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Japanese Earthquake Toolkit

**See the comments section of this blog post for the latest news and developments, and to join the conversation. MPI has also created a group space for our Japan Chapter and for any members who want to connect with their peers in the disaster regions.**

We wake up here in the U.S. today to the devastation wrought by the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan late yesterday (our time) and as tsunami waves barrel toward our West Coast shore. Early reports say Hawai'i has largely escaped damage from initial waves, though the possibility of more continues throughout the morning as Japan continues to field 6.0+ aftershocks. 

Meanwhile, more than 300 people have died in the Wakabayashi area of Sendai city, Japan, close to the epicentre of the 8.9 magnitude quake as tidal waves carried debris of buildings, overturned ships, cars and vehicles into the mainland, Kyodo news agency said. 


Whether you are in Japan or traveling to the region, following find a list of websites to keep you up-to-date on the latest news and information.


**UPDATE, March 15: Thomas Hinton, president and CEO for CRI Global, LLC, forwards this report from Tokyo DMC DMC The J Team. It contains a comprehensive view of the country's infrastructure following the disaster.**


Google has also created a tool to help loved ones locate each other in Japan.



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Conversation (14)
  • John Chen March 12, 2011

    Our hearts and help go out to Japan, excellent work here Jessie, please let me know how I can help out, esp if you put an envoy out to Japan!


  • Jessie States March 14, 2011


    MPI member Jim Furuki of Congress Corporation in Toyko contacted us following the post of this blog. Here are his thoughts from Japan.

    I heartily appreciate your polite message and kind offering for help. It was the biggest earthquake we have ever experienced in the history of Japan; however, all the people of our company including myself are fortunately OK. The Tokyo metropolitan area is over 500 kilometers away from the earthquake center, but was shaking extremely hard here on March 11 and still shaking from time to time. All railways and subways stopped, and the traffic was heavily jammed in Tokyo on that day, and the chaotic situation is still going. The situation surrounding us is like the above though, so please rest assured we are all in a good shape and our business will be normalized hopefully in the next week. Thank you again for your kind encouragement. Warmest regards.

  • Blair Potter March 14, 2011


    Most of the major hotel companies are reporting that no guests or employees have suffered injuries in Japan, and reports of structural damage are minimal. There's a pretty good roundup of hotel reports on HotelNewsNow.com.

    Also, Hilton HHonors has partnered with the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help victims in Japan, and HHonors members are able to donate their points to sustain aid and relief. Hilton HHonors pledges to match total member donations dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

  • Blair Potter March 14, 2011


    Air & Business Travel News (www.abtn.co.uk) is reporting that flights to Japan's primary international airports (Tokyo Haneda and Narita) are returning to normal, though public transportation to the city centre is intermittent. Of course, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all non-essential travel.

  • Randy Crabtree March 15, 2011


    From Seungwon Shawn Lee on my Facebook Post: I just talked some of my friends from Japan but this is another major disaster that affects all of us. Wish the best and safe for the people in Japan.Thanks for sharing this info. with us.

  • Randy Crabtree March 15, 2011


    **This Communique Was Issued to Members in the MPI PacRim Chapters on Friday, March 11.**

    Our thoughts and concerns go out to those who have been impacted by the devastating earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami waves that raced across the Pacific. We have been monitoring the situation. PlusPoint, the One+ magazine blog, will be your source for information from MPI headquarters. There you will find resources to help you connect with the MPI member community and stay up-to-date on the latest news and information.

    For those who have been impacted by loss of home or employment due to the earthquake and its aftermath we also offer the MPI Cares Program which will waive membership dues at the time of renewal for one full year. Contact the Member Care Center to inquire: +1 972-702-3053 or feedback@mpiweb.org

    This is a time of great sadness for us all. By staying connected and sharing information we will be able to comfort each other throughout this chaotic period and thereafter.  

  • Jessie States March 15, 2011


    This is a personal account of the earthquake and aftermath from Geraint Holt, managing director for Tokyo DMC The J Team. It is featured in the company's report on current conditions in Japan.

    "I have lived in and around Tokyo for the past 25 years, and Friday’s earthquake was by far the most violent I have experienced, and my first time ‘under the desk’ (earthquake drill in Japan is to stay in buildings and go under desks, where the best bodily protection can be secured from falling objects). While it’s difficult to be objective about experiences such as this, these simple facts demonstrate both the severity of the quake and how extremely rare anything of this severity is.

