Visit ELTBOOKS - all Western ELT Books with 20% discount (Japan only)

March 16, 2011

Earthquake / Nuclear Plant Situation Summary, Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

In this article:

1• Nuclear power stations
2• Letting people know you are safe
3• Power cuts
4• Trains in Tokyo
5• Earthquake preparedness
6• Key news and information sites

Nuclear power stations

Teaching-English-in-Japan-Education-Earthquake-Japan-Beddington" The British government believes that there is no significant danger to those outside of the evacuation area of the power stations. Sir John Beddington the UK’s Chief Scientific adviser and Hilary Walker, Deputy Director Emergency Preparedness at the Department of Health, gave a telephone conference at the British Embassy in Tokyo yesterday evening. Key quotes (courtesy of Philip Gibb, president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan):

Unequivocally, Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations.”

“The radiation that has been released is miniscule and would have to be orders of 1,000 or more for it to be a threat to humans.”

“[The information being released by the Japanese government] cannot be fabricated and the Japanese authorities are posting all the readings on the recognized international information sites which they are obliged to do. Independent verification shows that the data provided is accurate”.

The Head of the British School (located in Tokyo) asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was that there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. However other reasons - structural damage, power cuts or possible new quakes - may require closing the school, but closing the school for radiation-related reasons is not supported by science, even for children.

UPDATE (March 18th): The transcription of the call on Tuesday March 15th is here.

Other reference on this issue:
Japan Nuclear Leaks: Health Risks / BBC
The worst case scenario / Scientific American
NSE Nuclear Information Hub / MIT
Fukushima nuclear accidents / Wikipedia
Nuclear meltdown / Wikipedia

Letting people know you are safe

Teaching-English-in-Japan-Education-Earthquake-Japan-Map" Many people have been reporting in using Facebook, but consider using the Person Finder that Google has set up, to ensure people can check whether you are safe. This is easily searchable. Be wary of spam entries.

Refer to this Map to let people know where you are in relation to the earthquake / tsunami / nuclear power stations.

A List of Embassies can be found here.

Power cuts
TEPCO has announced planned power outages around the Tokyo area. Most parts of central Tokyo will be unaffected. Areas have been organized into Groups with blackouts scheduled by group. To find out which group you are in check the following documents (translated into English by Google), note your group and then check the times listed for your Group below.

Please check the following documents and find if your city or ward is listed in any of the above groups. If they are, please expect outages at the times listed below.

Tochigi / Ibaraki / Gunma / Chiba / Kanagawa / Tokyo / Saitama / Yamanashi / Shizuoka

Group 4 6:20 〜10:00
Group 5 9:20 〜13:00
Group 1 12:20〜16:00
Group 4 13:50〜17:30
Group 2 15:20〜19:00
Group 5 16:50〜20:30
Group 3 18:20〜22:00

However, everyone should be sure to charge their phones, have the ability to keep warm and have access to a working torch and batteries. The prefectures most affected are Tokyo, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Yamanashi and the eastern half of Shizuoka.

Yahoo Japan is posting Emergency Information in English with its first entry about how to prepare for a blackout.

Because of the complexity of electricity provision, TEPCO has provided its blackout schedule with a number of caveats and everything is subject to change.

Trains in Tokyo
JR has spotty information in English about its train service whilst Metropolis has posted information on train services in Tokyo.

Time Out Tokyo is also posting information on trains.

Earthquake preparedness
There is a strong possibility of another large earthquake striking Japan in the next few days. Be prepared. The following sites have good information:

Preparing for an earthquake (TICC)
What to do during an earthquake (FEMA)
What to do after an earthquake (FEMA)

Shinshu JALT offers accommodation to displaced families
Shinshu JALT are working to provide accommodation to people who need it as a result of recent events. Jim George of Shinshu JALT said: "Anyone can email me or call me directly on 0902-420-0680. Message is essentially: turn up and we will find you a place to stay, don't mind if it is en route somewhere else or looking to locate family somewhere safe and take stock. Our membership is predominantly in the Matsumoto/Suwa areas."

Information also on Shinshu JALT's Facebook group for more details.

Book deliveries will be delayed
Due to blackouts, shortage of staff due to transportation issues and a shortage of delivery trucks due to petrol shortages and drivers unable to get to work, schools should expect delays in deliveries of books. Publishers and booksellers are recommending schools to order as soon as possible for delivery in time for the beginning of the school year.

Key news and information sites
NHK World in English

NHK in Japanese

Excellent and easily accessible live feed in English from Al-Jazeera English for those without access to English-language TV. I had no idea Al-Jazeera English was this good. (regular updates, but little analysis)

• Source of translated updates about the earthquake from

• Tokyo Time Out has a range of useful information

• A list of earthquake-related vocabulary has been posted by

• A touching collection of illustrations by Japanese cartoonists responding to the disaster. Teaching-English-in-Japan-Education-Earthquake-Japan-Cartoon"

Share this:  

« Previous | Main | Next »


I doubt the veracity of your information. Particularly when you say:

"Unequivocally,Tokyo will not be affected by the radiation fallout of explosions that have or may occur at the Fukushima nuclear power stations.”

This is contrary to other information from reliable bodies. I don't know of any scientist, and certainly no lawyers, who could give an 'unequivocal' guarantee about events which have not as yet, but may, occur.

Transcript of the call with Sir John Beddington, the UK's Chief Scientific Advisor:

keep spirit japan! especially those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. keep patience, spirit, and convinced that all the sadness will be over soon. indonesian love you japan ☺ ♥♡

Recent Headlines


Hedbanz / Charades
Helene J Uchida
Think Read Write
David Lisgo


Useful Links


  • ALTEThe Association of Language Testers in Europe
  • British CouncilInformation, resources, and links to other sites
  • Cambridge English Language AssessmentInformation on examination and qualifications for teachers and students
  • IALICInternational Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • IALLTInternational Association for Language Learning Technology
  • IATEFL"Linking, developing and supporting" ELT professionals worldwide
  • TESOL IncPublishing, connecting, events and career development for teachers




World Today