Up to the minute ...

This page has been updated. See the most recent 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 here.

New TRICARE podcast for those departing Japan


   8:19 a.m. Tuesday, Tokyo time

Posted to Eagle 810 Facebook page. Click here.

 - Grant Okubo


Fussa City power outage cancelled

   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


Emergency visa services

   11:30 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From the Naval Legal Service Office Pacific's Facebook page, about emergency visa services (not the credit-card type):

Click here.

- Dave Ornauer


Continuing your child’s education

   10:20 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi via DODEA Pacific Facebook page, updated information for students on voluntary departure, continuing their education while gone:

Read details here.

- Dave Ornauer


Atsugi bank hours

   10:15 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page:

Community Bank is open at 1 p.m. Tuesday on NAF Atsugi.

- Dave Ornauer


Allowances and transportation entitlements

   10 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From DODEA Pacific's Facebook page, updated and abbreviated list of entitlements and benefits for the authorized voluntary departures:

Read details here.

- Dave Ornauer


George Washington underway

   10 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page:

USS George Washington got underway from Yokosuka today to assure she can sustain a state of readiness in the long term for the defense of Japan. The forward deployed carrier is scheduled to remain in the local waters off Japan. Moving USS George Washington is a precaution given the capabilities of the vessel and the complex nature of this disaster.

- Dave Ornauer


Atsugi flight update

   9:35 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page; skipper's latest address:

Watch video here.

- Dave Ornauer


Voluntary departure flight

   9:35 p.m. Monday Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page; next voluntary departure flight:

All Category 1 (Category include expectant mothers, families with infants to two years old and special needs) with last names starting from D through G, expect to assemble at Cinema 77 on Tuesday March 22 at 4 p.m. (DO NOT SHOW UP EARLY) This flight has approximately 125 seats available. The destination is Seattle-Tacoma International.

Category 1 with last names starting H through K are on standby. Category 1 with last names starting H through K, DO NOT report to Cinema 77 unless directed. DO NOT show up early or park in front of Cinema 77. When you arrive at Cinema 77, place your baggage and pet carriers under the sign that corresponds to the first letter of your last name.

The next scheduled flight is Wednesday March 23 in the afternoon.

NOTE: The airlines are only allowing 15 large pet carriers per flight. Passengers may be pushed to the next flight if all pet slots are full. There is no restriction on pet carriers small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.

Military-assisted voluntary departure of dependents categories
No. 1 - Expectant mothers, families with infants to two years old and special needs.

2 - Families with children 3 to 6 years old.

3 - Families with children 7 to 12 years old.

4 - Families with children 13 years old and above or no children.

5 - Families in other categories who decided to depart at a later time.

*** The only pets allowed for travel are dogs and cats with the proper paperwork in authorized pet carriers ***

- Dave Ornauer


10 p.m. flight out of Yokota canceled

   8:15 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Facebook page:

The 10 p.m. flight out of Yokota is canceled. New departure time is 4:20 a.m. Tuesday. Please be at the Fleet Rec by 2 a.m. Bus will pick up passengers at long-term parking by main gate and commissary at 2 a.m.

- Dave Ornauer


Flight schedule procedures:

   8:15 p.m. Monday, Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Facebook page:

Voluntary departure flight schedule methods:

1) CTO - If you had your paperwork processed at PSD, you will receive an e-ticket through your email along with your travel itinerary. Your flight will go through Narita and buses will depart from PSD. They are no longer accepting new requests through the CTO method. All flights are now going through method 2.

2) Fleet Rec - If you had your paperwork processed at Fleet Rec, you will receive a wristband instead of a ticket. Flights processed at Fleet Rec will fly out of Yokota. Buses will leave for these flights at the following locations: Fleet Rec Center, long-term by Main Gate and the commissary parking lot. All new flight requests will go through method 2 only. Please wait till your category is called before heading to the Fleet Rec for processing.

- Dave Ornauer


Yokosuka town hall meeting set

   8:15 p.m. Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s Facebook page:

There will be a town hall meeting at the Benny Decker Theater on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Special guests will be Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Adm. Robert F. Willard , commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

- Dave Ornauer


Yokosuka town hall meeting postponed

   5:23 p.m. Tokyo time

Inclement weather prevented Adm. Robert Willard, head of Pacific Command, and Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Patrick Walsh from flying to Yokosuka Naval Base to participate in a town hall meeting this evening, Navy officials told Stars and Stripes. The meeting has been postponed, but no make-up date has been set.

- Erik Slavin


No trace of radiation found on Global Hawk

   5:10 p.m. Tokyo time

No trace of radiation has been found on the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft that has been flying relief missions over Japan, according to the 36th Wing.

"We have measures in place to ensure the Global Hawk is clean upon return," said Lt. Col. Brandon Baker, Global Hawk detachment commander at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

The Global Hawk operates at high altitudes and has been examined upon its return to Andersen by bio-environmental specialists, who have found no detectable amounts of alpha, beta or gamma radiation.

- Ashley Rowland


Food safety issue ‘serious’

   5:02 p.m. Tokyo time

Reuters reports that the World Health Organization said the detection of radiation in food after the earthquake damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was a more serious problem than it had first expected. "It's a lot more serious than anybody thought in the early days when we thought that this kind of problem can be limited to 20 to 30 kilometers," Peter Cordingley, a Manila-based spokesman for WHO, was quoted by Reuters. He said the WHO had no evidence of contaminated food from Fukushima Prefecture, where the damaged plant is located, reaching other countries.

- Pary Smith


All Cat 1 and Cat 2 (children 3-6) personnel being processed at Fleet Rec 

   4:50 p.m. Tokyo time

From Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page: Category 1 and 2 personnel from Ikego and Negishi should contact their respective OICs. At Ikego, call 246-8042, and at Negishi, call 242-4101. Buses will depart both Navy Exchange parking lots at 6 p.m. Buses will leave for the departure site.

- Ashley Rowland


Japan’s nuclear power energy situation

   2:51 p.m. Tokyo time

Nuclear energy makes up about 30 percent of the total electric power supply in Japan. Since the March 11 earthquake critically damaged six units at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant complex, 48 units are now operating at 16 other nuclear power plants located throughout the country, from Hokkaido to Kyushu (except Okinawa). Japan’s nuclear power generation accounts for 12.3 percent of the world’s nuclear power capability, followed by 27.2 percent for the United States and 16.9 percent for France.
Source: Japan Energy White Paper, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (in Japanese)

- Chiyomi Sumida


Military begins distributing potassium iodide pills to U.S. bases on mainland Japan

   3:49 p.m. Tokyo local time

NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan – The military began distributing potassium iodide pills as a precaution against radiological sickness at bases on the Japanese main island of Honshu, but emphasized that no one should take the pills unless directed.
As of Monday afternoon, detected radiation remained no threat to public health, according to command officials.
“This decision is purely precautionary and while there is no indication of increased exposure, this decision reduces the health risks associated with potential exposure to certain forms of radiation,” according to a U.S. Pacific Command statement.  “No one should take [potassium iodide] at this time.  No one should take KI in the future unless advised to do so by U.S. or Japanese authorities."
The potassium iodide pills were available for pickup on Navy bases at Yokosuka’s Purdy Gym, the Negishi movie theater, the Ikego gym and Atsugi’s Halsey Gym as of 12 p.m. Monday.
U.S. Forces Japan spokesman Maj. Neal Fisher said that Non-Navy bases were still working out their distribution plans, as of 3:15 p.m.
The order came out first through Commander Naval Forces Japan, but was quickly sent out to all Honshu bases as a Pacific Command directive.
Potassium iodide, known chemically as KI, blocks absorption of radioactive iodine, which is one of the chemicals released from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
Potassium iodide “works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid,” according to the Centers for Disease Control website. “When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.”
Appropriate dosages following radiation exposure may vary based on age and other factors, and should only be taken as directed by a doctor.
There is enough potassium iodide for all bases in Japan, according to Navy officials.

