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Home: Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: News updates for April 9-15, 2011

Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake
and Tsunami
News updates for April 9-15, 2011

This page is a continuation of my main Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami page, reflecting April 9-15, 2011 news updates for the 5th week after the initial quake. Thanks so much for your concern, and please remember in your thoughts and prayers those thousands of people who are suffering right now and haven't heard from their missing family members.

News Updates for 5th Week after Japan Earthquake and Tsunami -- April 9-15, 2011 (JST=UT+9 hrs., or CDT+14 hrs., e.g. 8 am in Houston = 10 pm in Tokyo):

April 15, 2011, 23:35 (JST):  U.S. government allowing families to return to Japan - The U.S. State Department is lifting the voluntary departure order issued for dependents of U.S. government employees in Japan, allowing families to return to the country. In the April 14 travel alert posted on its website, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said that while the situation at the Fukushima nuclear facility "remains serious and dynamic," the radiation dangers outside a 50-mile radius evacuation zone are low and "do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens." "Based on the much reduced rate of heat generation in the reactor fuel after one month of cooling and the corresponding decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes, even in the event of an unexpected disruption at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, harmful exposures to people beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone are highly unlikely," the embassy statement said. (Source:

U.S. military families can return back to Japan
Military families arrive at Travis Air Force Base
in California after leaving Japan last month.

April 15, 2011 11:01 (JST):  More SDF and police personnel in relief mission
- Japan's government says Self-Defense Force personnel will remain in the earthquake-hit areas for up to 6 months. It is also sending more police officers to the disaster zone. The Defense Ministry says the 100,000-strong SDF relief mission needs to continue its work. It says a significant number of people are still missing after the March 11th quake and tsunami, while the Fukushima nuclear plant has yet to be brought under control. The ministry is requesting about 2.3 billion dollars in a draft supplementary budget that will be compiled soon to finance the 6-month SDF mission. (Source:

April 15, 2011 6:15 (JST):  Actor Watanabe determined to offer long-term support to quake-hit areas
- Japanese actor Ken Watanabe said Thursday he is determined to engage in long-term support for the victims of the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami after visiting hard-hit areas in northeastern Japan. The 51-year-old actor, who visited evacuation centers in Onagawa, Ayukawa and Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture with aid supplies earlier in the day, said during an Ishinomaki community radio program that he was struck by the sight of both the horrible destruction in coastal communities and how local people are ''putting forth all their vitality,'' in spite of it. (Source: Kyodo News)

Actor Ken Watanabe supports quake-hit areas

April 15, 2011 4:40 (JST):  U.S. sends water storage tanks, trailer to Fukushima nuclear plant
- The U.S. Department of Energy is shipping five large stainless steel tanks for storing water contaminated with radioactive materials and a tractor trailer with a shielded tank to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as part of its assistance, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said Thursday. The stainless steel tanks are expected to be used to store contaminated water from the basements of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactor turbine buildings and connecting trenches, while the tractor trailer equipped with the shielded tank will allow for contaminated water characterization. (Source: Kyodo News)

April 15, 2011 0:25 (JST):  Convenience stores to work on power saving - Two leading Japanese convenience store chains have announced plans to cut their electricity consumption by 25 percent this summer. Lawson and Seven-Eleven Japan made the announcements amid expectations of a sharp power shortage in summer due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The announcements follow a request by the Japan Franchise Association that its members work to reduce power consumption in summer by 25 percent. (Source:

April 14, 2011 22:30 (JST):  Fukushima-produced milk returns to stores
- Milk from farms in inland regions of Fukushima Prefecture has returned to supermarket shelves after clearing weeks of safety checks for radiation. The shipment of raw milk from the prefecture was banned in late March in the wake of problems at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But the restriction was lifted last Friday for farms in 7 cities and towns in the Aizu region, over 100 kilometers west of the damaged plant. The move came after three separate tests found that milk produced there contained radiation levels below the government's acceptable limit. (Source:

