By Alumni Correspondent, John Wells, ’73
Summary of Events In Japan March 28 / 10:00 p.m.
The weather was beautiful in my area today and I felt great during my afternoon walk. While listening to FEN radio that originates from Yokota AFB in Tokyo, I heard a radio report that air quality was excellent. This report compared our air to two cities in the U.S., Sacramento, California and Omaha, Nebraska. It was the first time I heard the air quality reported in English and I felt relieved. I had a great walk!
There were 24 earthquakes recorded yesterday in Japan with the strongest being felt as a 4 in Fukushima Prefecture while today there have been 19 earthquakes to include a rather a rather strong earthquake recorded as a weak 5 on the seismic scale of 7 as of 10:00 p.m. This earthquake was in Miyagi Prefecture. For the third consecutive day, I have felt no aftershocks. Yes, I am beaming!
On Monday, workers resumed the laborious yet urgent task of pumping out the hundreds of tons of radioactive water inside several buildings at the six-unit plant. The water must be removed and safely stored before work can continue to power up the plant’s regular cooling system. Mounting obstacles, missteps, and confusion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex have stymied emergency workers struggling to cool down the overheating plant, nuclear safety officials said.
Most of Japan is under a high-pressure system, but areas north of Tokyo will face freezing temperatures tonight.
The central government is poised to shoulder almost all the costs of reconstruction in areas hit by the March 11 devastating earthquake and tsunami, cabinet members reported.
I came across this URL and it makes for excellent reading. Some of you may have picked up on this site as it has been posted on Facebook. It is quite interesting reading, so take a gander.
Time to call it a day as many of you are just waking!
Summary of Events In Japan March 29 / 7:36 p.m.
Konban Wa Everyone,
Today has been a day of reflection for me. Though I continue to feel that great progress is being made with relief help and those in dire need, my thoughts do wander to what will become of the failure to control the activities around the nuclear plant to this point in time. My only hope is that those reporting that activity are honest to the public. We DO NOT need any SUDDEN surprises. There is blame beginning and the article below covers one idea.
I ran into an old Japanese friend of mine while out on my daily walk today. We greeted each other happily and then talked about where we were during the earthquake and how it affected us at the time. He is on a dialysis machine and walks for his own life. He told me that he was very fortunate along with others at the hospital he goes to as there was no one being treated at the time the earthquake hit. He was quick to note that would not have been the case if it had been two minutes earlier. His description of what might have been gave me goose bumps. Not sure if he is a fatalist or a realist, but he went on and on about what he feared and his insight had me shaking my head. He said this next month was critical for Japan to survive.
My eyes were glued to my TV set today as individual coverage in stricken prefectures was shown. Reports were given in various sectors to include gasoline, evacuees, students graduating in stricken areas, people telling their tales and crying during interviews and politicians talking. I could go on and on. As the days pass by and people slowly get a grip on their lives again, I imagine there will be many, many stories like the ones I saw today.
Despite the excellent weather that was enjoyed by many today, I cannot help but to think of those who are less fortunate as I bring this summary to a close for today. Please continue to have us in your thoughts and prayers. The road ahead is still a bit bumpy!!
Summary of Events In Japan March 30 / 11:15 p.m.
Good Evening To You All,
Today’s biggest news was the appearance of Tokyo Power Electric company chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata in an afternoon TV interview. He apologized to the public for the explosions that occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant that has caused much anxiety and worry due release of radioactive materials. He emphasized that round the clock efforts to control the situation were ongoing at the plant and that even several weeks would be too short to stabilize the reactors. Banks have come to the company’s help by giving 7 trillion yen to help offset the costs of fuel and restoration costs.
Prime Minister Kan told President Obama how much he appreciates the ‘full’ support that the U.S. has provided since day one. It is the third time they have spoken since the March 11th disaster.
A top Energy Department official told a Senate panel that a shipment of “radiation hardened robotics” will be sent to Japan to assist in the crisis. A department spokeswoman said a robotic device from the Energy Department’s Idaho National Laboratory is being shipped along with several radiation-hardened cameras.
There were 22 aftershocks today compared with 26 from the previous day. The highest intensity was noted as a 3 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 while a high of 4 was reported as a high yesterday.
Google is providing a Crisis Response page and that URL is:
There have been 11,102 confirmed fatalities with 16,493 still missing. This brings the combined total well over 27,000 people.
