Preliminary investigation plans and related comments:

Please refer to the Japanese Tsunami Warning System at:


2011/03/11: Here is a damage survey for the southern coast of Hokkaido Island along the Sea of Japan (ports of Yoichi, Iwanai, Setana, and Esashi). A Tsunami Alert* was temporarily announced in these regions after the main earthquake. Water level rises were observed in these ports early in the evening, but the tsunami did not surge over the quays. There were no victims, nor any damage reported to vessels. The heights of the quays are known.

Aomori Pref.

Iwate Pref.

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Ogasawara, Iwate University):

  • Traffic restrictions were placed on roads connecting to coastal areas from the inland (passage allowed only for rescue operations and disaster support teams).
  • Repeated transportation between coastal areas and the inland is done by helicopter.

Morioka City

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Ogasawara, Iwate University):

  • Infrastructures (water, power, transportation, etc…) have mostly recovered, but food and fuel is in short supply.
  • Major shopping centers will be closed tomorrow until further notice (03/15).

Coastal Areas

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Ogasawara, Iwate University):

  • Catastrophic devastation.
  • No prospect of recovery for infrastructures.

Rikuzen-Takada City area

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Ogasawara, Iwate University):

  • 15,000 people are missing (city population: 23,000).
  • The whole town of Otsuchi is devastated; no communication with the town is possible.
  • The headquarters for disaster control is not functioning.

Miyagi Pref.

Sendai City

2011/03/13 (reported by Dr. Koshimura, Tohoku University):

  • (Situations in the city) Electrical power network is recovering, but the water system is still not working. There are long lines of people in front of convenient stores. Similar situation with gas stations, but fuel is scarce. Conducting damage surveys are very difficult. National Route 4 is congested but passable. However, the access from National Route 4 to coastal areas is very poor. 2011/03/13? (reported by Dr. Sakai, Iwate University):
  • According to a staff member who was staying in Sendai and came back a little while ago, rental cars were not available (suspended). Long lines were seen at gas stations along national routes connecting Sendai and Morioka. The staff member had to hitch-hike back to Morioka.

Natori River and Sendai Airport

2011/03/12 (reported by Dr. Koshimura, Tohoku University):

  • The area between the southern bank of the Natori River and the northern part of Sendai Airport was surveyed. This area is a flat plain, and the tsunami invaded it through an underpass of the Sendai-Tobu Road. The tsunami reached 3 to 4 km inland. The plain was still flooded by muddy water, with the depth being about 1 meter at approximately 3 km from the coast (the only measurement made in this survey). Approaching the coast through this water is impossible.

Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai

2011/03/12 (reported by Dr. Koshimura, Tohoku University):

  • The tsunami reached the Sendai Tobu Road near Arahama in Wakabayashi-ku. Damage is very serious. The search for the missing is ongoing. 2011/03/13 (reported by Dr. Koshimura, Tohoku University):
  • Afternoon near Okada, Wakabayashi-ku: Entering from Prefectural Route 23 via the Sendai-higashi Interchange of Sendai Tobu Road. The tsunami reached Rokuchonome-higashi on Prefectural Route 23 (4.5 km from the coast). Water depths were measured along the road (about 1 m at 3 km from the coast). However, we returned to the university after hearing reports of an increase in radiation at the Onagawa Nuclear Plant.

Izumi-ku, Sendai

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Minoura, Tohoku University):

  • Electrical power network has mostly recovered. Gas stations have been re-opened, but long lines for refueling were observed (one line of cars was around 2 km long).
  • Food is scarce. I could only get some snacks and one bottle of drink after waiting in line for 2 hours. Drinks in vending machines are also mostly sold out.

Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, Sindai

2011/03/13 (reported by Dr. Koshimura, Tohoku University):

  • In the morning, had discussions about damages in the university and disaster control systems.
  • The laboratory was completely destroyed, and everything is inoperative. Servers were also destroyed.
  • Electrical power is available only in the first floor of the Sougou-Kenkyu Building, where our activities are presently being conducted.

2011/03/14 (reported by Dr. Minoura, Tohoku University)

  • The laboratory and my home are in terrible shape. It will take a long time to clean up.
  • Commodities such as gasoline are extremely short. The fuel is being reserved for emergency vehicles, so I cannot refuel my car.
  • The coastal area cannot be accessed because of rescue operations and heaps of debris. Also, thick, waist-high sludge covers some places, which are too dangerous to enter.
  • Electrical power network is starting to recover.
  • Tohoku University has decided to close the school until the end of April. Students were ordered to return to their parents’ house.