At 2:46 pm on March 11, 2011, an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan.
That region, which also was soon hit by a huge tsunami, has been devastated, with thousands of people killed and many more injured. Some 350,000 people have been forced to live at evacuation sites, and many are suffering a lack of food, water, medicine and heat, a severe shortage of gasoline, and other problems.
Although our office, in central Tokyo, was undamaged, the initial quake was the biggest and longest-lasting that any of us had ever experienced, and we felt many strong aftershocks that day and afterwards. The train and subway service was initially totally suspended in the entire region, and almost all of our staff had to remain at the office that night. Some of us still feel anxiety due to aftershocks as well as other quakes in nearby areas, power failures, inadequate public transport, and other difficulties.
For most of us, the problems at the nuclear-power plants in Fukushima are now our greatest concern. We have been steadily checking news reports about that situation via television, the Internet, radio and other media.
JPO, Tohoku earthquake