About the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan

by Jun Murai, the founder

Thank you for many warm messages to all of us in Japan including to myself.
Two days have passed. In Tokyo I still feel many strong afterquakes.
In addition to them, some other serious risks still are in progress such as the nuclear power plant damages.

The Earthquake and Tunami:

It was certainly the biggest one in Japan’s history. Japan is ‘thhe earthquake country’. We pride ourselves in good preparation against earthquakes, from the point of view of architecture design and regulations, and from the point of view of disaster drill as a part of our education system and readiness at home. Therefore, the houses, buildings and constructions such as highways were relatively safe.

But the Tsunami of this size was not expected. It caused the most of the damages and loss of lives.

People:

Official report at this point (3:00 UTC/ 12:00JST March 13) says that people found dead are 689 and 639 missing. But some of the regions in the northern areas are completely isolated. Therefore several reports of visual findings of 200-300 dead bodies have not been counted into the official announcement. We are expecting thousands or far more number of losses at the end.

Tens of thousands of disaster victims have evacuated to safe places such as school gyms and public halls. It is in many cases difficult to deliver food and water to them because the transportation lifelines will not be recovered for some time. But please note that their urgent need at this moment is reliable information on the safety of their family.

Communication and the Internet:

When the first earthquake of M9.0 (the original Magnitude announced was M8.8 but they modified it officially) happened at 5:46 UTC/14:46 JST, I was in Hiyoshi campus of KEIO Univ. in Yokohama city. Soon all the electric power in the city went down in Kanagawa area (therefore, no signal lights in the street). The fixed line phone and mobile became busy.

I found that most of the 3G data connectivity have been working even though their 3G voice communication was not available (probably because of the controlled restrictions by the operators).

Therefore, the means of communication for those people to confirm their family’s safety, which as I mentioned is what they most wanted, were provided by emails, twitter and SNSes through 3G data communication. Other information of the earthquake also been accessed by WEB.

I have received many emails afterwards, saying ‘thanks to the Internet’ in the face of this situation. Some of the Japanese mobile phones are equipped with terrestrial TV broadcast receiver in a device. This function called ‘one-segment TV’ has been said as ‘unnecessary function’ to make Japanese mobile market isolated, but this time it worked very nicely to get the TV news broadcasting with the power failure status.

From Monday:

Electric companies will start operation of three hour regional rotation of scheduled power down to cruise the power around to damaged areas. Out network operation will use UPS and other emergency power equipments to minimize the down time.

To friends:

Thank you very much again for the warm messages from all over the world. The messages and friendship have encouraged all of us enormously at this time of predicament. We will do our best to make an as soon recovery as possible from this disaster, working together with students, researchers, industries and governments.

With sincere appreciations,

March 13th, 2011
Jun Murai
Dean and Professor, faculty of Environment an Information KEIO University
Founder, WIDE project

12 Responses to About the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan

  1. John Silvester says:

    Truly a great disaster. But as you say it would have been much worse if Japan was not so well prepared. You should be proud of how well the Japanese people have maintained order and provided each other mutual support through this difficult time.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you,

    John S.

  2. Liz Barnhart Mockapetris says:

    Jun! I’m so glad you’re well! We are thinking of you and your fellow countrymen.

  3. Herbert Burkert says:

    So good to hear from you. – All our best wishes for you, your colleagues and families and the country.

  4. Dr. Ken Lunde says:

    Murai-san,

    Many thanks for posting this note, which is greatly appreciated by those affected by this disaster, and those who are concerned for those affected.

  5. Don Riley, University of Maryland and IEEAF says:

    Jun, I was relieved to receive your text msg back during the week. And I appreciate the insights your posting provides. This is indeed a terrible event, and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your countrymen. But discipline and preparedness of the Japanese people is shining through, and is an example for the rest of world. Here in the DC area, we are approaching the Cherry Blossom Festival, a reminder of the friendship and partnership between Japan and the US. I trust that friendship will be evidenced in help and support from the US to Japan in the days ahead in the recovery and cleanup.