    "Visible damage in our Tokyo office was limited to spilt coffee. Aftershocks have subsequently continued, with lessening frequency, though we have been warned to expect them to continue this week. As we did not have any clients in Tokyo at the time of the quake, once the safety of a group of clients staying in the Fuji-Hakone area was established, Friday evening was spent ensuring that all of the staff got home safely, as, other than some falling masonry, including a ceiling at an Old Hall which tragically killed five people, the only noticeable effect of the quake on the working population of Tokyo was the city’s transportation system shutting down for much of the remainder of Friday.

    "Some people walked home, others waited for the subway to reopen, and while a number of workers in Tokyo chose to spend the night in government-operated shelters opened specially for the purpose, the last of our own staff reached home just after midnight. Saturday involved checking and confirming the progress home of the above mentioned clients, who took the Bullet Train from the Fuji-Hakone area to Osaka, and flew safely back to Australia in the evening; besides this, the day was spent answering countless calls and e-mails from friends and family around the world, and trying to get as much reliable information and detail as possible as to what had happened and was happening in the areas worst affected.

    "Through the day, I became acutely aware of an almost shameful yet undeniable irony, which is that, here in Tokyo, excepting the ongoing aftershocks, which we are told will continue through the coming week, life was back to normal by Saturday morning, with all of the local train lines were running again. So much so that visitors without access to a television, the internet or printed media, would not have found yesterday to be anything other than a normal Saturday in Tokyo; this, less than 24 hours and 300 kilometers from a region where a great tragedy is unfolding.

    "Just to clarify Tokyo’s position with regard to tsunamis, although a tsunami warning, which has since been rescinded, was in place for much of the Japanese coast immediately after the earthquake, this did not include Tokyo, which is a sheltered inland bay, 50 kilometers from the Pacific Coast."

  • Jessie States March 15, 2011


    Another first-hand account from The J Team, this one from Toyoko Umeda:

    "The group of guests I was accompanying did feel the quake on Friday afternoon. We were visiting the Asahi Beer Brewery and were just about to go for beer tasting. The trembling started rather mildly but gradually became intense. We managed to keep standing until the shaking ceased.

    "We left the building and proceeded to an open area of the grounds. The Asahi Beer Factory Manager told everyone that we could not go inside as it was too dangerous and gave us can coffee to express his apology. The guests had to wait outside for about 30 minutes, as I could not contact the coach driver immediately, as the mobile phone network was jammed, but the driver came down on foot to find out how we were and then brought his coach around to pick us up.

    "The driver suggested that we should go back to our hotel (the Hyatt Hakone) in the Fuji Hakone National Park as soon as possible as some roads (especially the highways) were reported to be closed and local roads would become very congested as a result.

    "I tried to contact The J Team Office and the Hyatt to ensure that all was OK at the hotel, but for the same reason of limited mobile phone access, could not immediately get through. So we drove back to the Hyatt, and I bought some chocolate and refreshments for the group en route. The reaction of the guests to the earthquake was, at first, one of surprise, combined with a noticeable determination to stay calm, while some quickly tried to see the funny side by thanking the organizer for the ‘special arrangement.'

    "Once we got onto the coach and switched the television on, the guests were simply amazed by what was going on, and glued to the television. The tour escort was, rather miraculously in view of the mobile phone difficulties, able to speak to her office in Australia almost immediately, and I was finally able to get through to The J Team Tokyo Office, confirm the group’s safety and reconfirm that all was OK at the Hyatt via the office.

    "The guests returned safely and without incident to the Hyatt Hotel, which was unaffected, and after discussions about the schedule for Saturday, when we were due to take the Bullet Train to Osaka and the Airport Express to Kansai Airport for the guests to take the evening flight back to Australia, it was decided that I would go down to the nearby town of Odawara, to check on the operation of the Bullet Train, which had stopped immediately after the quake, and then resumed operation with a limited service.

    "At the station, I was able to confirm that the Bullet Train between Tokyo and Osaka would be operating a full service on Saturday. On Saturday morning, we took the guests to see Hakone Shrine, and though we then left the hotel early, in case of any difficulties or congestion on the road down to Odawara Station, we reached the station more quickly than usual, in just 30 minutes, and were able to catch the Bullet Train and Airport Express as schedule, allowing the guests to return home to Australia as planned on Saturday evening.

    "My comment on the situation in the Fuji-Hakone National Park is that, after brief road closures for safety checks on the afternoon of the earthquake, the whole area was functioning normally by Saturday morning and continues to do so."

