Updates From Japan

Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima still face tsunami warnings over 24 hours after the massive earthquake. If you are watching photos or TV clips from the scenes in north-western areas of Japan, most of the damage you see is from the huge waves (up to 10 meters in some cases). There are surreal images of large boats up on land, and bridges that have been destroyed, and trains that have, well, fallen off such bridges. The worst devastation is in small coastal towns in the three prefectures, but there is also damage in Sendai, the largest city in those parts. Death toll so far is around 1,000 people confirmed, according to NHK, and many more yet to be confirmed. Still many missing.

The experts working to shut down the nuclear reactors in Fukushima have managed to start the process to release pressure. Still very high temperatures and concern about a melt-down of the core. The concrete structures are thick enough to handle that, we are told, and the reactors are not of the Chernobyl or Three Mile Island types. NHK reports that uranium containers "may have started melting" inside the reactor. We have been told to expect electric outages tonight, according to my local authorities, who are announcing warnings and information via public outdoor speakers. Otherwise, it is unusually quiet today (Saturday) with almost not traffic, and no aircrafts (I live near major military airbases and we regularly have large jets flying above my town).

There have also been strong earthquakes in Nagano and Niigata today.

In Tokyo, 5 people are confirmed dead, so the damage is clearly to the north+east, up along the coast (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures in particular).

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