- Erik Slavin

7th Fleet steps up relief efforts

   2:14 p.m. Tokyo local time

SEOUL — As some military families in Japan prepared for voluntary evacuations, the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet continued humanitarian aid efforts over the weekend, despite cold weather and aftershocks as strong as 6.1 in magnitude.

Nearly 13,000 U.S. military personnel, along with 20 ships and 140 aircraft, are participating in Operation Tomodachi. As of Sunday evening, 7th Fleet forces had delivered 110 tons of relief supplies, with food, water and warm clothing topping the list of delivery priorities.

Read full story here.

Misawa educators reach out to students as base schools reopen

   2:07 p.m. Tokyo local time

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — School officials are closely monitoring students who returned to school Monday for the first time since a devastating earthquake and deadly tsunamis ravaged northeastern Japan on March 11.
Emmalie Lee, assistant principal at Edgren High School, said all the 7th – to 12th-graders who came to school Monday morning attended an assembly in which mental health specialists talked about how they could deal with the trauma they may have experienced over the past 10 days.

Read full story here.

Navy Federal Credit Union closes at Yokota

   2:04 p.m. Tokyo local time

According to Yokota’s Facebook page, the Navy Federal Credit Union has closed its Yokota branch until further notice.
“Due to the voluntary evacuation, and the very difficult decisions that have been made...it is impossible to staff the branch at this time,” a posting from the assistant branch manager said.

For account servicing, call 1-888-842-6328 or collect internationally, 1-703-255-8837.

- Ashley Rowland

Voluntary departures to fly to Seattle

   1:15 p.m. Tokyo local time

Families from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka bases who take military-assisted flights out of Japan will be leaving from Yokota Air Base and arriving at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said Yokosuka public affairs officer Michelle Stewart on Monday.

- Erik Slavin

Yokosuka town hall postponed

   12:54 p.m. Tokyo local time

From Yokosuka Facebook page:

The town hall meeting scheduled for tonight at 1700 has been postponed until further notice.

- Dave Ornauer

CNFJ directs distribution of Potassium Iodide

   12:51 p.m. Tokyo local time

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan directed that Potassium Iodide (KI) be available for pick-up at 1200 today for all DoD personnel and dependents currently located at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Ikego Housing Detachment, Negishi Housing Detachment, and Naval Air Facility Atsugi.

- Do not take until notified!
- There is enough Potassium Iodide in Japan for all SOFA personnel.
- There will be mass public notification if you need to take Potassium Iodide.
- If notified to take Potassium Iodide, take recommended dosage only!

DoD personnel and their families are asked to proceed in an orderly manner to one of four distribution points to receive their individual allotment in case a need was identified.

Yokosuka - Purdy Gym
Negishi - Negishi Theatre
Ikego - Ikego Basketball Gym
Atsugi - Halsey Gym

- Dave Ornauer

DODEA answering questions via e-mail during dependent departures

   12:48 p.m. local Tokyo time

Posted on Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:

Do you have questions for DODEA about the schools in the midst of the current situation in Japan? E-mail them to evacuation.japan@pac.dodea.edu

- Matt Orr

Atsugi: remember your pet's records

   12:14 p.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page, take care of your pet's records, too:

‎110321@1200 - If your pet needs a 10 day Health Certificate and you need to pick up your pets Health Records the Camp Zama Veterinarian is at NAF Atsugi's Hangar 183 today.

- Dave Ornauer

Misawa base to residents: reduce power usage now

   12:06 local Tokyo time

From AFN Misawa Facebook page:


- Matt Orr

Departing families with pets may be bumped to later flights

   12:03 p.m. local Tokyo time

Families with pets may be bumped to a later flight if the airplane they are mustered for runs out of room for pet carriers, Naval Air Facility commander Capt. Eric Gardner said.
“Some carriers may restrict us to 10 pets in large carriers underneath the aircraft, so passengers may be pushed to the next flight if all the pet slots are full,” Gardner said in messages broadcast Sunday and today on the base commander’s channel.
There will be no restriction on pet carriers small enough to fit under seats, Gardner said.
Gardner added that the first flight would leave on a Boeing 737 with 125 seats.
As of 11 a.m., there was a commercial Boeing 737 at the Atsugi flight line, though there is currently no confirmation that it is the plane designated for families.

- Erik Slavin

Yokosuka banking update

   11:59 a.m. local Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page, re: banking hours.

Community Bank is open and plans to close at 1500; all of their ATMs are operational. Navy Federal Credit Union is also expected to open.

- Dave Ornauer

Phase 1 of voluntary departure for Yokosuka begins at noon

   11:56 a.m. local Tokyo time

Phase 1 of the authorized departure of eligible family members starts PROCESSING at noon today, Monday, 21 March. Phase 1 is Category 1 personnel
ONLY whose last names are from A- E.
Category 1 personnel are:
*  all expectant mothers
*  all families with children up to age 2
* all families with special needs children
Only personnel in Category 1, whose names are from A-E should report to the Fleet Recreation Center at noon for processing.  Please do not bring your luggage. More information will be provided as you process.
If you elect not to depart with your respective phase you will not depart until Phase 5.  Stay tuned for more information.

- Dave Ornauer

DODEA information for departing students, parents, staff on Yokosuka

   11:53 a.m. local Tokyo time

Updated information from Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page for students, parents and DODEA school staff involved with voluntary departure:


- Dave Ornauer

DECA-West: no Kanto area commissary milk, spinach come from Fukushima

   11:49 a.m. local Tokyo time

From Defense Commissary Agency-West, information regarding milk and spinach procurement for Kanto base commissaries; none come from Fukushima area!

No Spinach is being procured from the Ibaraki prefecture for any U.S. military installation in Japan. And, there is No Milk or any other
locally produced food product being procured from the Fukushima prefecure for any U.S. military installation in Japan.  As public affairs officer for the Defense Commissary Agency-West, I want to reinforce that this includes the commissary. Please contact Army VETCOM if you have any questions. Contacts with DeCA are myself and Bruce Graf.

"The Commissary...It's Worth the Trip!"

Nancy O'Nell
Public Affairs Officer
Corporate Communications
Defense Commissary Agency-West
3401 Acacia Street, Suite 115
McClellan, CA 95652
916 569-4839
DSN 839-4839
Cell 804 896-4141

- Dave Ornauer

How to support relief efforts

   11:42 a.m. local Tokyo time

From a U.S. Embassy Tokyo Press Release:

InterrAction, an alliance of U.S. – based non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) maintains a list of organizations accepting donations for the Japanese earthquake response at www.interacion.org.

The American Red Cross (AmRC) also receives donations through text messages of “redcross” sent to 90999.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed; to reduce the burden on scarce resources; can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

Further Information:

USAID                 www.usaid.gov
Embassy Tokyo   http://japan.usembassy.gov/index.html
DOD                    http://www.defense.gov/
PACOM               http://www.pacom.mil
USFJ                    http://www.usfj.mil/
Seventh Fleet        http://www.c7f.navy.mil/index.htm
NRC                     http://www.nrc.gov/

- Matt Orr

Navy College Atsugi cancels on base classes starting today

   11:41 a.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page:
110321@1048 - Message from Navy College Atsugi
All on base classes starting 3/21/11 have been canceled.
Distance learning classes might or might not be canceled depending on the school and its location. Sailors should check with their school directly.
Please have your sailors cancel any courses they signed up for and are not going to take due to this emergency.
They need to cancel the class with the Navy (if using TA) via Navy College and with their school via their school counselor/field rep.
To cancel with the Navy, please have them email "ncoatsugi@fe.navy.mil" with their name, full social and name of the class telling us to cancel their Navy TA voucher or come see us in person or phone us with their details (264-4148).
To cancel with the school they need to officially withdraw from the class via their school counselor/field rep, failure to cancel with their school could lead to the school billing the sailor directly for a partial/full amount of the course. Schools billing departments operate very much like a regular business these days.
Any questions please let me know, thank you for your help in avoiding future problems.
Mark Phelan
Director, Navy College Atsugi; Japan

