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Japan update

This page has been updated.
See the latest postings here.

Stars and Stripes reporters across Japan and the world are sending disaster dispatches as they gather new facts, updated in real time. All times are local Tokyo time.  Japan is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast. So for example, 8 a.m. EDT is 9 p.m. in Japan.

For extended coverage, see the Earthquake Disaster in Japan page.

See previous postings here.


Report: Nuke plants stable

   12:20 a.m. Friday

Japanese TV is reporting that the nuclear plants in Fukushima are stable.

 -- Chris Carlson

Power outage in Misawa

   11:50 p.m. Thursday

From T.D. Flack living off base in Misawa: It really shook here. Power is off for at least those living off base in the area.

Another aftershock

Advertisement

   11:45 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Yet another aftershock, this one a big one off the northeast coast. 7.4 preliminary magnitude, 40 kilometers deep off the coast.
 
 http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/2/20110407233637384-072332.html
 
-- Dave Ornauer

Quake moves seabed

    5:15 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

The 9.0 magnitude March 11 earthquake has moved the seabed that sits right above the epicenter about 78.7 feet east southeast in the Pacific and lifted it about 9.8 feet, according to an announcement released Thursday by the Japan coast guard survey team.

The shift of the seafloor was four times greater than that occurred on the shore, the survey team said.


Shortly after the massive earthquake, the Japan Geographic Survey Institute announced that the Oshika Peninsula, the closest shore from the epicenter, has moved about 17.4 feet east-southeast, and the ground sank about 3.9 feet.

- Chiyomi Sumida
 

Preventing blasts a focus at Japan nuclear plant

 

   11:21 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

After notching a rare victory by stopping highly radioactive water from flowing into the Pacific, workers at Japan's flooded nuclear power complex turned to their next task early Thursday: injecting nitrogen to prevent more hydrogen explosions.

Read full story here.
 

- Tim Wightman

Tsunami-hit towns forgot warnings from ancestors

   11:15 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Modern sea walls failed to protect coastal towns from Japan's destructive tsunami last month. But in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, a single centuries-old tablet saved the day.

"High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants," the stone slab reads. "Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point."

Read full story here.
 

- Tim Wightman

TEPCO: No rolling blackouts scheduled today through Sunday

   9:08 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

No rolling blackouts are scheduled for Thursday throughout Sunday. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said power outage can be avoided over the weekend, owing to forecasted warm weather and public cooperation on energy conservation.
 
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11040604-e.html
 

- Chiyomi Sumida

Fishermen: Utility's actions in Japan nuclear crisis 'unforgivable'

     9:15 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Japanese fishermen have taken the offensive in their fight against the owner of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, angrily calling the utility's actions insulting, incompetent and "unforgivable" over the course of the weeks-long nuclear crisis, CNN reports.

The National Fishery Corporative Joint Association, a trade group for Japan's fishing industry, issued a scathing statement on Wednesday just hours after meeting with officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the crippled plant.

In it, the group demanded that the utility and Japanese government "compensate all parties (that have) indirectly or directly suffered" as a result of the situation, according to CNN.

"Tokyo Electric has not been capable of understanding the damage at the plant and (contaminated) water. That led to this serious situation," the group said in the statement.

- Sandra Jontz

Updated casualty information released

     5:47 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

According to the latest casualty report by the Japanese Police Agency, the death toll is 12,494, while 15,107 people are listed as missing. The number of missing people is expected to rise. Officials of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures said Wednesday that there are still some local communities where obtaining accurate data on the human losses is still not possible.

- Chiyomi Sumida

U.S. sees array of new threats at Japan’s nuclear plant

   12:03 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

From the New York Times:

United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely, and that in some cases are expected to increase as a result of the very measures being taken to keep the plant stable, according to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Read full story here.

- Tim Wightman

Release of irradiated water stopped at Fukushima plant

   11:17 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have stopped the leaking of highly radioactive water from a cracked concrete pit in the Number 2 reactor, the Japanese utility said Wednesday, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

Read full Wall Street Journal story here.

- Tim Wightman

Japan sets new radiation safety level for seafood

   7:35 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

The government set its first radiation safety standards for fish Tuesday after Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant reported radioactive contamination in nearby seawater measuring at several million times the legal limit, The Associated Press reports.

The plant operator insisted that the radiation will rapidly disperse and that it poses no immediate danger, but an expert said exposure to the highly concentrated levels near the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could cause immediate injury and that the leaks could result in residual contamination of the sea in the area.

The new levels coupled with reports that radiation was building up in fish led the government to create an acceptable radiation standard for fish for the first time. Some fish caught Friday off Japan's coastal waters would have exceeded the new provisional limit.

To read more, click here

- Sandra Jontz

Casualty information updated

     5:40 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

The latest casualty report released by the Japanese Police Agency said that the death toll is 12,344, while 15,237 people remain listed as missing. Besides the human loss, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed more than 200,000 homes and buildings. As of Tuesday, over 160,000 people remain taking shelters, many of them far away from their hometowns.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Nuclear plant spews more radiation into sea

     3:52 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Radiation in seawater at the shoreline off Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear power plant has measured several million times the legal limit over the past few days, The Associated Press reports, though officials contended Tuesday that the contamination still does not pose an immediate danger.

Radiation has been pouring in to the Pacific from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since a 9.0-magnitude earthquake spawned a massive tsunami that inundated the complex. Over the weekend, workers there discovered a crack where highly contaminated water was spilling directly into the ocean.

Experts have said that radiation dissipates quickly in the vast Pacific, but they have also said that it's unclear what the long-term effects of large amounts of contamination will be.

To read more, click here

- Sandra Jontz

Atsugi – Base-wide power outage scheduled

     3:00 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page: There is a base-wide power outage scheduled on April 16, for repairs to the base electrical feeders. The outage begins at 11 p.m. and runs until 7 a.m. the next morning. The inclement weather plan is scheduled for April 23.

- Matt Orr

No rollinig blacout in Kanto region Wednesday

  13:20 p.m., Tokyo time

There will be no rolling blackouts on Wednesday in the entire Kanto region, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced Tuesday.
Demand is expected to be within the supply capacity due to warm weather forecast on Wednesday, TEPCO explained the reason for the cancellation of planned power outage, but asked for continued cooperation of the public to save on electricity. 

- Chiyomi Sumida
 

Misawa Air Base after-school programs update

     11:20 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Misawa Air Base Force Support Squadron Facebook page:

Lunney Youth Center and Wakasa Teen Center will resume instructional, after-school and weekend programs. Youth sports registration and seasons are still cancelled until further notice.
 

Yokota Air Base power outage postponed

     10:56 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Eagle 810 Facebook page:

The east side power outage scheduled for April 9 has been postponed to April 30. This will be a 12-hour outage beginning at 7 a.m. Mission-critical facilities equipped with emergency generators will either start automatically or be started manually by facility managers with the assistance of power professionals.

