but the goal is to be ready when that happens. Please post all information on relief efforts and volunteer opportunities here, or tweet me at @davidzmorris and I'll distribute the info.

Foreign Volunteers Japan is a website with more information on volunteering.

Indirect SupportEdit

Help find missing personsEdit

Google Person Finder is now tracking data for close to 200,000 people presumed missing. Anybody can add information they might have about missing persons.

Save energyEdit

This blog has information about the Japanese power grid and why it is most important to save energy for those living in Eastern Japan.

Setsuden 9


The Japan Times gives some hints on how to conserve energy. Short version: switch off and unplug anything not needed.


Privately made leaflet against hoarding. Source:

Don't hoard food or gasolineEdit

The Japanese government urges everybody not to buy excessive amounts of food, water, gasoline or basic commodities like toilet paper. These goods are urgently needed in areas more directly affected by the quake and tsunami.

Help NGOs with communicationsEdit

The Japan Association of Interpreters is assembling a list of volunteer interpreters to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disaster. If you need an interpreter for your rescue, relief, aid or other organization, please contact someone on this list. If you can volunteer as an interpreter, please contact to have your name added to the list.

The Japan Guide Consortium has formed a similiar initiative that organizes on Facebook. They are looking for on-site interpreters.

Fukushima SituationEdit

This is the place for information on the Fukushima nuclear reactors, the effects the quake had on them and news on radiation leaked.

Information Sources Concerning the Fukushima SituationEdit

  • The MIT has created an information hub that attempts to explain the technical details of the reactor incidents, reasons for the explosions, etc.
  • The WHO has put up a FAQ on nuclear health concerns.
  • The homepage of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA Homepage containing daily updates of the situation in Fukushima and scientific data understandable also for non-experts.
  • The Japanese government publishes radiation measurement results, as well as some basic information on radiation exposure, in various languages.
  • The German government (site in German language) has put together a technical assessment of the radiation situation, as well as a chronology of the reactor accidents following the quake.
  • Japan-based blogger Gakuranman assembles information from various sources.
  • Japan blog Mutantfrog discusses the radiation safety issue, includes notes from expert talks from the MIT and the results of a meeting with experts at the British embassy.

About the Fukushima ReactorsEdit

There are two sites of reactor blocks that are part of the Fukushima complex, Fukushima One/Daiichi with six reactor blocks and Fukushima Two/Daini with four reactor blocks. All have been affected by the quake and the subsequent Tsunami, but Fukushima One is the problematic site.

Current Radiation Readings and their effectEdit

Understanding the measurement units of radiation. Putting radiation readings in context.

Here is the Wikipedia article about examples of radiation dosage.

Links to real-time radiation readings

  • Project geigercrowd seeks to collect more data from individuals in Japan who have access to measuring tools.
geigercrowd is an approach to fill in an information gap. radiation measurements should be open data and provided by the government in an easy to access and uncensored manner. the current situation in japan shows a different picture. websites providing up-to-date meassurements are either down or don't show valid values. this is where we want to fill in. we crowdsource the meassuring to people in japan who operate and own automated or handheld geiger counters or other equipment that delivers data on radiation levels.k

Movement of RadioactivityEdit

There are two different threats with radioactivity: Direct in the form of gamma rays and indirect in the form of radioactive particles. The first is only of immediate concern at the source, e.g. for the Tepco personnel and forces fighting for control near the reactors.

The second can affect areas beyond the plant site, as these particles are small and will be carried with the wind. Their actual distribution and the resulting radiation at a specific point depends on a variety of factors. It is important to notice that a containment breach does not mean that radiation will increase beyond the critical area. Chernobyl was so catastrophic because as a result of unsafe construction, a major explosion occured, which first catapulted many particles high up into the atmosphere and completely layed open the core. Experts agree that this scenario is not only unlikely, but impossible. There is not the same potential for a major explosion. Only if there were full containment breaches at all four reactors, the released radioactivity at the source could reach Chernobyl levels (source?).

Depending on how high particles are catapulted into the air, their distribtion will increase and there is a higher chance that they will be carried further away. Weather plays a role, in the form of wind direction as well as thermal pressure zones, that can lift particles higher up or down. As a rule of thumb, the further away from the source, the further the dilution of such particles as they spread out - risks decrease.

There are some prediction models, that already take those factors in account and offer an approximate visualization on how the plume could have traveled. The Austrian weather forecast agency put out animated models. Swiss service Wetter-Extra (Site in German) offers some animated videos that show wind movement and predicted rainfall in Japan. The site also offers links to other information sources regarding the weather and climate situation.

Leaving the areaEdit

While undoubtedly many foreigners have left the immediate dangerzone and the metropolitan Tokyo/Yokohama area, many (including Japanese) are facing the decision, whether to move. It is hard to make an universal suggestion about the right decision, but this information should help those planning to leave.