Fukushima milk returns to stores

April 14, 2011 19:35 (JST):  Gov't lifts ban on shipments of 'kakina' vegetable from Tochigi
- The government has lifted the ban on shipments of ''kakina'' leafy vegetables from Tochigi Prefecture after the level of radioactive materials detected stabilized below the safety limit, its top spokesman Yukio Edano said Thursday. The ban on shipments of the vegetable from Tochigi, southwest of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, was lifted for the first time in around three weeks. But shipment restrictions on Tochigi spinach will remain in place, the chief Cabinet secretary said. (Source: Kyodo News)

April 14, 2011 6:05 (JST):  Temperatures rise at No. 4 spent fuel storage pool - The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the water temperature in the spent fuel storage pool at the No. 4 reactor in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has risen to about 90 degrees Celsius. It fears the spent fuel rods may be damaged. TEPCO took the temperature on Tuesday using an extending arm on a special vehicle. It found the temperature was much higher than the normal level of under 40 degrees. To cool the fuel, TEPCO sprayed 195 tons of water for 6 hours on Wednesday morning. (Source:

April 14, 2011 2:25 (JST):  Toyota to cut back on European production - Toyota is to stop production at five plants in Europe for several days in April and May because component supplies from Japan remain limited. The announcement comes a day after the Japanese car maker announced similar shutdowns in North America. Last month's earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan damaged machinery and electricity supplies at Toyota's component factories. The European plants affected are in the UK, Turkey, France and Poland. More...

Toyota cuts back European production

April 13, 2011 22:15 (JST):  U.S. Experts Discuss Health & Radiation
  • Ms. Jana Telfer, Centers for Disease Control: Health and Radiation (video)
  • Dr. Norm Coleman, National Cancer Institute: Understanding Radiation (video)
  • Captain Michael Noska, PhD, U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Food and Water Safety (video)
  • Dr. Steve Simon, National Cancer Institute: Radiation Risk (video)
April 13, 2011 20:30 (JST):  Immigration issues special landing permits to foreign workers - There are not that many permanent residents of Japan. The figure hovers between 1.5 to 2 million, many of them Chinese. When the earthquake and tsunami hit many of them packed up and went home, without even bothering to pick up their paycheck or say good-bye. This same scenario has been played out time and time again throughout Japan. Although the number of Chinese and Koreans in Japan is not too large, most of them were young and working either part-time or full-time in Japanese industries where there are not enough young Japanese workers. The situation is so desperate in some industries, such as farming, that the Department of Immigration is willing to let them back in whether they have a re-entry permit or not. More...

April 13, 2011 16:53 (JST):  French firm Areva boosts staff in Japan to help resolve nuke crisis
- The Japanese arm of French nuclear-engineering firm Areva SA said Wednesday it has increased the number of its Japan-based experts by eight to some 15 to provide more technical assistance in containing the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture. The eight include those specialized in nuclear fuel used in boiling water reactors, the same type that have sustained damage and leaked radioactive materials at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after the March 11 quake and tsunami. (Source: Kyodo News)

April 13, 2011 14:48 (JST):  Japan says quake rebuilding to cost as much as 25 trillion yen - Japan has said it will cost as much as 25 trillion yen ($309 billion) to rebuild the country after the deadly earthquake and tsunami. The cost is about 6% of Japan's total economic output in 2010 and is the biggest estimate so far. According to the World Bank, Japan will need up to five years to rebuild and recover from the damage caused. More...

April 13, 2011 9:30 (JST):  How does Fukushima differ from Chernobyl?
- Japanese authorities have raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the highest level, seven. The decision reflects the ongoing release of radiation, rather than a sudden deterioration. Level seven previously only applied to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, where 10 times as much radiation was emitted. But most experts agree the two nuclear incidents are very different. Explore the table below to find out how they compare. (Source:

Comparison of Fukushima vs. Chernobyl
Fukushima and Chernobyl compared

April 13, 2011 6:57 (JST):  Japan confirms deaths of 23 foreigners in March 11 quake, tsunami - Japan has confirmed the deaths of 23 foreigners in the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern and northeastern Japan on March 11, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry has so far listed the dead as nationals of China, Canada, South and North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan and the United States. As of Tuesday, the death toll from the disaster has surpassed 13,200, with more than 14,500 people still unaccounted for. (Source: Japan Today)