- Matt Orr

DODEA  Pacific seeks more tales of good deeds for 'virtual scrapbook'

     8:05 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

DODEA wants to hear more stories of students and teachers helping in the ongoing relief efforts for Japan on Facebook. Post yours on DODEA's "Helping Hands" page or the "Virtual Scrapbook" at DODEA HQ's page.

- Matt Orr

Search for radiation leak turns desperate in Japan

     8:37 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Workers used a milky bathwater dye Monday as they frantically tried to trace the path of radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear plant, The Associated Press reports.

The crack in a maintenance pit discovered over the weekend was the latest confirmation that radioactivity continues to spill into the environment. The leak is a symptom of the primary difficulty at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex: Radioactive water is pooling around the plant and preventing workers from powering up cooling systems needed to stabilize dangerously vulnerable fuel rods.

The plant operators also deliberately dumped 10,000 tons of tainted water - measuring about 500 times above the legal limit for radiactivity - into the ocean Monday to make space at a storage site for water that is even more highly radiactive.

Read more here

- Sandra Jontz

Japan to release low-level radioactive water into ocean

     7:16 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Tokyo Electric Power Company will release almost 11,500 tons of water contaminated with low levels of radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, The New York Times reports, as workers struggle to contain the increasing amounts of dangerous runoff resulting from efforts to cool the plant’s damaged reactors.

The runoff now is threatening to swamp the generators powering the cooling systems at two of the six reactors just recently brought under control, threatening to reverse what little progress the company has made in resolving the world’s worst nuclear crisis in decades, according to The New York Times.

Tokyo Electric Power has been pumping hundreds of tons of water into four of the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to cool the nuclear fuel in the reactor core and in spent fuel storage pools. While much of that water is evaporating, a significant amount has also been discovered in various parts of the plant.

Workers have focused especially on trying to pump out highly radioactive water flooding the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor, as well as stemming a direct leak of what is thought to be the same water into the ocean from a pit near the reactor. But a facility at the plant designed to store and treat the radioactive water has already been filled l with runoff in recent days, the Times quoted the company.

- Sandra Jontz

U.N. nuke chief: Japan crisis a 'major challenge'

     5:59 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

The head of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog says the Japanese nuclear crisis presents a major challenge and has enormous implications for nuclear power, The Associated Press reports.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the global community cannot take a "business as usual approach" and that more needs to be done to strengthen the safety of power plants to reduce the risk of future disasters such as the one at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that has been releasing radiation since it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, AP writes.

Amano spoke Monday at the opening session of a meeting that has drawn representatives from dozens of countries to scrutinize safety at each other's power plants.

- Sandra Jontz

Path of radiation leak at Japan plant unclear

     4:45 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Workers used a milky white dye Monday as they frantically tried to trace the path of highly radioactive water that is gushing from a tsunami-damaged Japanese nuclear plant and leaking into the ocean, The Associated Press reports.

A crack in a maintenance pit was found over the weekend - the latest confirmation that radioactivity continues to spill into the environment. The leak is a symptom of the primary difficulty at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex: Radioactive water is pooling around the plant and preventing workers from powering up cooling systems that would stabilize overheating reactors.

Read more here

- Sandra Jontz

No rolling blackouts for Kanto region

   1:15 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Rolling blackouts scheduled for the Kanto region on Monday and Tuesday have been canceled, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company officials. The company asked for the public's continued assistance in energy conservation.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Tuesday power outage at Yokota Air Base canceled

   1 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

The power outage scheduled for Yokota Air Base on Tuesday has been canceled, according to Yokota officials.

- Matt Orr

Quake death toll continues to rise

   12 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

As of Monday, 12,157 people had been confirmed dead, while another 15,496 remained unaccounted for, according to the Japanese Police Agency. The death toll includes 339 bodies recovered by U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces during a joint, three-day search operation that ended Sunday, according to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's Joint Task Force Tohoku headquarters in Sendai.

- Chiyomi Sumida

DoDEA Pacific announces town hall meetings

   10:35 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

DoDEA Pacific will host town hall meetings this week around Tokyo:

Yokota Air Base: Monday, April 4, at 4 p.m. in the high school lecture hall.

Yokosuka Naval Base: Tuesday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Benny Decker Theater

Camp Zama/Atsugi Naval Air Facility: Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m. Location to-be-determined.

- Matt Orr

AFN Misawa updated slides posted

   10:25 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa's Facebook page in their photo section:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/AFNMisawa

- Matt Orr

Yokosuka: Naval Legal Services Office Pacific resumes normal operating hours

   10:05 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Legal Services Office Pacific's Facebook page:

As of today, we have resumed our normal operating hours of 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. If you need to see an attorney, we have resumed our normal walk-in hours (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.) Please call 243-5141 if you have any questions.

- Matt Orr 

Bodies found of two nuclear plant workers missing since quake

     9:45 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

The bodies of two Japanese nuclear power plant workers missing since the epic March 11 earthquake and tsunami have been found, CNN is quoting an official with the plant's owner as saying Sunday.

The men's remains were found in the basement of the turbine building at the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Sunday.

The pair -- identified as Kazahiko Kokubo, 24, and Yoshiki Terashima, 21, both members of the utility company's operations management department -- were working in that building when the 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck, CNN reports. The disaster caused damage throughout northeastern Japan, including at the power plant, which is on the Asian nation's eastern coast about 150 miles north of Tokyo.

One of the workers was found floating in a pool of water in the basement, the utilty company official said. Both appeared to have suffered multiple traumatic injuries and severe blood loss.

The bodies were found Wednesday, but the power company did not disclose the news until Sunday.

- Sandra Jontz

2nd try at sealing Japan nuclear leak not working

     6:44 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo

Highly radioactive water is still gushing into the Pacific from Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant despite efforts to stop it with a chemical substance mixed with sawdust and shredded newspaper, The Associated Press reported.

Nuclear safety agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama says the polymer mix has not yet sealed the crack in a maintenance pit that is spewing water into the sea. Engineers have not given up and say they should know by Monday whether it will work.

An earlier attempt to seal the crack with concrete failed, AP wrote. The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has been leaking radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The latest leak was discovered Saturday.

- Sandra Jontz

Developments in Japan's disasters, nuclear crisis

     5:46 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

For a brief look at some of today's top developments in Japan, compiled by The Associated Press, click here

- Sandra Jontz

3,000 Marines in Japan to skip Philippine drills

     5:01 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

About 3,000 U.S. Marines will not be able to join annual war exercises in the Philippines starting this week because they have to help in the relief work in quake- and tsunami-devastated Japan, The Associated Press reports.

Philippine military spokesman Maj. Enrico Ileto said Sunday that civic missions such as school construction during the April 5-15 Balikatan exercises will proceed as planned, but some field maneuvers would be scaled back due to the U.S. relief activities in northeastern Japan.

The AP quoted U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Wossenyelesh Mazengia saying about 3,000 Marines who were supposed to join the Philippine maneuvers have remained in Japan to help out.

About 6,000 Americans, along with 2,000 Filipino troops, were originally slated to join the Philippine exercises.

- Sandra Jontz

Japan's dim capital faces further power crunch

     4:33 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

When a boiling summer hits power-starved Tokyo, even Japan's culture of self-restraint will hit its limit, The Associated Press reports.

