This is a live-blog report. All information sourced from social media. Newest information will be at the top.

Houses engulfed and destroyed by tsunami in Sendai Japan

9:32AM GMT, March 23

Second video of the explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant emerges:

9:20AM GMT, March 12

Reuters reports that Japan chief cabinet secretary Edano confirms radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

9:00AM GMT, March 12

BREAKING VIDEO: Explosion at Fukishima nuclear reactor. Smoke can be seen billowing out and blowing away from the facility:

Martyn Williams reports that radiation levels have been measured in one spot equivelant to the entire annual dose for a human:

Radiation release of 1015 μSv/h, equivalent to annual dose for human, measured near Fukushima nuclear plant – govt news conference imminent

8:42AM GMT, March 12

URGENT BREAKING NEWS: Explosing at Fukishima nuclear reactor has been confirmed (see below)! Reports that Tepco-1 reactor roof has collapsed, radiation has leaked. We are not yet sure if this means there has been a breach of the container for the radioactive core. We are following the developing situation closely.

From Reuters live-coverage of the situation in Japan:

Jiji news agency said there had been an explosion at the stricken 40-year-old Daichi 1 reactor and TV footage showed vapour rising from the plant, which lies 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo

by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 8:46:35 AM12:46 AM

The wind is blowing east, out to the ocean. Local news is confirming that explosion occurred and roof collapsed.
comment by Kanagawa_resident at 3/12/2011 8:44:53 AM12:44 AM

Fukushima prefecture says Tepco’s no.1 reactor ceiling has collapsed – Jiji
by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 8:34:47 AM12:34 AM

The outside of the building would be the secondary containment boundary. We need to hope that the primary containment is still intact.
comment by nuketoo at 3/12/2011 8:26:32 AM12:26 AM

Tepco says explosion may have been hydrogen used to cool Fukushima plant – Kyodo; Tepco says 4 people taken to hospital after reported explosion, no word on condition – Jiji
by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 8:20:55 AM12:20 AM

Tokyo fire department sending special nuclear rescue team to Fukushima – TV

8:34AM GMT, March 12

Picture emerges following reports of an explosion at the Fukishima nuclear plant, where cooling systems for the radioactive core failed after the earthquake and tsunami, and while crews have been trying to prevent the core from overheating and possibly melting down. A huge plume of smoke can be seen billowing from the facility. This is not good.

(click to enlarge)

8:24AM GMT, March 12

BREAKING – Explosion at Fukishima Nuclear Plant: Multiple reports (Sky, NHK, CNN, Reuters) of explosion at Fukishima nuclear plant. There are reports of people injured, and a white plume of smoke coming from the plant.

6:33AM GMT, March 12

Nuclear Meltdown at Fukushima already under way? Al Jazeera reports that a nuclear meltdown may have already started at the Fukushima nuclear plant:

Japanese nuclear authorities say there is a high possibility that nuclear fuel rods at a reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPC) Fukushima Daiichi plant may be melting or have melted, Jiji news agency reports.

Experts have said that if the fuel rods have been damaged, it means that it could develop into a breach of the nuclear reactor vessel and the question then becomes one of how strong the containment structure around the vessel is and whether it has been undermined by the earthquake – and if it can withstand the likely aftershocks.

6:04AM GMT, March 12

Multiple sources now speculating that the death toll is well about 1000.

5:40AM GMT, March 12

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Update: Yesterday (earlier in this live-blog) we reported that the cooling mechanism for the Fukushima nuclear plant had failed. According to reports, when the reactors were shutdown, the core continued to generate heat, and normally a cooling mechanism keeps this heat from building up, but the power supply to the cooling mechanism malfunctioned because of the flooding from the tsunami. Backup power exists in the form of batteries, which are rapidly running out of power.

Attempts are being made to find an alternate power source to keep the core from overheating and potentially melting down and releasing radioactivity.

Apparently, already in the area, radiation levels are eight times higher than normal levels. The surrounding vicinity has been evacuated. There is talk of releasing some radioactive vapor as a compromise solution to prevent a complete meltdown of the core. The risk of radiation leakage is high. None of this is good news, although there appears to be a cautious consensus among scientists that the likelihood of a Chernobyl style meltdown is low.

Here is a report from Russia Today:

5:30AM GMT, March 12

More videos:

Another shot of the tsunami hitting Sendai in northeast Japan. A surreal mix of water and debris–if whole boats and houses can be considered debris–is being pushed into the farmland from the energy behind the tsunami, devouring everything in its path:

Skyscrapers swaying back and forth in Tokyo:

Shocking video of what looks like an entire neighbourhood being washed away by the tsunami – Miyako in northeast Japan:

1:29PM GMT

Another video showing the devastation caused by the tsunami in Sendai, in northeast Japan. You can see houses floating, being washed away. Unbelievable:

1:23PM GMT

The death toll in Japan is now reported at 90.

1:17PM GMT

Stunning video showing the tsunami hitting northeast Japan extremely quickly, carrying boats, mud and debris, as cars race along a road in an attempt to escape:

1:02PM GMT

BREAKING: CNN reports fIrst waves from the tsunami have hit Hawaii. The island of Kawaii seeing waves from the tsunami hit. 8 foot waves hit Midway Island, 500 miles from Hawaii; therefore, waves that hit Hawaii proper are expected to be at least 5 to 6 feet.

12:55PM GMT

2000 people have been evacuated from areas surrounding 2 nuclear plants in near Fukushima as attempts to fix the failed cooling systems of the nuclear reactors have failed so far. It is not clear if there has been any leakage of nuclear materials.

12:50PM GMT

Report of death toll more than 60 people, with 56 missing after tsunami hit northeast Japan.