First of all, expect delays due to the blackouts and strains to the infrastructure. Plan well, move with time to spare and prepare alternative routes if possible. Try to get reconfirmation from service providers. In general the further South from Kanto, the more normal the state of public transportation and flights should be.

Embassy warningsEdit

Several embassies of major western countries have given out advice to temporarily leave eastern Japan, including Tokyo, and/or have offered assistance to those willing to leave. If you are facing problems convincing your employer, try copying the page source and adding a translation. Many Japanese companies, although dedicated to pervailing and working in the face of crisis and danger, will respect a country's decision.

US embassyEdit

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo informs U.S. citizens in Japan who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Asia. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on US government-arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safehaven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Japan on Thursday, March 17. [source]

UK embassyEdit

We advise against all non essential travel to Tokyo and north eastern Japan given the damage caused by the 11 March earthquake and resulting aftershocks and tsunami. Due to the evolving situation at the Fukushima nuclear facility and potential disruptions to the supply of goods, transport, communications, power and other infrastructure, British nationals currently in Tokyo and to the north of Tokyo should consider leaving the area. [source]

French embassyEdit

Compte-tenu de l’évolution possible de la situation, il est recommandé aux Français de Tokyo de quitter la région pour le sud du pays ou pour la France. [source]

German embassyEdit

Sollten Sie in Ostjapan unter Einschluss des Großraumes von Tokyo/Yokohama, des Tohoku-Raumes, Hokkaido sowie der Präfekturen Yamanashi, Nagano, Shizuoka und Niigata wohnen oder sich gegenwärtig dort aufhalten, empfiehlt die Botschaft, dass Sie dieses Gebiet vorübergehend in Richtung Westjapan verlassen, bis die Störung in dem Kraftwerk Fukushima I beseitigt ist. [source]

Public TransportEdit

So far first of all the earthquake hit areas in Northern Honshu are affected. There is not a lot of information regarding the reestablishment of transport in the English media. Because of energy conservation efforts in Tokyo and the surrounding areas and the resulting reduction and irregular schedule of public transport, please expect results and try to gather information at the source. (Maybe combine with a real-time keyword search for the transportation means, e.g. 新幹線). See also the section on using public transportation in this wiki for more information.

Train Operation in Tokyo Metropolitan areaEdit

JR METRO TOEI Tokyu Odakyu Keio Tobu Keikyu Keisei Seibu


As of March 17th it was still possible to easily book seats for the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo southwards. This hasn't changed by the evening of the 18th.


Narita Airport

As Train service to Narita is infrequent at best, taking the airport limousine bus (with time to spare) seems to best to secure timely arrival at the moment. Without alternatives the buses fill up quick, but can and should be reserved. According to a personal report from the afternoon of March 16, it is recommended to stay at one of the airport hotels which operate their own shuttle services and booking flight tickets in advance online, as there are long lines at the airport ticket counters.

WIFI seems to be free for now, and even calls abroad from the available phone booths were free of cost on the 15th.

Kansai International Airport

Other users report experiences from Kansai International Airport (Osaka). Apparently, flight tickets to Europe are very expensive there right now when purchased directly at the airport (EUR 3,000-5,000). People recommend buying tickets online.


Most airlines are not operating normally, some have taken measures to support customers affected. Some have canceled flights altogether. This doesn't affect Japanese carriers, but even if you have a booked flight with ANA or JAL, reconfirm it's status. If it is a codeshared flight there might be a chance of cancelation.


Emirates currently doesn't charge fees for changing or canceling flights, you just have to pay the price difference between old and new flight. (Changing your booking needs to be done by phone)


One user reports that Japan Airlines changed the day of an open return flight, straight at the airport for the same day.

Additional News SourcesEdit

There are a number of ways to inform yourself about current events. While this site tries to give an overview it cannot be as up-to-date as Twitter or news-bulletins on TV. Please feel encouraged to check other sources, but always try to reserve judgement on how trustworthy information presented is. There has been a lot of clamor about the stance of both Japanese and foreign media, based on their different style of reporting. That doesn't mean that either one is right or wrong and makes it even more important to put everything being told in context. When you are scared, it is easy to give in to fear based on dramatic news, rumors or misinformation.

For more coverage of the quake (including the Journalist Wall of Shame), go to JPQUAKE Wiki


Several Japanese TV stations are providing their programs around the clock for free. Japanese National Television NHK is probably the most respected source. They stream live in Japanese and English.


There is a lot information flying around. Especially with Twitter it is possible to get news almost in real-time. Just as with any media, make sure to stay critical and question the source of the information. Also real-time does not necessarily mean it is up-to-date.

List of recent updates in this wikiEdit


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