The March 11 tsunami that smashed into Japan's northeast coast, killing as many as 25,000 people and knocking out nuclear power generation, has transformed this usually bright, bustling metropolis into a dark, humbler version of itself.

Running on eco-mode in the cool spring invites few complaints as citizens bundle up, leave work early and even go to bed around sundown, AP writes. Escalators are still, trains run without air conditioning, and popular night time baseball games have been suspended. Many say any complaints are hollow compared to the deprivation and destruction further north.

Read more here:

- Sandra Jontz

Response video of U.S., Japanese rescue efforts 

     3:35 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

 

Troops clearing way for school to reopen in tsunami-stricken area

   2:50 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

U.S. and Japanese troops swarmed like worker ants over a massive pile of debris Saturday in the playground of Minato Elementary School in northern Japan’s battered Tohoku region.

Minato, in the seaside town of Ishnomaki, is one of 42 tsunami-damaged schools that the Japan Self-Defense Force has asked the U.S. military to help clear as part of an effort to get local children back to class by April 21, according to U.S. officials.

Read full story here.

-Tim Wightman
 

58 bodies found in massive search by U.S., Japanese troops

   2:44 p.m Sunday, Tokyo time

U.S. and Japanese troops have recovered 58 bodies since launching a massive joint operation to search for the thousands of people still missing after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to Japanese officials.

Read full story here.

-Tim Wightman

Japan death toll increases to over 12,000

   12:04 p.m Sunday, Tokyo time

According to the Japanese Police Agency, the death toll is more than 12,000 while over 15,000 people remain unaccounted for as of Sunday.
A three-day massive joint search operation launched Friday by Japan Self-Defense Force and U.S. military continues on Sunday. The police agency said that 12,009 people were confirmed dead and 15,472 people have been reported as missing more than three weeks after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. 

- Chiyomi Sumida

Crack leaks radioactive water into sea off Japan

   7:39 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Highly radioactive water was leaking into the sea Saturday from a crack discovered at a nuclear power plant destabilized by last month's earthquake and tsunami, a new setback as frustrated survivors of the disasters complained that Japan's government was paying too much attention to the nuclear crisis.

Read full story here.

- Tim Wightman

Japan's coast guard rescues dog from floating roof

     8:18 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Japan's coast guard has rescued a dog drifting on a rooftop off the country's coast, three weeks after a tsunami ravaged the northeast, The Associated Press reported.

It was unclear how long the dog had been at sea when a helicopter crew spotted it Friday more than a mile off the town of Kesennuma.

It took several hours to capture the dog because it scampered across other floating wreckage when it saw officers winching down from the chopper, AP reported.

Officials said Saturday that the dog's blackish collar gives no clues about its owner. After the rescue, the dog kept quiet and ate biscuits and sausages on a patrol boat.

- Sandra Jontz

Radioactive water leaks from Japan nuclear plant

     4:08 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant was leaking highly radioactive water into the sea Saturday, The Associated Press reports, quoting nuclear safety officials.

The plant has been spewing radioactivity since March 11, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami knocked out power, disabling cooling systems and allowing radiation to seep out of the overheating reactors.

The water was seeping Saturday from a newly discovered crack in a maintenance pit on the edge of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear site into the Pacific Ocean, Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said.

Read more here

- Sandra Jontz

Civilians on mainland Japan bases authorized hardship pay

   12:38 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

The State Department said Friday all U.S. civilian workers in 18 prefectures — including those in central and northern Japan where major military installations are located — will receive hardship pay, which provides a 10-percent boost to base compensation, following the earthquake and tsunami disasters. The pay does not extend to servicemembers.

Read full story here.

- Tim Wightman

Japanese PM on first visit to tsunami-hit villages

   11:38 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Japan's prime minister laid eyes on the extensive damage in the northeast for the first time Saturday as troops trolled the decimated coastline in an all-out search for any remaining bodies swept out to sea by a tsunami three weeks ago.

Read full story here.


- Tim Wightman

Latest Tomodachi Times from Yokota

   11:02 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Yokota Air Base Facebook page:

http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110401-077.pdf


- Tim Wightman

Updated slides from Misawa

   10:54 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time 

Posted on the AFN Misawa Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=265661109385&aid=288944


- Tim Wightman

Graphic: An update on the situation in Japan

   4:46 a.m. April 2, Tokyo time

A graphic showing aftershocks and statistics on the number of dead and missing.

--Joe Gromelski
 

Japanese, U.S. military search for tsunami victims

   3 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Japanese and U.S. military ships and helicopters trolled Japan's tsunami-ravaged coastline looking for bodies Friday, part of an all-out search that could be the last chance to find those swept out to sea nearly three weeks ago.

Read the full story.

--Joe Gromelski

A letter from Rakuten Eagles owner Marty Kuehnert

   11:30 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

A letter from Marty Kuehnert, an American who is part owner and general manager of Sendai's Rakuten Eagles baseball team of Japan's Pacific League. He once was part owner of the Birmingham Barons Southern League Chicago White Sox Class AA affiliate when Michael Jordan played for the Barons in the mid-1990s.

Dear Family and Friends, 
Many of you have asked me over the past weeks, "what can I do to help," and now I would like to tell you.
Many people in the Tohoku area are in desperate straits, and the best thing you can do is donate money to organizations that will guarantee it will ALL be used for victims, especially those who will get it to the neediest promptly.  The organizations I suggest you donate to are:
   1.  Kids Without Borders    www.KidsWithNoBorders.org
   2.  World Concern     www.worldconcern.org
        (These two organizations are handling all funds with no or very minimal overhead.  Funds should to be designated to "MeySen Academy" in Sendai.)
   3.  One more organization that is good is Samaritan's Purse, the Billy Graham Foundation run charity:   www.samaritanspurse.org 
These three organizations have 501c 3 status for tax purposes.
Designating your donations to MeySen Academy is you best bet for getting a dollar to dollar value on the front lines.  They are well connected, trusted, and have a very committed staff. Link to Friends of MeySen: http://friendsofmeysen.wordpress.com/
God Bless you all for helping in this hour of unbelievable need.
Love, 
Marty, Kyoko and Vivian

-- Dave Ornauer

Massive search operation under way

   4:15 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

A new massive search operation began Friday by Japan Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, assembling about 18,000 SDF troops and 7,000 U.S. servicemembers, according to the North Eastern Army of Japan Ground SDF. By mobilizing 120 airplanes and helicopters and 65 vessels from both militaries, the three-day operation will be conducted along jagged coastline and off shores of the stricken earthquake and tsunami areas, except for the 12-mile restricted zone surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, said a spokesman for the North Western Army. Japanese coast guard, police and fire agencies are also participating in the operation, the spokesman said.

According to the Japanese Police Agency, more than 28,000 people are either dead or unaccounted for as of Friday. The death toll rose to 11,578, while 16,451 people have been reported as missing. In Miyagi, one of the hardest hit prefectures, 7,058 people were killed and 7,146 people remain missing. Those figures were followed by Iwate, where 3,396 were dead and 4,560 people are missing.