12:30PM GMT

Tsunami Alert: CNN reports that tsunami waves will hit Hawaii in approximately 30 minutes, 4 to 6 ft high wave expectation.

12:10PM GMT

Video: Petrochemical complex in Ichihara on fire, northeast Japan:

12:04PM GMT

Video: Claimed to be Honolulu – eerie siren from tsunami warning:

11:54AM GMT

Video: Whirlpool caused by tsunami in Ibaraki, northeast Japan:

11:20:AM GMT

The website TimeOut Tokyo provides a list of shelters available to people stranded in Tokyo due to the disruption in public transport:

With public transport entirely disrupted across the city (JR has announced there will be no more services this evening), the following public spaces have been made available to stranded Tokyoites:

In Tokyo:
Dommune club (50 people max); Eiji Press (Ebisu) is offering toilet, telephone, internet; Yotsuya Sophia University; Hiroo University of the Sacred Heart; Roppongi Butagumi Shabu Ann (the owner is handing out curry and onigiri for free); Sasazuka Bowl; Seikei University (Kichijoji & Mitaka area); Waseda University (Building 8, Waseda Campus, Takadanobaba) Shinjuku Bunka Fukuso Gakuin; Ueno Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; Takashimaya Times Square Shinjuku; Tsukiji Honganji; Shinbashi Daiichi Hotel lobby; Ikebukuro Rikkyo University; Shinagawa Prince Hotel lobby; Shibuya & Omotesando Aoyama Gakuin University gymnasium

In Yokohama: Fifth floor of Landmark Plaza building

In Saitama: Saitama Super Arena

11:15AM GMT

Video showing the earthquake hitting a grocery store in Japan:

10:52AM GMT

Picture of houses engulfed and destroyed by the tsunami that hit Sendai in northeast Japan:


Houses engulfed and destroyed by Tsunami in Sendai, Northeast Japan

10:45AM GMT

Video of earthquake wreaking havoc in an apartment in Japan:

10:35AM GMT

CNN reports that the Tsunami will hit the west coast of North America at approximately 7:00AM Pacific Time and will have a height of 2 to 4 feet.

10:26AM GMT

Must watch: shocking video of tsunami engulfing houses and farms whole in Sendai Japan:

10:21AM GMT

Now there are several people reporting a second nuclear plant in trouble: A fire at the Tohoku Onagawa nuclear power plant.

10:02AM GMT

MSN Japan reports a radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

9:50AM GMT

CCTV video of tsunami wave hitting Sendai airport:

9:43AM GMT

We have an unconfirmed report that the Fukushima nuclear power plant cooling system is not not working and that a state of emergency has been announced.

9:36AM GMT

Picture showing Sendai Japan flooded by Tsunami:

Tsunami floods Sendai Japan

9:28AM GMT

CNN reports the following times for tsunami reaching various cities in Pacific:

Taiwan 9:40AM GMT —> IMMINENT!
Philippines 10:00 to 11:00 GMT
Indonesia 10:50 to 11:40 GMT
Hawaii 13:07 to 13:46 GMT

9:22AM GMT

Tsunami Alert: CNN reports that a Tsunami warning has now been issued for the entire west coast of the United States and Canada.

9:21AM GMT

Video of the tsunami from Sendai Japan via CNBC:

9:07AM GMT

Must Watch: Earthquake from the perspective of a Japanese family, from inside their home, as they attempt to escape.

8:50AM GMT

The following picture shows potential travel times for tsunamis reaching various destinations in the Pacific:


8:41AM GMT

Dramatic footage of the tsunami from CNN:

From Al Jazeera:

8:30AM GMT

Multiple videos from the earthquake posted here. Thanks to Nicola Weaver for the link posted to the comments section below.

8:25AM GMT

A four-metre tall tsunami hit Kamashi washing away vehicles.

American geological survey says only 6 earthquakes in recorded history have been stronger than this one.

8:22AM GMT

Al Jazeera reports 8 people confirmed dead in Japan so far.

8:20AM GMT

Scientist on Al Jazeera live says this is the biggest earthquake that has hit Japan in at least 300 years.

8:10AM GMT

Many Pacific Rim coastal cities enacting evacuation procedures. In Philippines the military are helping with evacuations.

Picture of a tsunami that hit the Japan in the northeast:

8:05AM GMT

Several pictures of the devastation, including the tsunami and resulting damage.

8:00AM GMT

Tsunami Watches

Extended to New Zealand and Australia. Tsunami Watches that we are aware of now:

Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Guam, New Zealand, Australia

7:55AM GMT

Tsunami Watches

Tsunami watches for Taiwan, Russia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific islands.


Aftershocks have already hit in the range of 6 to 7 in magnitude. Additional aftershocks expected for weeks and months.

Nuclear Facilities

President of Japan reports that some nuclear facilities were automatically shut down. No reports of leakages of nuclear material at this time.

7:50AM GMT

Al Jazeera Live report on the earthquake and tsunami that just hit Japan:

Watch Al Jazeera Live

7:40AM GMT


CNN reports that Hawaii will get hit by a tsunami at 2:29 Hawaii Standard Time. Many other countries are getting warnings. We will report shortly.

7:30AM GMT


Earthquake in Japan (source:

Approximately 1 hour ago an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit approximately 150km off the coast of Japan. This is a by any measure one of the largest earthquakes in the history of the country.

The earthquake duration was at least several minutes. Parts of Japan, in the north-east of the country, have been engulfed by a massive tsunami.

Multiple tsunamis and aftershocks expected.

Hashtags to watch on Twitter: #PrayForJapan #Japan #Tokyo #Tsunami