April 13, 2011 6:05 (JST):  More than 560,000 hotel reservations canceled after quake
- As many as 560,000 people have canceled hotel reservations nationwide since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday. As the figure as of April 8 does not include the cancellations in the disaster-hit Iwate and Chiba prefectures, the total number must be even greater, it said. The agency's Commissioner Hiroshi Mizohata said at a news conference the number of foreign travelers to Japan in March might have declined substantially from about 710,000 a year earlier, suggesting to revise the agency's goal of attracting 11 million foreign travelers this year. (Source: Japan Today)

April 13, 2011 4:15 (JST):  Japan residents speak out on raised nuclear threat level - Japan has raised the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear plant to level seven - the highest on the international scale of nuclear accidents. On this page, residents across Japan reflect on the revised threat. More...

April 13, 2011 1:10 (JST):  As of April 9, Tokyo radiation levels still safe

As of April 9, 2011, Tokyo radiation levels still safe

April 12, 2011 22:50 (JST):  Residency, property among post-quake concerns for foreign nationals - Residency status and property rights are among the legal issues causing concern for foreign nationals directly affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, lawyers assisting them with their inquiries said Tuesday. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and a local lawyers' group in Tokyo launched a toll-free telephone consultation service for foreign nationals in late March in the wake of the quake and ensuing tsunami. It received nearly 50 inquiries during the first two weeks, according to Masako Suzuki, a Tokyo-based lawyer. "In cases where callers lost their Japanese spouses, they wanted to know if they could continue staying in Japan or if they could inherit properties," Suzuki said. (Source: Mainichi Daily News)

April 12, 2011 21:10 (JST):  Yamagata Shinkansen fully resumes operations
- The quake-hit Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train has resumed full service between Tokyo and Shinjo in Yamagata Prefecture, a month after the massive March 11th quake and tsunami. On Tuesday, East Japan Railways reopened the full route for the first time since the disaster. The operator had partly resumed services between Shinjo and Fukushima on March 31st. Some 50 people, mostly business passengers, queued for the Tokyo-bound train at JR Yamagata station at around 8 AM local time. One passenger said that he can now make a return trip to Tokyo within a day. (Source:

Yamagata Shinkansen fully resumes operations

April 12, 2011 14:55 (JST):  Philippines to repatriate Filipinos near Japan nuclear plant
- Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday ordered the repatriation of Filipinos living within 50 kilometers of the quake-stricken nuclear plant in Japan to avoid long-term radiation exposure. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Aquino's order came in the wake of Japan's move to raise the severity level of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from 5 and matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. (Source: Kyodo News)

April 12, 2011 10:35 (JST):  Anatomy of a ghost town - It looks like any other town, except for one thing. It's devoid of life. It's a town in the shadow of a crippled nuclear power plant, which promised residents a bright future, but has in fact destroyed their lives. Earthquake and tsunami damage forced so many of these residents from their homes. All that's left now are empty ghost towns with the subtle signs of how fast residents evacuated and elevated radiation levels. (Source:

April 12, 2011 7:05 (JST):  Tokyo Disneyland to reopen Friday, DisneySea before end of April
- Tokyo Disneyland is set to reopen Friday following the suspension of its operations due to the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan, sources close to the matter said Monday. After seeing how Disneyland fares, Oriental Land Co., which operates the amusement park in Chiba Prefecture, hopes to resume operations of the neighboring Tokyo DisneySea by April 28 before the Golden Week holidays, the sources said. (Source: Kyodo News)

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed in kimonos
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed in kimonos, perform at Tokyo Disneyland during the New Year's holidays. The park celebrates the New Year in Japanese style every year with Disney characters dressed up in traditional Japanese outfits.

April 12, 2011 5:47 (JST):  Japan to raise Fukushima crisis level to worst
- The Japanese government's nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area. (Source:

April 12, 2011 1:26 (JST):  Tokyo Tower bears electronic encouragement
- The Tokyo Tower has been decorated with an electronic message wishing a quick recovery for quake-hit Japan. The phrase, "Ganbaro Nippon", or "Let's hang in there, Japan", appeared on the 150-meter-high observatory of the TV tower on Monday evening, one month after the March 11th quake and tsunami. 8,400 bulbs of solar-powered LEDs were used for the sign. (Source:

Tokyo Tower -- "Ganbaro Nippon"

April 12, 2011 0:30 (JST):  Mother Nature is angry AGAIN !! - Today's 75 earthquakes are more than the last 6 days combined, and are a stark contrast to yesterday's 8 quakes and Friday's 7 quakes.