- Chiyomi Sumida
 

World's largest cement mixer bound for Fukushima

   3:08 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

The world's largest concrete pump, deployed at the construction site of the U.S. government's $4.86 billion mixed oxide fuel plant at Savannah River Site, is being moved to Japan in a series of emergency measures to help stabilize the Fukushima reactors, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

"The bottom line is, the Japanese need this particular unit worse than we do, so we're giving it up," said Jerry Ashmore, whose company, Augusta-based Ashmore Concrete Contractors, Inc., is the concrete supplier for the MOX facility.

The 190,000-pound pump, made by German-based Putzmeister has a 70-meter boom and can be controlled remotely, making it suitable for use in the unpredictable and highly radioactive environment of the doomed nuclear reactors in Japan, he said.

The pump was moved Wednesday from the construction site in Aiken County to a facility in Hanahan, S.C., for minor modifications, and will be trucked to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where it will be picked up by the world's largest cargo plane, the Russian-made Antonov 225, which will fly it to Tokyo.

"Our understanding is, they are preparing to go to next phase and it will require a lot of concrete," Ashmore said, noting that the 70-meter pump can move 210 cubic yards of concrete per hour.

Putzmeister equipment was also used in the 1980s, when massive amounts of concrete were used to entomb the melted core of the reactor at Chernobyl.

- Patrick Dickson
 

DODEA director to conduct town hall on Yokosuka

   2:47 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

On Tuesday, April 5, the Acting DoDEA Director, DoDEA Pacific Director, and Japan District Superintendent will be the special guests at a Town Hall meeting in the Benny Decker Theater.

- Matt Orr

Japanese gov't considering giving financial aid to Tepco

   2:01 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

The Japanese government is considering financial aid to the troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, through an injection of public funds or debt guarantees, a government official said Friday, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

Read full story here.

- Tim Wightman

No rolling blackouts scheduled for next three days

   12:52 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

No rolling blackouts are scheduled for the next three days, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said Friday.
“Owing greatly to your cooperation in conserving electricity, we can avoid the rolling blackouts over the weekend and Monday. We appreciate your continued cooperation,” TEPCO said in its website announcement.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Atsugi CDC child care info for dependents who departed

   11:46 a.m. Friday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air facility Atsugi Facebook page:

Question: How can parents pay for their child's child care bills (at Atsugi's Child Development Center) if the family voluntarily left for the States?  

Answer: Payments are due (after you are cleared), and upon your physical return to Atsugi. Rest assured no one will lose their child's "spot."


- Matt Orr

Power outage for Fussa has been canceled

   11:28 a.m. Friday, Tokyo time

Posted to Yokota Air Base Facebook page:

At around 11 a.m., the Fussa City Office made a public announcement via their giant voice that the scheduled power outage for Saturday - Monday for Fussa has been cancelled.

- Matt Orr

Navy dependents who departed on their own must update status with NFAAS

   11:33 a.m. Friday, Tokyo time 

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page:
 
YOKOSUKA, Japan — Family members who departed prior to, or independent of the voluntary authorized departure of dependents are required to update their status in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) once they have arrived at their displaced location.
 
According to the NFAAS website, (https://navyfamily.navy.mil/) the system is intended to “account, manage, and monitor the recovery process for personnel and their families affected and/or scattered by a wide-spread catastrophic event.”
 
- Matt Orr
 

NAF Atsugi: Information on returning to Japan should be available in a week

   9:29 a.m. Friday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page:

‎Good Morning Atsugi and all the Atsugi families back in the states and the other safe havens right now. We have received a lot of questions about people wanting to come back. In a week or so there should be information from either the Embassy or the State Department on the voluntary departure from Japan. Attached is the Department of State Webpage: http://www.state.gov/

- Matt Orr

CNN: Tokyo region to face rolling blackouts through summer

   5:12 a.m. Friday local Tokyo time

Tokyo Electric Power Co. sees no alternative to continuing rolling blackouts in the Tokyo region through the summer, CNN reported on Thursday.

The March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami knocked out two nuclear power plants, meaning the power company will lose 20 percent of its power generating capability when the hot summer months brings peak demand, according to CNN.

Other utilities can only supply a limited amount of power because their power plants run power at a different frequency than Tokyo Electric.

Read more here:

- Jeff Schogol
 

Japan death toll, missing rise

   5:45 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

The Japanese Police Agency said the death toll reached 11,438 while 16,541 people are still unaccounted for as of Thursday afternoon.  Search activities continue as Friday marks the third week of the massive disaster that swept the entire communities along Japan’s northern Pacific coast.  More than 170,000 people remain taking shelters at temporary facilities.

- Chiyomi Sumida

No rolling blackouts for Kanto region

   5:30 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Due to favorable weather forecast and public cooperation in energy conservation, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said no rolling blackouts will take place Friday in the entire Kanto region.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/index-e.html

- Chiyomi Sumida

Yokota radiation levels for today

   5:33 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Posted to Yokota Air Base Facebook page:Today's radiation levels in the air average 34.7 µR. This is equivalent to everyday levels in Phoenix.

- Matt Orr
 

Col. Feather’s interview on Eagle 810

   5:12 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

posted to Eagle 810 Facebook page:

Link:http://tinyurl.com/63cb8g4

Length: ‎3 minutes 45 seconds

- Matt Orr

Yokosuka - Revised chapel worship schedule

 

   3:36 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

Roman Catholic Services

Chapel of Hope – Yokosuka

Confessions, Saturday, 4 p.m.Mass, Saturday, 5 p.m.Mass, Sunday, 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.Chapel of the Rising Sun – NegishiSunday, 8:30 a.m. (new time)

Protestant Services

(This new schedule is in effect until further notice.)Combined Traditional Worship  Sunday, 9:30 a.m. (Followed by Holy Communion @ 1030 in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel)

Combined Contemporary Worship
Sunday, 3 p.m. (new time)

Church of Christ(Community Readiness Center – 2nd deck auditorium) Sunday, 9 a.m.

Jewish Sabbath & Kiddush

(Jewish Chapel – Chapel of Hope)
Friday, 6 p.m.

Buddhist Soka Gakkai International

2nd & 4th Thursdays, 6 p.m.

- Matt Orr
 

Higher radiation found outside Japan nuclear plant

   1:50 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

New readings show radiation levels continue to rise in the ocean outside a leaking nuclear plant in Japan's northeast, officials said Thursday, as they debated whether to broaden the evacuation zone around the tsunami-damaged facility.


- Tim Wightman

Updated hours of operation for 35th Force Support Squadron on Misawa

   1:17 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page in their photos section:

Updated hours of operation.

Link:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/AFNMisawa?sk=photos


- Matt Orr

Q & A for TRICARE beneficiaries participating in voluntary departures

   1:02 p.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

The following question-and-answer for TRICARE beneficiaries was originally posted on the AFN Misawa Facebook page and concerns healthcare issues related to the authorized dependent departure from Japan.

To read, click here.