  • Blair Potter March 15, 2011


    The Japan National Tourism Organization just issued the following travel alert:

    New York, NY, March 15, 2011: We are grateful for the warm support and thoughts from many people after the historic earthquake in Japan on March 11. While painstaking rescue and recovery efforts continue in the severely struck Tohoku region, the capital city Tokyo has been recovering from a strong shock, and the western Japan is unharmed.  Both Narita and Haneda airports have been reopened, although public transportation in and around Tokyo has been recovered only partially.  Other popular destinations such as Kyoto, Osaka, Sapporo, Kanazawa and Hiroshima, didn’t receive any impact from the earthquake.

    Tohoku Region: Tohoku is the hardest hit region. With no recovery of public transportation systems and continuous aftershocks, it is extremely difficult to travel to this region. Due to the nuclear power plant accident after the earthquake, it is strongly advised to refrain from traveling to Fukushima as well as to follow the updates. 

    Tokyo and Surrounding Areas: Despite the brief recovery of the public transportation networks, periodical blackouts have been imposed for power conservation, causing train delays and cancellation. Some hotels and other businesses shorten the business hours, and it is recommended to refer their updates in advance. 

    Other Regions: Hokkaido, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu are unharmed, and tourism facilities and transportation service are operated as usual. 

    For visitors currently traveling in Japan, the Tokyo Headquarters of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides around-the-clock information service at the Tourist Information Center (TIC):             

    TIC in Tokyo             
    Phone: +81-(0)3-3201-3331             
    Service in English, Chinese and Korean             
    The 24-hour service is available for the duration of current crisis 

    JNTO’s North American website also provides daily updates at 

    Please note that due to the intensive recovery effort, travel information is updated frequently. Please refer to multiple sources for latest information.

  • Jessie States March 15, 2011


    I just received an email from the Hawai'i Tourism Authority regarding the state as well as its Japanese visitors:

    "The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) continues to send its heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan during this difficult time.    Following the tragic events on Friday, a key priority for the HTA was to support Japan visitors' efforts to return home safely. Working together with Hawai'i's airline industry partners, it is anticipated that all passengers displaced by cancelled flights due to the tsunami will be able to return to Japan by Tuesday, March 15.

    "Reports from across the state confirm that there was very little damage, particularly related to visitor industry infrastructure, on Hawai'i's six major islands. Impact on visitors should be minimal and travelers planning to visit Hawai'i should continue to do so with confidence."

    Specific reports include the following. (Additional updates can be accessed at Gohawaii.com).  

    * There were no deaths or serious injuries reported as a result of the tsunami
    * All airports are open and operating normally
    * Kaua'i, O'ahu and Moloka'i are operating as usual
    * Lāna'i—ferry is operating using smaller vessels
    * Maui—tours are up and running from Lahaina and Mā'alaea Harbors, Kahului Harbor is open
    * Hawai'i, The Big Island—King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel is open (no damage to guests), some boat charters have not resumed operations, Hulihe'e Palace is temporarily closed due to basement flooding, City of Refuge (Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park) is closed indefinitely while National Park Service assesses damage , Four Seasons Resort Hualālai will reopen March 21, Kona Village Resort is temporarily closed     

    "The people of Hawai'i and Japan share deep personal connections and a strong affinity for each other's people, place and culture," said Mike McCartney, HTA president and CEO. "The HTA will continue to reach out to our Japan partners to determine if there are ways that we can provide support and assist the people of Japan as they mount their recovery efforts. Our main concern is for the Japanese people and helping them recover from this tragedy."

  • Jessie States March 16, 2011

    Hilton HHonors has partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help victims affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The program has pledged that it will match total member donations dollar for dollar up to US$250,000. Make donations at donate.ifrc.org.
  • Blair Potter March 16, 2011


    The MPI U.K. and Ireland Chapter recently reached out to Hidehiko Tojo, president-elect of the MPI Japan Chapter, who said: "I and my family and all MPI Japan members are fine. We are safe. However, serious damage has occurred in Tohoku district, and earthquakes still continue in Tohoku and our Kanto district."

  • Randy Crabtree March 16, 2011

    **U.S. State Department**

    Information for U.S. citizens affected by the #Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami: Go.usa.gov/4Ax.

  • Randy Crabtree March 17, 2011


    Messages from the MPI Community to the Japan Chapter.

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