- Dave Ornauer

Japanese police release latest casualty report

   11:36 a.m. local Tokyo time

On the tenth day after the earthquake, more than 21,000 people were either dead or missing, the Japanese Police Agency said in the latest causality report.
As of Monday morning, 8,649 people were killed while 12,877 people are missing, the agency said. The number of damaged building has reached 126,724 with 14,727 homes and buildings that have totally destroyed or burned down, according to the report. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the fourth biggest recorded earthquake the earth has ever experienced, also made hundreds of thousands of people homeless. As of Monday, 349, 419 people remain evacuated in 2,131 public and private facilities such as schools gymnasiums and community halls.
The fatality is feared to continue to rise. In Miyagi, one of the hardest hit regions, 5,244 people were confirmed dead but the number of people missing is still not available, according to Miyagi prefectural police headquarters. A spokesman for Miyagi prefectural government said that communication has yet to be restored with Ishinomaki City with a population of 160,000 and Onagawa Town with a population of 10,000.  
“The number of fatality we have at this point is far from the reality,” said the spokesman Koichi Sasaki.

- Chiyomi Sumida

Latest Tomodachi Times from Yokota

   11:34 a.m. local Tokyo time

The latest Tomodachi Times from Yokota Air Base's Facebook page:

Click here: http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110320-003.pdf

- Dave Ornauer

Atsugi busing info for voluntary departures

   11:30 a.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page, re: bus transportation for evacuees to Cinema 77:

Public Works has a bus stopping at the 5 bus stops in base housing during today’s Voluntary Departure of Dependents to take travelers to Cinema 77. If the bus is full they will empty and come back to pick you up. This is for Category #1 with last names starting from A to D. Thank you for your patience.

- Dave Ornauer

Phase 1 of voluntary departure for Yokosuka to begin processing at noon

   11:28 a.m. local Tokyo time

Phase 1 of the authorized departure of eligible family members starts PROCESSING at noon today, Monday, 21 March. Phase 1 is Category 1 personnel
ONLY whose last names are from A- E.
Category 1 personnel are:
*  all expectant mothers
*  all families with children up to age 2
* all families with special needs children
Only personnel in Category 1, whose names are from A-E should report to the Fleet Recreation Center at noon for processing.  Please do not bring your luggage. More information will be provided as you process.
If you elect not to depart with your respective phase you will not depart until Phase 5.  Stay tuned for more information.

- Dave Ornauer

Yokosuka to hold town hall tonight

   11:26 a.m. local Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page, town hall meeting tonight:
Today 5:30pm at Benny Decker Theater
There will be a Town Hall Meeting at the Benny Decker Theater on Monday 21 Mar 2011 at 1730. Special guest will be Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Admiral Robert F. Willard , Commander, U.S. Pacific Command.

- Dave Ornauer

Yokosuka bank update

   11:25 a.m. local Tokyo time

11 a.m. Monday Tokyo time. From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page:

*** CFAY Area Banks ***
Community Bank and NFCU may be able to open part of today once staffing is determined. In the meantime, NFCU ATM's at the main facility and Community Bank ATM's have cash.

- Dave Ornauer

All-hands calls at Yokosuka

   11:22 a.m. local Tokyo time

Time Monday, March 21 • 11:00am - 2:00pm

Location C-2 Auditorium

Created By Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka

More Info There will be two CFAY MLC/IHA/HPT Employees All Hands Calls on Monday, 21 March 2011.

Please ensure that your employees attend one of the two times listed below.

1100 C-2 Auditorium
1300 C-2 Auditorium

SECURITY: There will be a special session for FACP at FACP HQ
at 1400.

Please ensure that this is put out to all your employees and adjust
schedules as needed so they may attend one of the sessions.

- Dave Ornauer

Atsugi cancels cherry blossom festivals

   11:20 a.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page, Cherry Blossom Festivals canceled:

‎110321@0825 - Cherry Blossom Fests Canceled - This is an advance notice to those who need to know first - Kamiseya & Atsugi Cherry Blossom Festivals will be canceled this year. Official cancellation notice will be disseminated shortly.

- Dave Ornauer

Japan radiation status update

   11:16 a.m. local Tokyo time

From International Atomic Energy Agency, update on radiation status for Japan:

Click here: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

- Dave Ornauer

CFAY info on voluntary departure entitlements

   11:14 a.m. local Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page, good primer on entitlements and allowances authorised for those who voluntarily depart:
Click here: http://www.npc.navy.mil/NR/rdonlyres/B105FCE0-9738-45F8-AFDE-4B86F0FC2283/0/NAV11093.txt

- Dave Ornauer

Misawa voluntary departure info

   11:10 a.m. local Tokyo time

From Misawa Air Base's Facebook page, voluntary departure updated information: Click here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150119249709386&set=a.10150119249574386.285528.265661109385&ref=nf

- Dave Ornauer

Education info for voluntarily departed students

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page via DODEA Pacific's page. Good information about continuing education for students who've voluntarily departed:

Click here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/commander-fleet-activities-yokosuka/school-information-from-dodea/10150444537425153

- Dave Ornauer

U.S. Embassy update for U.S. citizens

   11:05 a.m. local Tokyo time

Update from U.S. Embassy for U.S. citizens via Fleet Activities Sasebo's Facebook page:
Click here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/commander-fleet-activities-sasebo-japan/press-release-an-update-for-american-citizens-in-japan/10150178299461802

- Dave Ornauer

Info for Japanese citizens traveling on voluntary departure

   11:02 a.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi Facebook page, Information for Japanese citizens traveling on voluntary departure:
Japanese citizens with Japanese passports are allowed to enter the U.S. as temporary visitors under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and will be admitted for 90 days WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A VISITORS VISA.
They must, however, register in advance in the ESTA system and pay a nominal fee of $14. This is a prerequisite. The registration can be done online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. I am hopeful that the DoS will shortly waive this requirement for spouses/family of U.S. military/government workers due to exigencies. However, I would not assume so. As time permits, I would instruct family members to go online and register.
The same rules apply for dependents from the 35 other countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

- Dave Ornauer

Urgent from 35th Civil Engineers at Misawa: Conserve energy!

   10:58 a.m. local Tokyo time

EQ & TSUNAMI UPDATE: Just posted by Misawa AB 35th Civil Engineer Sq:

Power demand is rising sharply! Everyone needs to implement conservation actions across base during today's lunch time hours... Please - turn off your tvs, lights, washing machines, dryers, ovens, and the like... PASS THE WORD!

- Dave Ornauer

Atsugi to allow Japanese to buy gas for their POVs

   10:56 a.m. local Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page, Japanese may buy gasoline on base for their POVs.
NEX Gas Sales to Local National Employees Mar 22, 2011 The situation for available gas off-base and intermittent public transportation due to power outages has not improved significantly enough to ensure our local national work force is able to report to work as needed. Reduction of NAFA local national work force would severely hinder day to day operations at NAF Atsugi. With the supply of NEX gas stabilizing, it has been authorized for NAF Atsugi Local National employees to purchase gasoline at the NEX Autoport under the same ration as authorized patrons on Tuesday 3/22/2011 only. The NEX Gas Station is open 0730-1930.
NAF Atsugi local national employees may only purchase gas for the personal vehicles. Their NAF Atsugi base pass and NAF Atusgi vehicle pass must be verified by Autoport personnel before they are allowed to dispense gas. Credit cards and cash will be accepted. US dollars are preferred however Yen will be accepted at the current *peg rate of 82 and change will be given in US dollars.
This will cause some congestion at the NEX Autoport. Please be patient and understanding. Every attempt will be made to expedite Active Duty in uniform through any excessively long lines.
The ration of 8 gallons per vehicle remains in place.
* Only 1 gallon is authorized in approved containers.
* There is no ration on Diesel at this time.
* *Peg rate is subject to change

- Dave Ornauer

Far East music festival canceled

   10:53 a.m. local Tokyo time

From DODDS Pacific's Far East activities office.
The Far East music festival scheduled for April 25-29 at the Seoul Parktel has been canceled.