- Tim Wightman

Crippled Japanese plant's reactors to be decommissioned, chief says

   10:48 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From CNN.com:

The chairman of the Japanese company that owns the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday it has no choice but to decommission four of the plant's six reactors.

Read full story here.

- Tim Wightman


Misawa – Updated general information slides posted

   9:04 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time   

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page in their photos section:

Link:

http://www.facebook.com/AFNMisawa


- Matt Orr

Yokota launches toy drive for displaced Japanese families

   8:26 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time  

Yokota Air Base is holding a weeklong toy dive for Japanese families diplaced by the recent earthquake and tsunami, according to a base release.
Donations for the drive, dubbed "Toys for Tomodachi," can be brought to the base chapel through April 7. Only pocket-sized toys should be donated, as displaced recipient families may have to carry all their belongings wherever they go, the release said.
"It's in our nature to want to help people in need," Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commander, was quoted in the release. "I only ask that we do this smartly and on a scale that does not impact our primary mission to deliver humanitarian supplies."
 

- Tim Wightman

New Misawa voluntary departure slides posted

   7:51 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page in the photos section:

Link:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/AFNMisawa


- Matt Orr


American Airlines suspends two daily flights to Japan

 

   6:30 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

American Airlines is suspending two of its six daily flights to Japan next week due to a slump in traffic since the big earthquake and tsunami. 

Read more here.

--Joe Gromelski
 

High radiation levels detected 25 miles from Fukushima plant

   6:10 a.m. Thursday local Tokyo time

Radiation levels in a village 25 miles away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant are more than twice the level at which the United Nations recommends evacuations, according to the Associated Press.

The village of Iitate lies well beyond the 12-milezone around the power plant that has been evacuated. People who live between 12 and 18 miles from the plant have been advised to leave or stay indoors.

Read more here.

- Jeff Schogol
 

Tainted seafood fears spread as Japan plant leaks

   6:00 a.m. Thursday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Fears about contaminated seafood spread Wednesday despite reassurances that radiation in the waters off Japan's troubled atomic plant pose no health risk, as the country's respected emperor consoled evacuees from the tsunami and nuclear emergency zone.

Read the story here.

--Joe Gromelski
 

Setbacks mount in Japan at leaking nuclear plant

     10:20 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Setbacks mounted Wednesday in the crisis over Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear facility, with nearby seawater testing at its highest radiation levels yet and the president of the plant operator checking into a hospital with hypertension, The Associated Press is reporting.

Nearly three weeks after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami slammed and engulfed the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, knocking out cooling systems that keeps nuclear fuel rods from overheating, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is still struggling to bring the facility in northeastern Japan under control.

The country's revered Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko reached out to some of the thousands displaced by the twin disasters - which have killed more than 11,000 people - spending about an hour consoling a group of evacuees at a Tokyo center.

Read more here

- Sandra Jontz 

Search continues for Japan survivors

     9:53 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Misawa Emergency Management slides updated

     5:48 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Misawa Emergency Management Facebook page: Misawa updates as of Wednesday, found here.

- Matt Orr

Latest casualty update

     5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

The latest casualty report by the Japanese Police Agency said more than 27,000 people were either dead or missing as of Wednesday afternoon. The agency updated the death toll to 11,257, while 16,344 people still are unaccounted for. Of those who were confirmed dead, more than 2,500 people must still be identified, the agency said. The death toll is expected to rise because of countless unreported cases. Additionally, search operations have been suspended in the restricted areas within a 12-mile in radius of the shattered Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant facilities.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Important information for voluntary departees to send requests for  travel advances and claim liquidations

     5:35 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Via Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Facebook page: For all Navy voluntary departees, all requests for travel advances and claim liquidations will go to Travel Processing Center-Hampton Roads (TPC-HR). Do not provide travel advances or liquidate claims locally.

Travel Processing Center-Hampton Roads in Virginia telephone number is (866) 239-0303, or fax (866) 708-6985.

For more, click here:

- Dave Ornauer

Voluntary departure transportation update

     5:38 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Via Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Facebook page: Please be advised that the Joint Federal Travel Regulation Chapter 6, Part A (U6004) Para I.2 states that non-command-sponsored dependents who have been transported to a designated destination due to a voluntary departure will not be furnished transportation to the member's Permanent Duty Station from the designated destination.  Exceptions must be authorized/approved by the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readinessfor the DOD Services and the Secretarial Process for the non-DOD Services.

- Dave Ornauer

Japan to scrap stricken nuclear reactors

     5:21 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Japan plans to decommission four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, the BBC reported.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring reactors 1 - 4 under control. Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6 which were shut down safely.

Harmful levels of radioactivity have been detected in the area.

BBC quoted Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata saying it was inevitable reactors 1 - 4 would be scrapped.

The earthquake and tsunami damaged the nuclear plant's power supply, leading to a failure of the cooling systems.

Since then engineers have been battling to cool down the core of the reactors using seawater - but the operation has failed to stop radioactive leaks.

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said the country is on "maximum alert".

Tepco has been accused of a lack of transparency and failing to provide information promptly.

- Sandra Jontz

Post-tsunami, some Japanese sought shelter in nuke plant

     4 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

As a massive tsunami ravaged this Japanese fishing town, hundreds of residents fled for the safest place they knew: the local nuclear power plant, The Associated Press reports.

More than two weeks later, 240 remain, watching TV or playing ball games with their children next to three atomic reactors. It's a startling contrast to the damaged nuclear plant 75 miles southeast, where radiation leaks have forced an evacuation of area residents and terrified the nation.

The town of Onagawa's embrace of its plant reflects the mindset in much of Japan, at least before the current crisis. Nuclear power was accepted as a trade-off: clean and reliable energy versus the tiny but real risk of catastrophe - one that now may be unfolding at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Read more here:

- Sandra Jontz

New Misawa library hours

     2:53 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page:

Good News Misawa! The base library is back to normal operating hours.
They're open Monday throu Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

- Matt Orr

Updated Misawa slides

   1:36 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Misawa Air Base Force Support Squadron Facebook page:

Link:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/35FSS

- Matt Orr

Update from Ambassador Roo

   1:35 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa Facebook page via the U.S. Embassy Youtube channel (usembassytokyo):

Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab50N9gF49g

- Matt Orr

Yokosuka CO’s comments for Wednesday

   1:32 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

CFAY Commanding Officer Capt. Owen's update for today.

Link:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=210502765628186&oid=128522759186&comments
 

- Matt Orr

No rolling blackouts scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday

   12:52 p.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that there will be no rolling blackouts scheduled for both Wednesday and Thursday in entire Kanto areas.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Yokosuka disaster relief donation update

  11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

As of 1 April, we will no longer be accepting clothing donations for the disaster relief efforts.  However, there is still a great need for Diapers, Personal Hygiene Items, Shoes, Socks, and Underwear.  There has been overwhelming support with clothes and the need is decreasing.  Thank you to all.