Number of Japan earthquakes by day of month, April 2011
Number of Japan earthquakes by day of month, April 2011

April 11, 2011 22:10 (JST):  Restoration work at Fukushima plant suffers setback in Monday quake
- Restoration work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered another setback as the area was hit by a strong earthquake Monday evening, but the government's nuclear safety agency said no major safety problem is believed to have occurred at the troubled reactors due to the latest quake. Injection of coolant water to the already-troubled Nos. 1 to 3 reactors halted for about 50 minutes because external power was cut off, but injection resumed after the power was restored, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. (Source: Kyodo News)

Restoration work at Fukushima plant suffers setback

April 11, 2011 21:20 (JST): Tokyo liquefaction survey
- A geotechnical expert has determined that the March 11th earthquake caused liquefaction in at least 4,200 hectares of land along Tokyo Bay. Professor Susumu Yasuda of Tokyo Denki University conducted a survey on the extent of liquefaction in areas around the bay. Tokyo lies at a distance of about 370 kilometers from the quake's epicenter. He says the liquefaction was concentrated in land that was reclaimed relatively recently, or after 1966. Liquefaction severely damaged residential areas built on reclaimed land in Urayasu and Narashino cities in Chiba Prefecture. (Source:

April 11, 2011 20:25 (JST):  TEPCO struggles to regain control of nuclear plant one month after disaster - One month after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was crippled by the quake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeastern coast, the plant's operator is still struggling to regain control. Tokyo Electric Power Company has been striving to restore reactor cooling systems since the March 11th disaster knocked out electricity at the plant. The power station continues to release radioactive substances into the air and sea. (Source:

April 11, 2011 19:35 (JST):  M7.0 quake hits northeastern Japan
- A strong earthquake struck northeastern Japan at 5:16 PM, local time, on Monday. The Meteorological Agency at one time issued tsunami warnings for the coastal areas of Ibaraki Prefecture. The agency said the earthquake's magnitude was 7.0, and that its focus was in Fukushima Prefecture at a depth of 10 kilometers. Intensities of 6 minus on the Japanese scale of 0 to 7 were registered in some areas of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, including Furudono Town, Nakajima Village and Hokota City. An intensity of 5 plus was registered in many areas in the southern Tohoku and northern Kanto regions. (Source:

April 11, 2011 18:10 (JST):  Three strong quakes strike within 10 min. period
- After the initial M7.1 Intensity 6- quake @ 17:16, another M6.0 Intensity 5- quake @ 17:17 and a M5.6 Intensity 5- quake @ 17:26 were registered. The epicenters of all 3 are almost in the exact location in Fukushima Prefecture:
17:16 - 36.9 degrees N, 140.7 degrees E
17:17 - 36.9 degrees N, 140.8 degrees E
17:26 - 37.0 degrees N, 140.7 degrees E
(this is about 65 km (~40 mi) south-southwest from the crippled nuclear power plant)

April 11, 2011 17:16 (JST):  Magnitude 7.1 Intensity 6- aftershock strikes Japan on April 11, 2011 @ 5:16 pm -
A tsunami warning has been issued. More details as they develop...

Intensity 6- aftershock strikes Japan on April 11, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

April 11, 2011 8:10 (JST):  MEXT Seawater Monitoring Programme
- As reported in the brief of 8th April, MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) initiated the off-shore monitoring program on 23rd March and subsequently points 9 and 10 added to the off-shore sampling scheme. On 4th April, MEXT added two sampling points to the north and west of sampling point 1. These are referred to as points A and B on the map below. On 10th April new data have been reported (7th April sampling day) for the sampling points MEXT6 and MEXT10. At MEXT6 sampling point an increase in I-131 (from about 18 Bq/l on 3rd April to about 57Bq/l) and Cs-137 (from about 10Bq/l on 3rd April to about 20 Bq/l) has been measured. At MEXT10 the level of I-131 remains about 35 Bq/l as on the 3rd of April; Cs-137 is no longer detectable. More...