  6. Steve Goldstein says:

    Jun-san,

    Thanks for posting this information. I can recall the horror with which we viewed the Kobe earthquake so soon after the ISOC meeting in Kobe. Unlike other horrific earthquake reports, that one hit home because we were there, and some residents were our colleagues. Now, again, the immense disaster from the Sendai earthquake, the ensuing Tsunami, and the nuclear power plant emergencies–this is so much worse and closer to the homes of so many of my colleagues. So happy to hear that you and Aiso-san are OK, and I wonder about so many other colleagues whose locations I do not know. But, having established such close personal and professional ties with Japan over the years, I have been glued to the TV sharing the horror while looking for signs of hope. I applaud Japan’s national spirit for survival, recovery, and reconstruction as you have shown many times in your history. And I will do my part to help when I buy my second Prius!

    Warmly,
    Steve.

  7. vint cerf says:

    Jun,

    Among many others, I have been glued to the television and the WWW since arriving in San Francisco for the ICANN conference this week. The Japanese response to this unprecedented disaster has been remarkable. No amount of preparation can possibly cope with the power of such a huge tsunami but I have been very impressed by the rapid domestic and international reactions. It has been satisfying to know that the Internet has been helpful during this emergency.

    The great task now is to recover the bodies of those whose lives have been taken, to rebuild electrical power and other infrastructure, and to rebuild the towns that have been some utterly destroyed. That Japan will accomplish all of this seems without any doubt to me but it will take time. The scenes of devastation over such a large area are like those we see after tornado strikes but the scope and speed of the tsunami arriving so quickly after the main earthquake show how impossible it is evacuate in time to avoid such damage and loss of life.

    Your Internaut friends join you in prayers and support for you and your countrymen as you begin the task of recovery. We will do what we can to be of assistance.

    Vint Cerf

  8. Dave Farber says:

    My thoughts and hope goes to all. The spirit of Japan showed itself in the shared pain and hope we saw on US TV.

  9. Jari Arkko says:

    This is very serious disaster, and I can only hope strength for those affected by it.

    I have also noticed the high use of Internet communications both in this and other disasters. It would be very interesting later to hear accounts of how communications networks were affected and what the communications engineers have had to do (cellular, ISP, routing, etc). If something good can come out of this disaster, maybe its better understanding of how to improve communications networks in future disasters.

  10. Paul Wilson says:

    Dear Jun, your colleagues at Wide, your friends and family,

    At the APNIC office we have been deeply shocked and saddened by the news and images coming from Japan, starting last Friday afternoon and every day since then. What we see seems to dwarf any of the natural disasters of recent times, and it seems that we’ve seen only a fraction of the real scale of the crisis.

    The only consolation is that the disaster did not strike Tokyo or other large centres, and that our many close colleagues and friends have not been harmed. That is a huge relief to everyone here, but we also understand the current hardships for all Japanese people, which we hope will not go on too long.

    Our thoughts are with you all at this time, and we stand ready to help in any way we can. Please take care, stay in touch, and let us know what we can do.

    Paul Wilson
    APNIC

  11. Ricky LU Le says:

    Dear JUN.

    So glad to hear from you after disaster!

    I am sure your leadership and vision and power can make Japan revival and get better.

    In Chinese, I found a silent but big change, Chinese people maybe will change their prejudice to Japanese. You know all visual from TV and Net, no Japanese in panic! All of them are very calm and peaceful. Then I heard lot voice of respecting Japanese by phone, e-mail, blog, twitter… It is good, it is the vision I have been working on years, to help both country people understand and respect each other.

    If possible, could you make a speech and media interview when you visit China?
    I am sure lots of my friends want to hear from you.
    Maybe the best place is at CEIBS (China Europe International business School which I got EMBA), where we have national wide elites from industry, education and government.

    Best regards.

  12. Gretchen Schoel says:

    Jun:
    Thanks for this informative message. One of my immediate thoughts upon hearing of the quake and tsunami was that I knew Keio and WIDE were deploying their many, many years of research on new technologies for disaster situations, and thus would be able to help. If my concern and love for Japan could be turned into actual warmth, food, and transportation for those suffering, your deep crisis would be resolved in a day. Keep up the good work, but keep yourself safe because Japan will need you.

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