- Dave Ornauer

Kanto plain NEX retail operations hours for Tuesday, Wednesday 

   10:39 a.m. local Tokyo time

Tuesday, March 22:
Main Store: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
AutoPortMini Mart:  6 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Home Gallery: closed
Home Accents: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Depot: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Ikego: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Omise: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Kids NEX Door: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Negishi: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
New Sanno Hotel: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Hardy Barracks: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23:
Main Store: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m
AutoPort Mini Mart: 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Home Gallery: closed
Home Accents: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Depot: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Ikego: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Omise: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Kids NEX Door: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Negishi: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
New Sanno Hotel: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Hardy Barracks: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Food Operations
Main Store (H20) Food Court: 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Taco Bell: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sbarro's: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Bayside: 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. 
Main Street Food Operations
Subway: 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Popeye's: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Manchu Wok: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
McDonald's: 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Seattle's Best and Cinnabon:  10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Long John Silvers and A&W: 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.

- Ashley Rowland

Death toll in Japan exceeds 8,000

   10:33 a.m. local Tokyo time

From the Washington Post:

TOKYO - The combined toll of those dead and missing after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami surpassed 21,000 Sunday, and new food-contamination reports surfaced as workers continued to try to tame the radiation-spewing Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Government officials said that the nuclear emergency may soon be under control. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) reported incremental progress over the weekend in efforts that could restore electricity to the entire blacked-out, six-reactor complex.
Two reactors now have power from diesel generators and two other reactors are hooked up to new electrical cables that could soon provide juice to the cooling systems. Meanwhile, fire trucks Sunday launched seawater onto a boiling pond that stores the spent nuclear fuel rods from one of the other reactors.
Officials sweated out a touch-and-go decision Sunday on whether to vent radioactive gases to the air to keep the primary containment vessel for reactor unit 3 from building up too much pressure. A similar pressure buildup led to a March 15 explosion on a different reactor, triggering a dramatic spike in radiation near the plant. Officials decided not to vent any gas, but said the move may yet be necessary.
“We consider that now we have come to a situation where we are very close to getting the situation under control,” Deputy Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said.
Graham Andrew, a senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), gave a more equivocal assessment Sunday. “There have been some positive developments in the last 24 hours, but overall the situation remains very serious,” he said.

Nissan to resume auto production at more Japanese factories

  9:48 a.m. local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Nissan Motor Co. plans to resume auto and parts production at more Japanese factories next week, but it may be several months before inventories and other elements of the country's auto industry return to normal.
Nissan said it will resume production of parts at five plants Monday. It then plans to resume vehicle production Thursday as long as supplies last.
Most of Japan's auto industry shut down after a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated the country earlier this month. Nissan and other carmakers have started resuming some production, but the industry still faces rolling blackouts and infrastructure problems.
Supply levels probably won't return to normal until mid to late summer, said Michael Robinet, director of global production forecasting for IHS Automotive.

Yokosuka, Zama schools set to reopen Tuesday

   9:07 a.m. local Tokyo time

Schools at Yokosuka Naval Base and Camp Zama are scheduled to reopen to students on Tuesday, according to the Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific.
The following schools were scheduled to reopen:
• Arnn ES
• Byrd ES
• Ikego ES
• Kinnick HS
• Lanham ES
• Sullivans ES
• Yokosuka MS
• Zama American MS
• Zama American HS
“We are making day-to-day assessments based on coordination with our military partners and developments at the Fukushima nuclear power plant,” DODEA said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “The safety and well being of our students and employees are top priorities and this schedule may change accordingly.”

- Travis Tritten

International Atomic Energy Agency: Radiation levels still no threat in Tokyo area

   8:58 a.m. local Tokyo time

Note: UTC time is nine hours behind Japan Standard Time
Radiation levels near Fukushima Daiichi and beyond have elevated since the reactor damage began. However, dose rates in Tokyo and other areas outside the 30 km zone remain below levels which would require any protective action. In other words they are not dangerous to human health.
Dose rates have been provided by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology for 47 cities and town representing a comprehensive nationwide monitoring network. The data set covers the period from 15 March 08:00 UTC to 20 March 17:00 UTC with an hourly sampling frequency. No significant changes of dose rates have been observed if compared to previous day data.
At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, radiation levels spiked three times since the earthquake, but have stabilized since 16 March at levels which are, although significantly higher than the normal levels, within the range that allows workers to continue onsite recovery measures. Two new on-site environmental monitoring locations have been added to the monitoring network.

- Erik Slavin

Misawa base schools open for business

   8:48 a.m. local Tokyo time

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Schools on base were open Monday for the first time since the devastating March 11 earthquake.

- T.D. Flack

Yokota pulling eggs and milk off shelves

   8:46 a.m. local Tokyo time

Yokota Air Base is pulling all eggs and milk stocked after March 12 from store shelves, base commander Col. Otto Feather said during a radio interview Sunday night.
Feather said base residents were becoming concerned following reports by a U.S. cable news network that food and water in Japan may be contaminated with radioactivity from the failing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
However, there is no reason to believe the food poses any health threat, he said.
The decision to pull the food was made “not because we have any concerns over” safety but because news reports have made residents unwilling to buy the food, Feather told the Armed Forces Network. “When that [news] gets out, nobody wants it and it rots,” Feather said.
He said the base continually samples water for radiation and has found “no indication we have a problem here” at Yokota.

-Travis J. Tritten

Official: Nuclear crisis may affect placement of U.S. reactors

   8:33 a.m. Monday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested Sunday that Japan’s nuclear crisis might make it less likely that new nuclear reactors are built near large American cities, just one of many safety changes that could be forthcoming as U.S. officials review reactor safety.
“Certainly where you site reactors and where we site reactors going forward will be different than where we might have sited them in the past,” Chu said in response to questions about the Indian Point nuclear plant near New York City. “Any time there is a serious accident, we have to learn from those accidents and go forward.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said his agency will again review how U.S. nuclear plants store spent-fuel from nuclear reactors. The state of the spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been a major concern as Japanese officials try to stem the release of radiation and bring the reactors under control.
“Five days ago everybody was worried about earthquakes and tsunamis and the reactors cooling,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told The Associated Press. “Today everybody is worried about the spent fuel pools. Until this is resolved we are not going to ultimately know what the most important factors are in terms of what needs to be addressed.”

Air Force's largest aircraft lands at Sendai

   8:31 a.m. Monday local Tokyo time

The Air Force said the first C-17 Globemaster -- one of the largest aircraft in the service's inventory -- landed at Sendai airport in Japan on Sunday.
The Sendai airport was mostly destroyed and its runway littered with debris following the earthquake and tsunamis earlier this month. But U.S. forces cleared the runway and are now delivering relief supplies.
The 517th Airlift Squadron of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, delivered an all-terrain forklift to download supplies including four pallets of water and six pallets of blankets and food.
The supplies were sponsored by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Japan Mission Center in Osaka and other church partners in Japan.