MEXT seawater sampling locations
MEXT seawater sampling locations

April 11, 2011 5:16 (JST):  150,000 taking refuge 1 month after tsunami
- On Monday, exactly one month passed since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan, but nearly 151,150 people from disaster-hit areas are still living in evacuation centers in 18 prefectures. Many have lost their homes, jobs and family members, and are facing the challenge of rebuilding their lives. A total of 450,000 were taking shelter at one point, with many living in difficult conditions. They faced severe shortages of water, food, heating fuel and other basic supplies, due to disrupted roads, gasoline shortages, and damaged utility facilities. Many evacuees returned to their homes after water, gas, and electricity were restored in their cities. (Source:

April 11, 2011 0:40 (JST):  SDF, US forces conducting search operations
- Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the US military conducted massive search operations on Sunday for victims who are still missing after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan. Sunday's search operations covered coastal and inland areas from Iwate to Fukushima prefectures, and involved 22,000 personnel from both countries, and 50 vessels and 90 aircraft are deployed. The joint operations follow similar ones conducted for 3 days from April 1st that recovered 339 bodies. (Source:

April 10, 2011 21:05 (JST):  82 children orphaned in March 11 disaster
- Japan's health ministry says a total of 82 children in 3 northeastern prefectures lost parents in the massive quake and tsunami on March 11th. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says that as of Saturday, 44 children in Iwate, 33 in Miyagi, and 8 in Fukushima had been orphaned by the disaster. It says the number could rise as there are many children whose parents are still unaccounted for. The ministry, together with the education ministry, has instructed education boards and school officials across the country to notify child consultation centers about children orphaned by the disaster. (Source:

April 10, 2011 18:40 (JST):  TEPCO uses unmanned equipment to remove rubble
- Tokyo Electric Power Company has bugun using unmanned heavy equipment to remove radioactive rubble at the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Hydrogen explosions blew off the ceilings and walls of the Number One and Number Three reactor buildings. The debris is emitting hundreds of millisieverts of radiation per hour in some places, hindering the restoration work. The utility started using remote-controlled power shovels and bulldozers to remove the rubble on Sunday afternoon. (Source:

April 10, 2011 13:07 (JST):  Kan pledges to build 70,000 temporary houses
- Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told the governor of quake-hit Miyagi Prefecture that the central government will build 70,000 temporary houses as quickly as possible. Kan arrived in the prefecture on board a Self-Defense Force aircraft on Sunday morning. He visited Ishinomaki city hall for talks with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai and Ishinomaki Mayor Hiroshi Kameyama. Governor Murai asked for sufficient assistance for people who are going through immense suffering following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. (Source:

April 10, 2011 11:15 (JST):  Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants - Ripple effects from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continued to be felt by the U.S. work force this week as Japanese automakers announced cuts in plant production at North American factories. While the cuts were expected, the news signals the long road ahead for Japan's economy, the world's third largest, and how other nations will be affected. Japan's big three - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - and the global auto industry are increasingly hampered by parts suppliers in Japan who are struggling in the aftermath of the worst disaster to strike the island nation since World War II. (Source:

Japan automakers cut U.S. output
A team member at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana plant
works on a Civic a week after the Japan earthquake.

April 10, 2011 6:52 (JST):  Cherry trees bloom in quake-hit areas
- Cherry trees have begun to bloom and bring solace to local people, in coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture that were ravaged by the March 11th tsunami. On Saturday, a local civic group spotted some blossoms on a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at an unmanned weather station in Iwaki city. The group monitors the tree, which has long been used by local weather authorities as a benchmark for cherry blossoms. The tree stands about 300 meters from the shoreline and is still surrounded by the remains of destroyed houses and other debris. (Source:

April 10, 2011 1:05 (JST):  Memorial service held for unidentified people
- A memorial service for 39 unidentified earthquake and tsunami victims was held in Minami Sanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday. Four-hundred-twenty-five bodies have been found in the town, but 80 of them remain unidentified almost one month after a massive earthquake hit the region. Police handed over to the town 39 bodies found during the first 10 days after the quake, and a memorial service was held in front of one of the community's evacuation centers. (Source:

April 9, 2011 21:45 (JST):  Man stranded in empty Japanese town since tsunami - 75-year-old Kunio Shiga cannot walk very far and doesn't know what happened to his wife. His neighbors have all left because the area is 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant -- just within the zone where authorities have told everyone to get out because of concerns about leaking radiation. No rescuer ever came for him. When a reporter and two photographers from The Associated Press arrived at Shiga's doorstep Friday, the scared and disoriented farmer said: "You are the first people I have spoken to" since the earthquake and tsunami. "Do you have any food?" he asked. "I will pay you." More...