- Matt Orr

Misawa Junior Chamber of Commerce asks for shoe donations

   11:43 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page:

AFN Misawa
Team Misawa- The Misawa Junior Chamber of Commerce has asked for donations of "gently used practical shoes" for those in need-please do not buy new shoes. Our Thrift shop is going to serve as the collection point. Drop off your shoe donations at the Thrift shop sheds...please make sure the bags are labeled "Noda". Shoe donations need to be dropped off by 5 p.m. Thursday. Go Team!

- Matt Orr

Non-command sponsored dependents can obtain government-funded travel

   11:31 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to U.S. Naval Legal Service Office Pacific Facebook page:
   

All,

Here is the most recent information from PSD in CFAY.

Effective immediately:

Non-Command Sponsored Dependents may obtain government-funded travel via PSD NAVPTO.
Requirements include:
The dependents MUST obtain orders from the command.  These orders MUST mention that the dependents ARE NOT command sponsored. 
All current immigration requirements still apply.  If you have a child without a passport, please take all necessary documents to the US Embassy to obtain an emergency passport.
If you are not a U.S. Citizen and are from a country that is not a member of the Visa Waiver Program, you MUST obtain a Visa from the US Embassy. 
3.  Please note, if you are NOT command sponsored, you are NOT entitled to per diem and other entitlements once you reach the designated destination.

- Matt Orr

Most MWR facilities on Atsugi open for business

   10 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page:

Most MWR facilities are open for business.

Temporary Closures: Skymasters Club & Skeet Range

REDUCED SERVICES:
Officers’ Club Dining – open for “limited menu”
Dinner Service only from 5 p.m. (last order at 9 p.m.) Tue – Sun.
Group Fitness Classes (limited times)

- Matt Orr

Updated Misawa slides

   9:23 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to AFN Misawa Facebook page:

Link:
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/AFNMisawa

- Matt Orr

Information for relocated parents of school-age kids

   7:56 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Facebook page:

Parents who have relocated to an alternate location should ensure that continuity of schooling is a top priority. It is critical for your children to be in school. Schools take attendance very seriously. While they will understand the time it takes to relocate, they will be concerned about any long periods of unexcused absences. Your receiving school will request records from DoDEA.

http://www.dodea.edu/home/docs/ParentRecordsRequest.pdf

www.dodea.edu

- Matt Orr
  

Japan vows to review nuclear safety standards

 

 

     10:21 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck off Japan's main island of Honshu on Tuesday evening near the spot of this month's monster quake, which has killed more than 10,000 people, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, according to CNN.

- Pary Smith

Some Japanese staying put despite radiation threat

     9:20 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

In Futaba, Japan, the threat of death by radiation poisoning is not enough to compel some residents to obey the Japanese government's order to leave their homes, CNN reports.

Futaba is within the 12-mile evacuation zone surrounding the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant where crews are struggling to contain radiation spilling out of the facility -- a disaster created by a March 11 earthquake-triggered tsunami.

The nuclear accident has turned Futaba into a ghost town, almost, according to CNN. Trains no longer run to this northern Japan farming community. The clean-up of the damage wrought by the earthquake has not started and the only people on the streets are members of Japan's self-defense forces, all dressed head to toe in protective clothing.

- Sandra Jontz

Yokosuka tests say its water is safe

     7:13 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka is tracking the condition of the drinking water very closely to ensure that it is safe.  Each Japanese water district tests their water daily for Iodine 131 and Cesium radiation. CFAY tracks the test information closely for the main base and all satellite locations to include New Sanno. CFAY is also taking it's own daily samples of water from all locations as an added precaution. To date, all samples are consistent and there is absolutely no danger to the drinking water supply.

- Grant Okubo

Casualty report updated

     5:31 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

The Japanese Police Agency updated the casualty number to 27,797. According to the latest report, 11,082 people were confirmed dead while 16,717 people have been reportedly missing. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami destroyed more than 148,000 homes and buildings, leaving more than 177,000 people permanently and temporarily homeless as of Tuesday.

After more than two weeks of the earthquake, aftershock activity continues. Japan's Meteorological Agency said there have been 79 aftershocks that measured greater than 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. The March 11 earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 was measured at 7 on the intensity scale.

The agency urges people living in the affected areas to be alert to strong tremors at least for the next month or so.

 “It remains possible that aftershocks that are greater than five on the seismic intensity scale to occur,” said the agency.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Yokota commander on Eagle 810 today

     5:26 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Eagle 810 Facebook page:

Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commanders appearance on Eagle 810 today with the latest news from Yokota.  See more here

- Grant Okubo

Kan: Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuke crisis

     5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Japan's leader insisted Tuesday that the country was on "maximum alert" to bring its nuclear crisis under control, but the spread of radiation raised concerns about the ability of experts to stabilize the crippled reactor complex, The Associated Press reports.

Wan but resolute, Prime Minister Naoto Kan told parliament that Japan was grappling with its worst problems since World War II.

"This quake, tsunami and the nuclear accident are the biggest crises for Japan" in decades, Kan said, dressed in one of the blue work jackets that have become ubiquitous among bureaucrats since the tsunami. He said the crises remained unpredictable, but added: "From now on, we will continue to handle it in a state of maximum alert."

Read more here

- Sandra Jontz

Misawa Girl Scouts taking donations

     4:33 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

The Misawa Girls Scouts are running “Operation Backpacks for Japan - Kids Helping Kids” to “provide comfort and a message of love to the kids of Japan who have lost everything in the recent earthquake and tsunami,” according to Scouting officials.

Scouts will be collecting the following items through May 15: Paper, pens, crayons, coloring books, flashlights and batteries, stuffed animals, playing cards, comics, tissues, non-perishable snacks, new or gently used backpacks, games, hats, small blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, lotion, lip balm and combs or brushes.

Please do not donate clothing.

Those on Misawa can either drop donations at the Girl Scout Hut on the main floor of Tower 117 every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. or e-mail operationbp.misawags@yahoo.com to request the goods to be picked up.

Items can also be mailed to:
Misawa Girl Scouts
Unit 5027
APO, AP  96319

E-mail questions can be sent to Misawagirlscouts@yahoo.com or JPayne.GirlScouts@gmail.com.

Visit the Scouts’ website at http://www.misawagirlscouts.org/.

“Please help spread the word of our project,” officials said. “With your help we can make a difference.”

- T.D. Flack

Emotional team captain talks about 1995 quake

     4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time.

Via NAF Atsugi’s Facebook page: very moving speech by a captain of one of the teams playing in the Japan National Senior High School Baseball Tournament at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, one of the areas severely damaged on Jan. 17, 1995, by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake: See it here

- Dave Ornauer

All hands video update about PCS orders to Japan

     4:19 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka page:

All Hands Update has been posted about what to do if you have orders to Japan. For information, click here.

More information can be found here.

- Grant Okubo

Tsunami-swept island cut off from power and water

     4:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

After more than two weeks without a proper bath, some residents on the tsunami-hit island of Oshima decided to take matters into their own hands.

"My skin is starting to itch," 75-year-old Kumao Nakano told The Associated Press, as his neighbors assembled a makeshift bathhouse. "We're going to use this bathroom, which somehow was left standing. We found this old boiler, so we can heat water and pour it into the bathtub for everyone to use."