Twenty days have passed since the earthquake hit. I have not felt an aftershock in my area for five consecutive days. People in the entertainment business and in the world of sport are doing what they can to bring a little joy to those less fortunate. World support and relief is outstanding as I bring today’s update to a close.
John Yokohama, Japan
Summary of Events In Japan March 31 / 9:37 p.m.
Good evening to you all,
I enjoyed watching the performances from today’s American Idol show so I am running a bit behind my summary of today’s events in Japan. I hope you are still with me and that your day has started out strong.
It was almost ceremonious today as it has been exactly three weeks since the earthquake hit.
I was mesmerized watching an elementary school’s graduation ceremony with only 17 graduating. There were smiles and tears, but more impressive was the time bottle they made. They plan to dig it up in 8 years when they officially become adults. Japanese celebrate their day of adulthood on their 20th birthday. They individually wrote their wishes and what they thought they would be doing eight years down the road. They all took part in burying this time bottle and I hope all their wishes come true.
I read a fascinating story where it was reported that more than one-third of the 70 foreign JET program teachers in Miyagi Prefecture do not want to leave the area despite the warnings and fear from their loved ones in their home countries. One woman teacher said, ‘‘I wouldn’t cut off relations for no reason. I know I am just one person from a foreign country but if I just left, for me it would be like escaping. I believe me being here contributes, giving them hope and cheerfulness.”
On the flip side, it was reported that more than 1,000 bodies have been left untouched near the nuclear plant due to radiation fears. Since the bodies lie within the 20 km radius of the plant, their remains have been highly exposed to radiation after their deaths.
April 1st is a very important day in Japan as it is the beginning of the fiscal year. Students attending schools for the first time is also important and I felt sadness when I heard that 291 schools in three prefectures in northern Japan will not be able to open their doors to students to start the new school year. Too much damage to the 291 school buildings is causing havoc as officials realize that students need to be back with friends and education must go on as soon as possible.
There have been only 10 aftershocks felt during the day but one was in my wife’s hometown of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture. It was felt as a weaker 5 on a scale of 7. I know it sure would have got my attention, but personally and fortunately I have not felt an aftershock for my sixth day in a row. Knock on wood!!
March has been a very trying time for all people living in Japan. Hopefully every day forward will show signs of positive change and happiness just like the feeling we all have when seeing a new budding flower.
Spring is meant to be enjoyed!
John Yokohama, Japan
Summary of Events In Japan April 1 / 21:02 p.m.
Happy April 1st to all of your from sunny Yokohama, Japan. It was a great day here today as the temperatures warmed and flowers showed their beauty. I did not feel cold! So, what happened today?
I find it extremely coincidental that I opened this page to begin my summary when I felt a bit of movement. I turned on our TV and there was a report that a large earthquake would be felt in Akita and Aomori Prefectures. I no longer felt any more movement and was relieved that I did not have to dash out of my room. Akita and Aomori are in the northwest part of northern Japan and very far from me. It was then reported that a five plus quake did occur in Odate, a city in Akita Prefecture. There was no tsunami warning issued and only reports of the seismic activity around Odate appeared on my TV screen.
Earlier in the day, 25,000 Self-Defense Forces with help from the American military began a three-day sweep looking for remains of bodies. 18 were found in their efforts. The combined total of confirmed deaths and missing has risen to nearly 28,000. For those still suffering, people all over Japan and the world are helping.
April 1 is the beginning for new workers to begin working at their new jobs. Normally it is a time for much celebration mixed in with anxious thoughts about working for the first time. Please read about how the earthquake has affected this sector of society.
This is the 10th installment of daily events that I have written since I thought it might be helpful to people who were not in Japan and yet had enough interest to hear about what has been happening on a daily basis. It has been very healthy for me to write about these events and also document what has happened during this ten-day period.
One never knows about the unknown, but I have decided to continue these updates no longer on a daily basis, but once a week. With the beginning of April and my school year ahead of me, I will step back a bit and spend more time with my own preparation to insure I will be prepared when classes finally begin.
I want to thank you all for the comments you have written about these summaries. I also want to thank those who have written me personally asking about my well being and my family’s well being right after the earthquake hit and up until today. Your support for us, and for all people in Japan is admirable and greatly appreciated.
The people of northern Japan who were hit the hardest have a long road ahead of them. But I honestly feel they will be back on their feet soon. The recovery has begun as the world watches in hopes their prayers will be answered!
Thanks for reading and smiles to you all,
John Yokohama, Japan