Man stranded in empty Japanese town
(AP photo/Hiro Komae)

April 9, 2011 16:32 (JST):  U.S. Marine nuclear rescue team stands ready in Japan
- Wearing gas masks and baggy gray suits, a special U.S. Marine Corps unit trained to rescue people in chemical, biological or nuclear emergencies held drills Saturday with Japanese counterparts, standing ready to help out if needed around the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The 145-member Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, based at a naval support facility in Indian Head, Maryland, near Washington D.C., flew to Japan on April 2 to offer its assistance to Japan, officials said. It is the unit's first overseas deployment, but it does not signal heightened alarm in Washington about the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, members said. More...

April 9, 2011 13:23 (JST):  People begin to enter newly built temporary houses
- Earthquake and tsunami survivors began to move into temporary housing in the city of Rikuzen-takata in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, on Saturday. They are the first people to use temporary housing in the areas hit by the March 11th disaster. The first 36 temporary houses were completed in the city by the end of last month. The city needs about 4,000 temporary houses for those who have stayed in evacuation centers. On Saturday morning, people chosen by lot entered the newly built houses with futons and daily necessities. (Source:

Newly-built temporary houses in Japan

April 9, 2011 12:30 (JST):  U.S. mulls reducing 80-km evacuation zone for Americans in Japan
- U.S. nuclear regulators are considering reviewing its evacuation advisory for Americans living within an 80-kilometer radius of the stricken nuclear plant in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture as radioactive substances in areas beyond 40 km of the plant have subdued to levels that require no evacuation. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Mar. 16 evacuation advisory was based on an assumption of complete reactor fuel damage, not on observational data. As a result, the NRC apparently overestimated the levels of radioactive substances that would leak from the nuclear plant. (Source: Kyodo News)

April 9, 2011 9:50 (JST):  Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa to donate all his 2011 earnings to homeland - The 19-year-old native of Japan says he will donate all the money he wins on the PGA Tour this year, including this weekend's Masters, to his earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged homeland. This would be close to $2 million if he equals his earnings of last year. Even though his heart is there, he believes he can inspire his countrymen by playing well. "I understand that people, especially in Sendai, they are living in hell," he said, "and I would love to show the energy and power of what golf can bring to those people." (Source:

Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa

April 9, 2011 7:35 (JST):  Tsunami-hit Sendai airport to reopen next week - Disaster-hit Sendai Airport, which was closed after being inundated by the March 11 tsunami, will reopen next week, more than a month after the biggest recorded earthquake ever to hit Japan. The opening will provide a boost to an area constrained by road closures and the suspension of bullet train services to Sendai. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines on Friday said they would restart flights next week to and from the airport, which will reopen to some commercial services on Wednesday. More...

Tsunami-damaged Sendai Airport
Sendai Airport was slammed by the wall of water
that ravaged Japan's northeast coastline

April 9, 2011 2:05 (JST):  Japan eases restrictions on milk, spinach near nuclear plant
- Japan's government has lifted restrictions on vegetables and milk from some parts of the country's north after inspections found radiation levels below legal limits for three straight weeks, a top government official announced Friday. The move lifts a ban on spinach and kakina, another leafy green vegetable, from Gunma Prefecture, southwest of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Milk from the Aizu area of Fukushima Prefecture, inland from the plant, will also be allowed for sale, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters. (Source:

Japan eases restrictions on milk, spinach

Fourth week updates continued here: Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, News updates for April 2-8, 2011

More Japan quake/tsunami news updates...
News updates for Mar. 19-25, 2011 (2nd week)
News updates for Mar. 12-18, 2011 (original page - 1st week 
after Mar. 11, 2011 quake)  

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