- Travis Tritten

More Yokota residents awaiting departure flights

   8:28 a.m. Monday local Tokyo time

About 447 residents at Yokota Air Base wanted to leave Japan on voluntary departure flights by about 5 p.m. on Sunday, the base public affairs office said.
Of those, about 354 residents and 38 pets had been processed following a day of work by the base to compile names of those who will be put on future flights from the base.
A flight back to the United States was expected Tuesday. The first group of voluntary departures left Yokota on Saturday.
About 8,000 residents from bases in central and northern Japan have said they want to leave Japan as the country battles against a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

-Travis J. Tritten

Yokota vet clinic back to normal hours

   8:24 a.m. Monday local Tokyo time 

The Yokota Air Base Vet Clinic will return to normal business hours starting today. Appointments will be on a walk-in basis with priority given to health certificates required for departure. The clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. It is closed daily from noon to 1 p.m.

- Travis Tritten

Japanese officials report progress

7:21 a.m. Monday local Tokyo time

Japanese officials reported progress Sunday in their battle to gain control over a leaking, tsunami-stricken nuclear complex, though the crisis was far from over, with the discovery of more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water adding to public fears about contaminated food and drink.

The announcement by Japan’s Health Ministry late Sunday that tests had detected excess amounts of radioactive elements on canola and chrysanthemum greens marked a low moment in a day that had been peppered with bits of positive news: First, a teenager and his grandmother were found alive nine days after being trapped in their earthquake-shattered home. Then, the operator of the overheated nuclear plant said two of the six reactor units were safely cooled down.

“We consider that now we have come to a situation where we are very close to getting the situation under control,” Deputy Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said.

Still, serious problems remained at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. Pressure unexpectedly rose in a third unit’s reactor, meaning plant operators may need to deliberately release radioactive steam. That has only added to public anxiety over radiation that began leaking from the plant after a monstrous earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan on March 11 and left the plant unstable. As day broke Monday, Japan’s military resumed dousing of the complex’s troubled Unit 4.

The safety of food and water was of particular concern. The government halted shipments of spinach from one area and raw milk from another near the nuclear plant after tests found iodine exceeded safety limits. But the contamination spread to spinach in three other prefectures and to more vegetables — canola and chrysanthemum greens. Tokyo’s tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has cesium. Rain and dust are also tainted.

The Health Ministry also advised Iitate, a village of 6,000 people about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the Fukushima plant, not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of iodine. Ministry spokesman Takayuki Matsuda said iodine three times the normal level was detected there — about one twenty-sixth of the level of a chest X-ray.

Update on services available Monday at Fleet Activities Yokosuka

12:00 a.m.

- Post Office: Open for normal working hours.
 - NEX:
 *Main Store and Mini Mart: 0900-2000
 *Autoport Mini Mart: 0600-2100
 *Home Accents: 0900-2000
 *Ikego Mini Mart: 1000-1800
 *Fleet Store: 0900-1900
 *NEX Depot: 0900-1700
 *Kids NEX Door: 0900-2100
 *Omise: 0900-1700
 *Home Gallery: Closed
 Normal Working Hours:  Dry Cleaning, Personalized Services,
 Pack 'n Wrap, Video Rental, Base Taxi, New Car Sales
  *Food Service Operations: Sat/Sun/Mon 1000-2100 for Taco Bell and A&W
 0630-2030 for Main Store Food Court
 1100-2100 for Sbarro's
 0730-2100 for Bayside
 0630-2100 for Subway
 1100-1800 for Popeyes and Manchu Wok
 - Commissary: Open for normal working hours.
 - NFCU: Closed until further notice.  All NFCU ATM’s are out of cash.
 - Community Bank: Monday hours depend on staffing.  Closure is not yet determined. 
 - Negishi bank is closed until further notice.  
 - Community Bank ATM’s are the only source for cash on base. 
 -- Dave Ornauer

Health ministry restricts sale of vegetables

11:55 p.m.

Sales of vegetables from prefecture surrounding Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Health Ministry says.


UAE will consider Japan’s crisis in nuclear plans

   10:34 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates nuclear regulatory agency says it is moving ahead with a review for the Gulf nation’s first atomic energy plants and will incorporate findings from Japan’s crisis to make them safer.

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation director-general, William Travers, said Sunday a second round of safety reviews will be conducted once one already under way is complete.

Travers says information gleaned from Japan’s experience with several reactors damaged by an earthquake and tsunami will be used to “enhance the safety of the peaceful nuclear power program here in the UAE.”

The UAE plans to open its first nuclear power plant in 2017.

-- AP

2 of 6 units now under control

   9:59 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

TOKYO  — Japan nuclear plant operator says 2 of 6 units now under control after fuel storage pools cool.

-- AP

NAF Atsugi skipper's update

   9:30 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Link to NAF Atsugi skipper's update.  Click here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=210380378972681&comments

-- Dave Ornauer

Ichiro donates $1.2 million to quake relief

   9:17 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

In his years with the Mariners Ichiro Suzuki has shown a quiet but consistent sort of leadership that is more about setting an example than showing off. And like the true leadoff man he is, Ichiro today  proved that he is indeed in a class of his own with his donation to the Japan Red Cross for $1.2 million. I tip my cap to you Ichiro for stepping-up in this great hour of need for the Japanese people.

In addition the Nintendo Corp. the parent company of Nintendo America who have a majority interest in the Mariners, have pledged $3.7 million to the relief efforts for those affected by the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. Also on the local scene, the Mariners have decided to match everything that we the fans donate to the Red Cross during the first home series, so plan on bringing some extra cash to the game as we here in Seattle try to put together a rally for our friends across the Pacific.

-Seattle Post Intelligencer blog

Japan to consider restricting food shipments

   9:10 p.m., local Tokyo time

The Japanese government will decide by Monday on whether to restrict consumption and shipments of food products from the area in the vicinity of a quake-hit nuclear complex, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Sunday, after higher-than-normal levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach from the area.

-- Reuters

Updated voluntary departure info from Misawa

   8:50 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From DODEA Pacific's Facebook page.

EQ & TSUNAMI UPDATE: Good info from AFN Misawa. Note the timestamp — as these come out, we'll delete the previous post on our page as this is the current information.

Click here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=285246&id=265661109385&fbid=10150118658214386#!/photo.php?fbid=10150118658259386&set=a.10150118658214386.285246.265661109385&theater

-- Dave Ornauer

Nothing short of a miracle

   8:50 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

80-year-old grandmother and 16-year-old grandson found alive in rubble 10 days after quake.


-- Dave Ornauer

Radiation discovery fans food fears in Japan

   8:45 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

At a bustling Tokyo supermarket Sunday, wary shoppers avoided one particular bin of spinach. The produce came from Ibaraki prefecture in the northeast, where radiation was found in spinach grown up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Another bin of spinach - labeled as being from Chiba prefecture, west of Tokyo - was sold out.

"It's a little hard to say this, but I won't buy vegetables from Fukushima and that area," said shopper Yukihiro Sato, 75.

From corner stores to Tokyo's vast Tsukiji fish market, Japanese shoppers picked groceries with care Sunday after the discovery of contamination in spinach and milk fanned fears about the safety of this crowded country's food supply. The anxiety added to the spreading impact of the unfolding nuclear crisis triggered when the March 11 tsunami battered the Fukushima complex, wrecking its cooling system and leading to the release of radioactive material.


Workers report success at nuke plant

   8:00 p.m., local Tokyo time

Workers began to see some success in their battle to cool down reactors at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Sunday, but Japanese officials said they may need to release additional radioactive gas into the air.

The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said electricity was being supplied to a switchboard in reactor No. 2.

But officials said they were monitoring reactor No. 3 to determine whether to release gas to reduce mounting pressure in the containment vessel -- the steel and concrete shell that insulates radioactive material inside.


Monday All-Hands Call for ATGWP

   6:55 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From Afloat Training Group Western Pacific's Facebook page:

To all ATGWP, CNE, CPPD, CID, CSCS, CSF, and TSD Active Duty Personnel, there is an ALL HANDS CALL in the ATG Auditorium at 0900 Monday, 21 MARCH 2011.

Additionally, we will not conduct Command PT Monday. All hands are encouraged to continue their individual PT regiment during that time frame.