Six tsunamis swept onto this island off Japan's devastated northeast coast after the powerful offshore earthquake on March 11. The disaster severed water and electricity from the mainland, and it may be months before they are restored. Survivors from this community of 3,500 are banding together and resurrecting bygone practices to get by.

Read more of the AP story here

- Sandra Jontz

No scheduled power outage at Yokota

     3:24 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Yokota Air Base Facebook page: Yokota Air Base will not be affected by any scheduled power outage on Wednesday.

- Grant Okubo

Rolling blackouts canceled in Tokyo

     3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced cancellation of rolling blackouts scheduled for Wednesday. 

For more information, click here

- Chiyomi Sumida

Voluntary departure hotline for Yokota residents

   2:33 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Eagle 810 Facebook page: For Yokota families with questions about voluntary departures contact DSN 225-4484 or 225-4367 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The voluntary departure team will be available to answer questions and assist sponsors and dependents with questions regarding their travel or entitlements.

- Grant Okubo

Yokota commander to speak on AFN today

   1:33 p.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Eagle 810 Facebook page: Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commander will be on Eagle 810 today at 3 p.m. with the latest news from Yokota.

- Grant Okubo

Taiyo Community Center classes to resume

   11:23 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Yokota Force Support Squadron Facebook page: The Classes at the Taiyo Community Center will resume on Friday, April 1.

- Grant Okubo

Tama Lodge to reopen

   11:10 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted on the Yokota Force Support Squadron Facebook page Tama Lodge will reopen on April 15.

-Grant Okubo

Navy vice admiral talks about support for family returning from Japan

   10:10 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time 

Vice Admiral Michael Vitale, Commander of Navy Installations Command talks about support for family returning from Japan.

-Grant Okubo

TEPCO: No rolling blackouts Tuesday  

   9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time 

There will be no rolling blackouts in any areas Tuesday. Blackouts plan by TEPCO after Wednesday. For more information, click here.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Navy Federal Credit hours of operation

   9:02 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to the Naval Air Facility Facebook page:

Hours of operation for Tuesday, March 28th to Friday, April 1st

  • Atsugi Branch: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Camp Zama Branch:9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Misawa Branch: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Yokosuka Branch: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m
  • Yokota Branch: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

- Grant Okubo

U.S. Army Garrison Japan commanders message

   8:36 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to the U.S. Army Japan's Facebook page: Garrison Commander's Message - March 28, 2011 In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan and the ensuing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, questions continued to loom about the safety of the water and food supply at Camp Zama and its surrounding installations. Public Health Command Region – Pacific and Medical Department Activity – Japan personnel have been conducting round-the-clock monitoring of our immediate air and water quality, and thus far their readings for both have yielded no indication that either poses a problem for human health. Our water is safe to drink, our air is safe to breathe, and any changes to either will be disseminated to the community as soon as possible through the proper information channels. to read the remaining letter, click here.

- Grant Okubo

New podcast from TRICARE assists beneficiaries returning from Japan

   8:19 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Eagle 810 Facebook page: Click here.

- Grant Okubo

Fussa City power outage canceled

   8:09 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Yokota Air Base Facebook page: Fussa City Office annouced on the Giant Voice that today's Power Outage has been cancelled.

- Grant Okubo


Southwesterly winds could take radioactive materials out to sea

   3:45 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

From AccuWeather.com:

AccuWeather reports winds blowing out to sea from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will prevail in northeastern Japan the next few days.

Light southwesterly winds will waft over the eastward-facing shore site on Tuesday. Any emitted radioactive matter would tend to drift out to sea under such conditions.

On Wednesday, low pressure triggering some cold rain and mountain snow in northeastern Honshu will drift through the site, disrupting wind flow. Winds will vary, at times blowing onshore at the Fukushima site. Radioactive matter could be deposited over land near and downwind from the power plant.

In the wake of the low, offshore winds will set in anew, first from the northwest, then from the southwest on Friday.

- Joe Gromelski
 

Power update for Oshima

   12:15 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

U.S. Navy helps restore power to Oshima island, via 7th Fleet Facebook page.

- Dave Ornauer
 

Forecasts at sea

10:40 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Video posted by Fleet Activities Yokosuka and American Forces Network Yokosuka, shows the Navy's equivalent of the national weather service keeping ships involved in the relief effort updated with forecasts at sea:

http://tinyurl.com/66djf7q

- Dave Ornauer

 Latest situation from World Health Organization

   10:35 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

http://tinyurl.com/6e7zfyf

- Dave Ornauer

 Carolinas' utilities report radiation from Japan

   9:37 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Utilities in North and South Carolina are adding to the list of states in the U.S. reporting trace amounts of radiation from a nuclear reactor in Japan that was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami, according to The Associated Press.

Progress Energy and Duke Energy in North Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. all operate nuclear plants and say they've detected trace amounts of radiation.

Nuclear experts and health officials say there's no public health risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says people are exposed to much more radiation on an international airline flight.

- Sandra Jontz
 

Japan nuclear crisis: Reactors have damaged fuel rods

   9 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

As radiation in seawater near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant increases, Japanese officials said the reactors have damaged fuel rods and may be in partial meltdown, ABC News is reporting.

In a newly released video, smoke can be seen billowing from reactors two and three — the only visible sign of the catastrophe happening inside. On Monday, workers continued to pump out radioactive water inside the plant, according to The Associated Press. Officials said the contaminated water must be taken out before workers can restart and restore the plant's cooling system.

Radioactive water has been found in all four of the reactors at the plant.

- Sandra Jontz
 

Residents warned against returning to nuclear zone

   6:06 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Japanese officials say residents are placing themselves at risk by returning to their homes in the evacuation zone surrounding the earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, Voice of America reported.

Radiation levels of water inside the plant's Number 2 reactor remain dangerously high, and officials said for the first time they believe the water is leaking from inside the plant's containment chamber where it has been exposed to melted-down fuel rods in the reactor's core, VOA reported.

That would confirm suspicions that the reactor suffered at least a partial meltdown, and that the containment chamber has been breached.

At a press conference Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano appealed to residents not to go closer than 12 miles from the plant until officials determine it is safe to do so. He said the government hopes to announce soon that residents can go back to their homes in some parts of the zone for limited periods to collect belongings.

To read more, click here

- Sandra Jontz
 

Confirmed death toll: 28,500

   5 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Japanese Police Agency said more than 28,500 people were confirmed either dead or missing as of Monday. The agency said the death toll rose to 10,901 and the number of people reportedly missing is 17,649. Fatalities are expected to grow because there are many unreported cases of entire families being swept away by the tsunami.

More than 240,000 residents of stricken regions remain in refugee centers.

In Miyagi prefecture alone, fatalities reached 6,627, exceeding that of the Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake in 1995, when 6,434 people were killed in the Kobe and Awaji-shima areas.

- Chiyomi Sumida  
 

No increased radiation levels at Yokota Air Base

   4:45 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted on Yokota Air Base Facebook page: 

Air monitoring results indicate NO increased radiation levels at Yokota. Readings remain at normal everyday levels. Monday’s levels average 31.5 µR. This is equivalent to everyday levels at Sacramento, Calif.