-- Dave Ornauer

Narita bus running for Atsugi

   6:50 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Today, CTO has begun issuing earlier flights out of Narita, according to the Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page. As a result, the Navy has established a 6 a.m. Narita bus run that will begin running on Monday. There will be a separate truck for pets. The roll call will occur at 5:15 a.m. at the PSD building.

-- Dave Ornauer

Help in Seattle for evacuees

   6:45 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

NAF Atsugi and Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook pages have information about facilities available to evacuees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: http://www.facebook.com/notes/commander-naval-forces-japan/following-information-is-provided-regarding-seatac-seattletacoma-airport-arrival/10150121969180768

-- Dave Ornauer

Tips on how to cope with stress

   6:45 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Good resource from Fleet Activities Yokosuka on how to cope with the stresses of the ongoing events in Japan: http://www.facebook.com/notes/commander-fleet-activities-yokosuka/navy-medicine-family-support-and-psychological-health-guidance/10150443440320153

-- Dave Ornauer

DODEA posts info on Facebook

   6:40 p.m. Sunday, Japan time

Good information about voluntary evacuations and resources for how to keep your sons' and daughters' education continuing: http://www.dodea.edu/home/japan-evacuation.cfm 

-- Dave Ornauer

Update on status of DODDS Pacific schools

   6:30 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From DODEA Pacific's Facebook page

As of Sun. 03/20/2011

Based on current information, all Misawa AB schools will REOPEN on Mon. (3/21).

The following schools will be CLOSED to students but OPEN to staff on Mon. (3/21):

• Arnn ES
• Byrd ES
• Ikego ES
• Kinnick HS
• Lanham ES
• Sullivans ES
• Yokosuka MS
• Zama American MS
• Zama American HS

Please note that ALL these schools are scheduled to REOPEN to students on Tues. (3/22).

We are making day-to-day assessments based on coordination with our military partners and developments at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The safety and well being of our students and employees are top priorities and this schedule may change accordingly. Please check back regularly for updates.

-- Dave Ornauer

374th Airlift Wing commanding officer on AFN

   6:30 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From DODEA Pacific's Facebook page:

Live interview on AFN Tokyo with Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commanding officer. Good information. Click here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=10150112365579005&oid=168492266529725&comments

-- Dave Ornauer

Marines aiding re-opened Sendai Airport

   6:30 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler public affairs office.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP S.D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan - Three KC-130J aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force based at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and operating out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni landed at Sendai Airport March 20 carrying water and goodwill supplies as part of ongoing relief efforts led by the Government of Japan.

The flights were the first to land at Sendai since the airport re-opened March 20 after suffering extensive damage from a tsunami that struck after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake March 11.

Additionally, Marines of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265, MAG 36, 1st MAW, III MEF transported 18 pallets of clothing and two pallets of food in four CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters from Naval Air Facility Atsugi to Yamada Radar Site, north of Sendai, Japan March 20. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force received the pallets to distribute to displaced citizens throughout areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Currently, there are approximately 676 Marines, sailors, and civilians from III MEF and Marine Corps Bases Japan deployed in support of Operation Tomodachi. Marine aircraft have flown 236 sorties to date for continued support to the foreign humanitarian assistance mission.

The name Tomodachi means "friends" in Japanese, and was chosen by Japan.
For more stories, photos, videos and information about the ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations being conducted by III MEF.

-- Dave Ornauer

Japan says crippled nuclear plant must be scrapped

   5:35 p.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Japan’s top government spokesman says the country’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant must eventually be scrapped.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano’s comment Sunday was the first word from the government that the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex will have to be closed once its overheating reactors are brought under control.

Closing the plant is inevitable, since the seawater that emergency crews are using to cool the reactors is corrosive, rendering key parts of the complex unusable.

Edano says the plant will be in no condition to be restarted.

GM cuts unnecessary spending during Japan crisis

   4:58 p.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: GM said Saturday it is cutting unnecessary spending companywide as it assesses the impact of production disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The move will help the automaker preserve cash as it deals with the financial implications from shortages of parts made in Japan, a company spokesman said. The cost-cutting effort, which includes travel, took effect last week and will be in place for an undetermined period.

The news follows General Motors Corp.’s announcement Friday that two of three shifts will be canceled at a plant in Eisenach, Germany on Monday and Tuesday. Another plant in Zaragoza, Spain will remain closed Monday. The plants produce the Corsa compact car.

In the U.S., GM said Thursday it will halt production at its pickup plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, next week.

Taiwan finds radiation on imported beans from Japan

   4:55 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Radiation was detected on fava beans imported from Japan to Taiwan, Taiwanese officials said Sunday in what appears to be the first case of contamination in Japan ese imports.

Taiwan’s Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council Radiation Monitoring Center said in a statement that a small amount of iodine and cesium had been found on a batch of Japan ese fava beans imported to the island on Friday. The center said 11 becquerels of iodine and 1 becquerel of cesium were detected.

The amount of radiation was well below Taiwan’s legal limit and not harmful to human health, an official from the center told The Associated Press.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to deal with the media.

The radiation was detected on the surface of the beans in one batch, the official said. He did not know where in Japan the beans originated.

Japanese officials said Saturday that radiation in low amounts was detected in spinach and milk produced near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power complex in northeast  Japan that has been leaking radiation since being critically damaged by an earthquake and tsunami March 11.

The tainted milk and spinach were collected from farms ranging from 20 miles (30 kilometers) to 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the leaking reactors, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

The area is rich farm country where a variety of foods are grown. Other tests are being conducted, and Edano said food shipments from the area would be halted if further contamination was detected.

Japanese officials said the radiation amounts in the milk and spinach were so small that people would have to consume unimaginable amounts to endanger their health.

Plans called off for new venting at Japan reactor

   4:45 p.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From The Associate Press: The operator of Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant has backed away from plans for a tricky venting of radioactive gas at one of the troubled reactors, saying that pressure inside has stabilized.

Tokyo Electric Power company officials say the company has decided that there is no immediate need to vent the pressure at the Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. They say the pressure is relatively high, but that it has stabilized.

Marines deliver fuel to Sendai

   4:20 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing transported fuel to devasted areas in Sendai, Japan over the weekend, according to the Marine Corps.

Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 of the III Marine Expeditionary Force transported 76 barrels of kerosene, provided by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, in six CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters from Tagajo Fuel Depot near to distribution points in an area that was among the most hardest hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunamis, the Kerosene is used to heat homes in Japan and the fuel is running low in areas still cut off from the outside world due to damage and the continuing threat of a nuclear disaster at the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

The Japan Ground Self Defense Force procured the kerosene and requested the help of the Marine Corps to transport the fuel by helicopter to areas including Ishinomaki Josi High School, Shizugawa Bayside Arena, Onagawa Village and a JGSDF fuel point.

--  Travis Tritten

Japanese government: Rain poses no health risk

   2:48 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

The Japanese government said that rain would pose no health risk. “Rainfall would pose no health risk, therefore, please feel at ease,” said an announcement posted on the Cabinet Office website.

In some cases, there is a possibility that radiation levels higher than those that naturally exist in nature could be detected from rain water, it said. However, they are in extremely small amounts that would pose no health threat, the announcement said.

“From the standpoint that the levels remain within the safety limits, it remains the same as usual,” it said. To assure further safety, the government suggests taking some precaution to residents living in Tohoku and Kanto regions, the areas reportedly affected by the nuclear power plant accident. Refrain from going out unless on urgent business and protect hair and skin from rain, it said. “While there is no need to worry, however, if hair or skin is exposed to rain, wash them off with running water,” it said.

The announcement reiterates that with not taking the suggested precaution does not mean there is a health risk. “It is a precaution to reassure further safety,” it said. According to Japan Meteorological Agency, rain is predicted Sunday and Monday in Fukushima, where the troubled nuclear power plant is located, while in Tokyo and Kanagawa, about 140 miles south of the nuclear plant, rain is forecasted on Monday and Tuesday. No rain is forecasted in Aomori, where Misawa is located.