Base officials will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of our residents.

- Matt
 

Ambassador updates Americans in Japan  

     2:40 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos updates Americans on radiation, potassium iodide pills and health issues associated with the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan.

The U.S. embassy in Tokyo posted video on its channel on YouTube.com.


Feather on Eagle 810 today

     2:30 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Yokota commander Col. Otto Feather will update the base community at 3 p.m. on AFN's Eagle 810, which can also be heard on base on channel 20.

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka CO’s video update - Monday

   2:05 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page wall:

Link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/cfayokosuka

- Matt Orr


Negishi Friendship Day canceled

     12:22 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

The Negishi Friendship Day scheduled for April 16 has been cancelled, according to a Facebook post by Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
 

USNH Yokosuka shuttle back

     11:54 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page:

‎The U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Medical Shuttle is back on schedule starting tomorrow leaving in front of Cinema 77 at 7:15 a.m.
 

Atsugi shuttle time change

     11:35 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Posted to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Facebook page:
 
‎The NAF Atsugi Narita Shuttle departure time has changed. The shuttle now leaves at 9 a.m.  from NAF Atsugi to Narita International Airport.
 

Tsunami advisory for damaged northeast lifted

    9:30 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

CNN just reported that the tsunami warning issued earlier this morning for the already-ravaged coastline in Miyagi Prefecture and the surrounding area has been lifted. The Associated Press reported that a magnitude-6.5 earthquake shook Japan, which prompted the alert. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but the Japan Meteorological Agency announced that a tsunami of up to 1.6 feet may wash into Miyagi.

The alert was prompted by a quake that the U.S. Geological Survey measured at 7:23 a.m. Monday Japan time (2223 GMT Sunday) near the east coast of Honshu.

The USGS said the quake was 3.7 miles (5.9 kilometers) deep.
 

No outage at Yokota Monday

     8:50 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Yokota Air Base officials on Facebook this morning said the scheduled power outage outside the gates would not affect the installation, headquarters for the U.S. military’s round-the-clock Operation Tomodachi.
 

GM to restart shut pickup plant in Louisiana

     8:25 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

General Motors will resume regular production at its pickup plant in Shreveport, La., on Monday, a week after the company shut it down and blamed a shortage of parts from Japan.

Falling supplies of auto parts have disrupted car factories around the world ever since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11. That nation is a top producer of autos, but also parts, which aren’t reaching car factories because of earthquake damage, power outages and transportation problems.

Doug Ebey, head of the United Auto Workers local, said Friday that the 800 employees at the Louisiana plant will resume their normal four-day work week on March 28. GM also confirmed the plant was reopening.

"We made the decision to restart Shreveport because we need to build trucks for our customers," said GM spokesman Kim Carpenter. The company makes the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado small pickups at the plant.

GM cited a lack of parts when it shut the plant this week. Hitachi, a Japanese company that makes electronic air sensors, reported that it ran out of some parts. GM uses electronic air sensors on its pickup trucks, and Hitachi supplies several GM models.
 

Nuclear plant downplayed tsunami risk

     3:28 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

In planning their defense against a killer tsunami, the people running Japan's now-hobbled nuclear power plant dismissed important scientific evidence and all but disregarded 3,000 years of geological history, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The misplaced confidence displayed by Tokyo Electric Power Co. was prompted by a series of overly optimistic assumptions that concluded the Earth couldn't possibly release the level of fury it did two weeks ago, pushing the six-reactor Fukushima Dai-ichi complex to the brink of multiple meltdowns.

Instead of the reactors staying dry, as contemplated under the power company's worst-case scenario, the plant was overrun by a torrent of water much higher and stronger than the utility argued could occur, according to an AP analysis of records, documents and statements from researchers, the utility and the Japan's national nuclear safety agency.

Read more here: Nuclear plant downplayed tsunami risk

Study: Big quakes don't set off others far away     

    2:37 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

Here's some good news in the wake of Japan's disaster: A new study says big earthquakes don't set off other dangerous ones around the globe, The Associated Press reports. Big quakes do trigger local aftershocks, but researchers found no sign of setting off moderate-sized events beyond about 600 miles away.

That won't surprise most experts, lead study author Tom Parsons told AP. But it's different from his prior research, which did find a global effect for setting off small quakes, said Parsons, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif.

Parsons and Aaron Velasco of the University of Texas at El Paso reported the work online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

They looked at worldwide earthquake records for the 30 years ending in 2009. There were 205 big earthquakes, with magnitude of 7 or more, and 25,222 moderate ones with magnitudes between 5 and 7.

-- Sandra Jontz


Resiliency of youth takes stage in Japan

     0:12 a.m. Monday, Tokyo time

People in northern Japan, on the long road to recovery after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami, are experiencing moments that bring smiles, tears and fears, CNN reports.

They're coping with the growing death toll, which stood at 10,489 Sunday morning, according to the National Police Agency. About 16,621 are missing and 2,777 were reported injured.

Amid the death and debris, a graduation ceremony at one school reminded people of the resiliency of youth, the news agency wrote.

As women dabbed their eyes, a row of tiny kindergartners took to the stage of a elementary school serving as a refugee center in Natori to sing their school song.

-- Sandra Jontz

Uniform update for Yokota

     Midnight Sunday, Tokyo time 

Via Yokota Air Base, Japan Facebook page:

In case you all were wondering, tomorrow's uniform of the day will be Airman Battle Uniforms and flightsuits, not blues.

-- Dave Ornauer

DODEA Pacific's Facebook page links to WHO information

     11:04 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Latest updates from the World Health Organization on the disaster and relief efforts can also be seen on DODEA Pacific's Facebook page by clicking here:

-- Dave Ornauer
 

Officials: Big spike at Japan nuke plant an error

     10:10 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Important update: Emergency workers struggling to pump contaminated water from Japan's stricken nuclear complex fled from one of the troubled reactors Sunday after reporting a huge increase in radioactivity - a spike that officials later apologetically said was inaccurate, The Associated Press now reports.

The apology came after employees fled the complex's Unit 2 reactor when a reading showed radiation levels had reached 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor's cooling system. Officials said they were so high that the worker taking the measurements had withdrawn before taking a second reading.

On Sunday night, though, plant operators said that while the water was contaminated with radiation, the extremely high reading was a mistake.

Read more here

-- Sandra Jontz

Misawa officials post slides of updated base situation on Facebook

     10:10 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

NAF Misawa's Facebook page updated with latest set of slides on the base situation. To see the update, click here:

-- Dave Ornauer

See previous postings here.

 

 

   12:10 a.m. Wednesday, Tokyo time

From the Associated Press:

Japan's government vowed Tuesday to overhaul nuclear safety standards once its radiation-leaking reactor complex is under control, admitting that its safeguards were insufficient to protect the plant against the March 11 tsunami.

Read the story here.

--Joe Gromelski
 

6.3-magnitude quake strikes off Japan's main island

 

 


 

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