--Chiyomi Sumida

Motorcycle season given early start

   2:30 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Misawa Air Base officials have authorized an early start for the 2011 motorcycle riding season in an effort to conserve limited gas supplies on the base. Effective immediately, licensed personnel are authorized to ride their motorcycles. Officials may rescind the order based on weather conditions.

--T.D. Flack


Officials: Pressure rises again in Japan reactor

   2:07 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From the Associated Press: Japan's nuclear safety agency says pressure is again rising in one of reactors at the country's tsunami-damaged nuclear complex - a setback that means operators will have to vent more radioactive gas into the environment. Safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama said Sunday that efforts to put water in the Unit 3 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex might not have been working. He says the plant operator will release some radioactive gas from the reactor into the environment and that this may slow work on restoring power and cooling systems to the unit. Nishiyama says that means radiation levels around the plant will rise again.


Latest numbers on Misawa voluntary departures

   1:37 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Latest numbers on volunteer departures at Misawa 1:35 p.m. Sunday local Tokyo time As of noon, more than 1,100 family members had signed up for the voluntary departures at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Base officials said the final numbers “are still to be determined.”

--T.D. Flack


No voluntary departure flights from Yokota Sunday

   1:33 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

The will be no voluntary departure flights out of Yokota Air Base today (Sunday), according to the base public affairs office. The first flight of military family members fleeing Japan left the base around 5 p.m. Saturday for Seattle, Wash. The Air Force said it plans to run 11 flights from Yokota between now and March 27. It was not immediately clear why no flights were scheduled for the day. The air base referred all questions to U.S. Forces Japan.

--Travis Tritten


Death Toll rises to 7,700

   1:13 p.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Japanese Police Agency said more than 19,000 people are either dead or missing as of Sunday morning. The agency announced that 7,700 people were claimed dead and 11,651 people are still missing.

The number of damaged buildings has reached 117,274, including 14,407 homes and buildings destroyed, the agency said. As of Sunday morning, a total of 362,580 evacuees were taken to shelters at 2,213 public and private facilities.

Meanwhile, the body of the mayor of Otsuchi was found late Saturday, according to a spokesman for Iwate prefectural government. Mayor Koki Kato, 69, was found dead on Highway 45 Bypass, near Otsuchi Town Hall, said the spokesman Yoshihiko Sugawara. Sugawara said that Kato and his staff were holding an emergency countermeasure meeting shortly after the earthquake, when tsunami swept the town, which is located by the shore. While some staff escaped, 40 officials have been missing, he said. Besides Kato, four bodies of the town officials who were at the meeting were identified and recovered, he said. In Iwate, 2,104 people were dead, with 4,874 are missing. More than 45,000 people in the prefecture have either temporary or permanently lost their homes, he said.

--Chiyomi Sumida


TriCare page for those leaving Japan

   11:08 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

TriCare has established a special page for beneficiaries for those planning to or have already left Japan: click here.

-- Dave Ornauer


Update from NAF Atsugi Commanding Officer  

11:05 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Update from NAF Atsugi commanding officer: 110320@1000 - CO UPDATE: The Military Assisted Voluntary Departure of Dependents process is still planned and ready to go. Commercial aircraft are positioning for passengers, and as of 0930 20 March, the first arrival of an aircraft at NAF Atsugi is currently scheduled to be 1220 tomorrow afternoon. There was an aircraft that left Yokota earlier; however, that aircraft was not specifically assigned as an asset that was part of this execution; it was a normally scheduled Patriot Express flight for PCS personnel. NAF Atsugi is fully prepared and ready to support an orderly voluntary departure of dependents with assets that arrive here. Once we receive word of an expected arrival time of an aircraft assigned to this operation, the process that I have described over the last two days will commence. Secondly, air quality readings are being continuously taken onboard. We are clear and there are no recommended restrictions on outdoor movement or activity. Lastly, given the report yesterday of trace amounts of radiation found in one sample of Tokyo water supply; please know that NAF Atsugi sits on top of our own aquifer. We test, filter, purify, and fluorinate our base water supply and it is perfectly safe to drink. I greatly appreciate your continued patience and as we receive further information we will pass it on via appropriate media.

-- Dave Ornauer


Useful Evacuation Resources

   11:03 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From Afloat Training Group Western Pacific's Facebook page: Please visit the ATGWP OMBUDSMAN profile and view the photo album labeled "USEFUL RESOURCES" for more information regarding actions during and after a possible evacuation. Also recently published is the link to CNO directed NAVADMIN "PERSONNEL (FAMILY & DEPENDENTS) SUPPORT FOR OPERATION TOMODACHI" for your situational awareness.

-- Dave Ornauer


Yokosuka Town Hall Meeting

   11 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From DODEA Pacific Facebook page: EQ & TSUNAMI UPDATE: Commander, Naval Forces Japan Announcement from CFAY: There will be a Town Hall Meeting at the Benny Decker Theater on Monday 21 Mar 2011 at 5:30 p.m. Special guest will be ADM Walsh, U.S. Pacific Fleet and ADM Williard , U.S. Pacific Command.

-- Dave Ornauer


Tokyo utility boosting generation, eases blackouts

   9:41 a.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From the Associated Press: Tokyo's electric company plans to ease power shortages by restarting a conventional power plant that was shut down after the devastating March 11 quake.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday the company hopes to get the No. 1 unit of the gas-fired Higashi Ogishima plant running again within a week. The spokesman, Naoyuki Matsumoto, said he had no details about the increase in power the plant would supply.

Tokyo Electric, which owns the quake-stricken Fukushima nuclear complex, has enforced rolling blackouts on the sprawling Japanese capital due to shortages caused by earthquake and tsunami damage.


Info on voluntary departure pre-processing at Yokota

   9:30 a.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

Posted on Yokota website:

by 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/19/2011 — YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — In an attempt to minimize waiting times for those individuals who are voluntarily departing, we are providing an opportunity for them to come to the Taiyo and pre-process through the travel line. The entire family does not have to come, as a parent or guardian can take care of the processing for their entire family. Do not bring luggage or pets to pre-processing.

Pre-processing will be conducted Sunday, 20 Mar, 0600-2200, and Monday, 21 Mar,
0600-2200. In order to ensure you are processed quickly, bring the following mandatory documents to the Taiyo.

  • Valid passport for each member
  • Military ID/CAC card for members age 10 and older
  • Copy of PCS orders (to Japan)
  • Birth certificate for infants who do not have a passport
  • USFJ Form 178 already filled out and signed by sponsor, First Sergeant, or Commander. (Only one USFJ Form 178 required per family.)
  • If you are shipping a pet:
    —Pet health certificate from veterinarian
    —Rabies certificate from veterinarian

After pre-processing, we will provide wristbands for each member of your family that is departing — the wristband is validation that a departing family member has been pre-processed. When you are called to come back to the Taiyo for final processing, all departing family members must have their wristbands. Pre-processing will cut the final processing time significantly; family members will only be required to process luggage, pets, and go through Customs and airport security screening.

If you have any questions, please call your unit VADR for updated information.


Radiation readings low, diplomat says

   8:30 a.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From the Associated Press: U.N. radiation tracking from Japan's crippled nuclear plant shows levels taken elsewhere in the country, as well as in Russia and California, are minuscule, a diplomat with access to the readings said Saturday. In Japan officials said that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the nuclear complex exceeded government safety limits, even though they represented no immediate health risk. The Vienna-based diplomat said the atmospheric measurements are 100 million to 1 billion times less than health-threatening levels. He said the readings were taken on Friday at Takasaki, Japan, about 330 kilometers (200 miles) southwest of the accident site near the city of Fukushima; at Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky on Russia's Kamtchatka Peninsula; and at Sacramento, California. The diplomat was citing readings taken from the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. Set up to monitor all nuclear testing, the CTBTO's worldwide network of stations can also detect earthquakes, tsunamis and fallout from accidents such as the disaster on Japan's northeastern coast that was set off by a massive earthquake and a devastating tsunami eight days ago. The diplomat asked for anonymity because the CTBTO does not make its data public.


Flight from Yokota arrives in States

   8:26 a.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Seattle - Hundreds of U.S. military family members fleeing Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor troubles there arrived Saturday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where they awaited travel arrangements that would take them to homes around the country.
Nearly 240 family members — including 190 children — landed after a 10-hour flight chartered by the Defense Department from Yokota Air Base, said Navy Region Northwest spokesman Sean Hughes. They’re the first of what is expected to be thousands of military personnel and their families arriving at Sea-Tac over the next week or so.
The families evacuated voluntarily, many over concerns about radiation. The Defense Department paid travel costs and provided other emergency financial assistance.
"I thought it was in the best interest of my family," said Jennifer Hamuka, who was traveling home to St. Louis with her two teenage children. "The radiation risk isn’t bad right now, but I didn’t want to take the chance of there being a big risk in the near future."

Electric power partially restored at nuclear plant

   8:25 a.m.

From the Los Angeles Times: Working overnight into Sunday, engineers have successfully restored power to cooling pumps in two reactors at the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the first genuinely hopeful sign in the weeklong battle to prevent a meltdown at any of the six reactors at the site.
Although power has so far been restored only at reactor buildings 5 and 6, which were not considered a particular threat, that success suggests that workers are finally beginning to make some headway in their effort to prevent more radiation from escaping the plant.
The two reactors had been shut down at the time the magnitude 9 earthquake struck a week ago, but spent fuel rods in an upper level of the reactor buildings were still generating heat and required cooling. When electricity at the site was lost and the tsunami damaged backup generators, the pools holding the fuel rods began to grow warmer.
Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant, said water in the No. 5 pool had already cooled by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit since the cooling pumps had started working.
Engineers said they hoped to have the power connected to the remaining reactor buildings sometime Sunday or early Monday.

U.S. military helps out at Sendai Airport

   8 a.m. Sunday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: Especially noteworthy among the various relief activities are early efforts by the U.S. military to restore the damaged Sendai Airport, one of the most important transportation bases in the devastated region. The airport, directly hit by tsunami, could not be used due to the rubble and wrecked automobiles strewn across its runways.
U.S. marines stationed in Okinawa Prefecture arrived there and started to remove the debris. Thanks to their efforts, the airport could resume part of its functions and serve as an emergency landing field for helicopters and other aircraft carrying relief materials.

Prefab homes being built for evacuees

   7:40 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

From The Associated Press: The construction of makeshift housing has begun in the city of Rikuzen-Takata, Japan, devastated by the massive March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
The government and industrial organizations are speeding up efforts to secure enough materials to build temporary housing for people displaced by the disaster.
Efforts at supporting and rebuilding the daily lives of quake-affected people are coming into reality, albeit little by little.
Meanwhile, Japan Post Group announced that it will offer inns and hotels operated by its parent company as temporary housing for up to 22,000 people affected by the quake.
In Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, 10,547 people — nearly half the population — are forced to live at evacuation sites.
In the schoolyard of Rikuzen-Takata No. 1 Middle School, now home to 1,250 people — the largest number of evacuees at one place in the city — heavy construction machinery and trucks loaded with construction material arrived one after another Saturday morning.
After about 60 construction personnel offered a silent prayer at the ground-breaking ceremony, Rikuzen-Takata Mayor Futoshi Toba said, “We have to move forward, so it is quite encouraging that the construction work is now starting.”

DODEA information page for Japan

   4:15 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

"Your children may have experienced a number of traumatic events including the authorized departure. Continuing your child's education and resuming the stability and routine of school must be a top priority once you get settled at your safe haven. Following are the most viable options available to parents for resuming their child's education"

View the page here.

Japan cites radiation in milk, spinach near plant

   3:15 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

In the first sign that contamination from Japan's stricken nuclear complex had seeped into the food chain, officials said Saturday that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the tsunami-crippled facility exceeded government safety limits.

Read the full story here.

Fukushima water tested above safe limit two days ago

   1:37 a.m. Sunday, Tokyo time

Radioactive iodine in drinking water was at one point above government safety limits in the prefecture that hosts a radiation-spewing nuclear plant, the Health Ministry said late Saturday after reporting that trace amounts had also been detected in Tokyo and five other prefectures.

Fukushima water tested above safe limit 2 days ago

Read the full story here.

No base-wide outage Sunday at Yokota

   11:15 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

YOKOTA AIR BASE Japan -- There will be no base wide power outages on Sunday, according to the latest update from the base public affairs office.

-- Dave Ornauer

No increase in Yokota radiation levels

   11 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Latest advisory from Yokota’s Facebook page says base officials there just checked with emergency managers and they have confirmed that the radiation levels at Yokota remain at the same background levels we experience every day (even prior to the quake).

"To ensure everyone's safety, we are scanning air samples repeatedly every day, we're checking the water daily and we are inspecting aircraft ... and vehicles as they arrive," the Facebook page says.

-- Dave Ornauer

The latest on Navy support to Japan

   10:20 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

U.S. 7th Fleet has 12,750 personnel, 20 ships, and 140 aircraft participating in Operation Tomodachi. Seventh Fleet forces have delivered 81 tons of relief supplies to date.

USS Tortuga is in the vicinity of Hachinohe where she will serve as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations. CH-53 Sea Stallion aircraft from attached to Tortuga delivered 13 tons of humanitarian aid cargo on Friday, including 5,000 pounds of water and 5,000 MREs, to Yamada Station, 80 miles south of Misawa.

USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Germantown with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Akita prefecture Saturday. Marines of the 31st MEU have established a Forward Control Element in Matsushima to coordinate disaster aid planning with officials. They are scheduled to move to Sendai later Saturday.

The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, to include the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, the destroyer USS Preble and the combat support ship USNS Bridge, the guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin and USS Curtis Wilbur continue relief operations off the east coast of Iwate prefecture. Three U.S. Navy liaison officers are on JS Hyuga to coordinate U.S. operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense force leadership.

Helicopters from HS-4 and HSL-43 with the Reagan strike group, and HSL-51 from Carrier Airwing Five (CVW-5) in Atsugi, on the 18th delivered 28 tons of food, water, clothes, medicine, toiletries, baby supplies, and much needed kerosene to displaced persons at fifteen relief sites ashore. For two of the relief sites serviced, it was the first humanitarian aid they have received since the tsunami a week ago. Eight of the sites serviced made requests for specific aid, including a need for a medical professional.

CVW-5 on Friday completed the relocation of 14 helos normally assigned to USS George Washington from Atsugi to Misawa Air Base in northern Honshu.

USS Cowpens continued its northerly track to rendezvous with the Reagan Carrier Strike Group. Cowpens is expected to join the Strike Group overnight. USS Shiloh is en route from Yokosuka to deliver relief supplies to the Strike Group.

USS Blue Ridge, the flagship for the U.S. 7th Fleet, remains in the vicinity of Okinawa to conduct transfers of supplies and additional personnel to augment the staff.

All 7th Fleet ships, including George Washington and USS Lassen which are currently conducting maintenance in Yokosuka, are preparing to go. Personnel have been recalled and leaves canceled.

Two P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four conducted two aerial survey missions over ports and airfields in northern Honshu on Saturday. CTF-72 has embarked two liaison officers from Japan Maritime Self Defense Force on each mission. Aerial imagery captured on these missions is shared with Japan. VP-4 has established a detachment in Misawa with two aircraft and four aircrews.

Read previous postings here.


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