On March 11 at 2:46pm Tokyo time (0046 Eastern Time) a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan The epicenter was 128 km to the east of Japan/400 km northeast of Tokyo, at a depth of 24 km (displayed on this slide as a red star in concentric circles). The closest major city to the epicenter was Sendai (1 million population) The quake is officially called the “Great East Japan Earthquake” While the quake itself caused extensive damage in Northeastern Honshu, known in Japanese as Tohoku, the tsunami that followed the quake caused the vast majority of damage to the area depicted in yellow on this map Also depicted on this map in purple are the three prefectures most affected by the disaster: from north to south: Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima The radiation symbols on the map are in Fukushima prefecture and denote the location of the nuclear power plants affected by the disaster – we will discuss these in greater detail later in the brief
The tsunami was actually a series of 7 waves over a 6 hour period—the 1st was the largest and hit 26 minutes after the earthquake The Japan Meteorological Agency reported the highest wave as over 15 meters at Mekawa, Miyagi Prefecture The water from the tsunami reached inland as far as almost 10 km achieving a maximum run-up height of 38 meters
The tsunami toppled seawalls and flooded primary and backup power systems and control systems. Emergency steam driven pumps controlled by batteries worked for several hours, but without other electrical power the battery power eventually was depleted and the cores in units 1-3 were uncovered. The high temperatures started melting the core and produced hydrogen gas. As a result of the hydrogen, explosions occurred in the reactor buildings of units 1, 3, and 4 on the March 12th, 13th, and 14th respectively. Emergency cooling initially used seawater and fire trucks. Fresh water cooling was later established using temporary tanks and pumps. Reactor plant conditions are serious but static, and workers are making progress toward stability every day.It should be noted that the workers at the site are heroes. The working conditions -- in full protective gear with high heat, humidity, radiation levels in significantly damaged buildings -- are tremendously stressful. There is currently estimated to be 90,000 metric tons of highly radioactive water in the buildings on site which poses a significant challenge toward establishing long term stability. TEPCO is aggressively installing a radioactive waste water processing system to clean up the water in the plants and then re-use the water for cooling.
Efforts continue to find the remains of the missing, although it is difficult to get an accurate number since many whole families were swept away leaving no one to file reports 24 million tons of debris were left behind by the tsunami, which does not include vehicles or boats washed out to sea Over 2,000 evacuation centers were established after the tsunami with 440,000 people being the peak population registered on 15 March 1,700 schools destroyed (70%) in worst hit areas—many of the remaining schools are being used as evacuation centers Statistics from Japan National Police Agency, July 4, 2012
The event is rated as a level 7 major accident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) due to the total amount of radioactivity released. While this is the same rating as Chernobyl, it is estimated that Fukushima only released about 10% of the radioactivity as Chernobyl. The color scheme shows the long-term contamination deposition on land. The yellow is the highest level. The GOJ established an exclusion zone of 20 km surrounding the plant. 140,000 people were evacuated. The GOJ is working hard to determine how to allow the return of the people to their homes and land. For those that have property in the areas colored by yellow, this might take decades. Limited access is being granted to locals to retrieve belongings. Beginning on March 17, the U.S. government recommended that U.S. citizens living within 80 km of the Fukushima plant evacuate the area or take shelter indoors if evacuation was not practical. U.S. nuclear experts arrived at this judgment by applying the same standards had a similar accident occurred in the United States. On May 16, the USG updated its recommendation to allow U.S. citizens to use the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) railway and the Tohoku Expressway to transit through the area. On June 6, the U.S. Coast Guard reduced its maritime “recommended avoidance” zone around the Fukushima plant from 80 km to 20 km. One July 19, the USG further updated its recommendation, and determined that U.S. citizens could safely use Sendai Airport as well as the main rail and road routes from Sendai Airport to the Sendai City Center.
This photo shows Embassy employees in the parking lot of the Chancery, just minutes after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck. As soon as it was safe to do so, employees evacuated the building and gathered for further information. Ambassador Roos can be seen near the middle of the photo, holding a bullhorn. Already, the Embassy was gearing up for what needed to be done in the immediate post-earthquake period.The next slides illustrate the U.S. response to the crisis.
In order to effectively address the multi-dimensional crisis, the Embassy stood up a number of Task Forces The left picture shows a scene from the “Japan Emergency Command Center” (JECC), a 24-7 task force located on the ground floor of the Chancery. From March 14 through April 1, the JECC was staffed around the clock by both Japanese and American employees, who prepared situation reports, translated media articles, and facilitated telephonic and e-mail communications within the Mission and with Washington.The picture on the right shows a scene from the Consular Task Force, about which I will go into greater detail on the next slide.
There are approximately 160,000 U.S citizens in Japan.The Embassy Tokyo Consular Crisis Response Center (CCRC) began operations on March 11 and remained open 24/7 for 28 days. 5,400 cases were investigated and thousands of calls were taken.Some 45 consular officers from both Tokyo and embassies around the world worked around the clock to provide services to U.S. citizens.Consular Assistance Field Teams were deployed to the devastated prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, and Ibaraki where they investigated welfare & whereabouts of missing of U.S. citizens. Tragically, two American teachers were killed in the tsunami.Buses chartered by the U.S. government helped evacuate U.S. citizens from Sendai.Consular Assistance Field Teams deployed to Narita and Haneda Airports to assist thousands of U.S. citizens departing the country.Potassium Iodide (KI) was distributed to 3,500 U.S. citizens.The Consular Section issued emergency passports to hundreds of U.S. citizens, and issued thousands of emergency visas.
Operation Tomodachi (Tomodachi meaning ‘friend’ in Japanese) was established in the wake of the tsunami as a bilateral response to the challenges presented by the post-earthquake environmentThe United States and Japan took a “whole of government” approach to the response, leveraging the capabilities of both governments to alleviate the suffering of the Japanese peopleThe Japanese Self Defense Forces rapidly deployed 100,000 members, half its strength, to support this effort by conducting urban search and rescue, recovery, and life support. These forces consisted of Air, Naval and Ground Forces who demonstrated their ability to conduct sustained operations, in adverse conditions, under great physical and emotional stressOperation Tomodachi was the first contingency for which the Japanese military reserves were called up to active serviceFor the first ten days of the contingency, U.S. Forces, Japan was the lead military HQ for the tsunami relief effortOn 24 Mar 2011 (13 days after event) U.S. Pacific Command activated elements of Joint Task Force 519 (JTF 519) to augment USFJ to form the Joint Support Force-Japan.Bilateral communication with JSDF counterparts were facilitated by establishing the Bilateral Crisis Action Teams or BCATS at the JSDF HQ in Tokyo, at Yokota Airbase, and at Camp Sendai. Both sides exchanged liaison officers as well. Operation Tomodachi officially ended on June 1, but there has been no change to the commitment to helping Japan recover from the disaster.Over 24,000 U.S. servicemembers, 24 U.S. naval vessels, and nearly 200 U.S. aircraft participated in some way in Operation Tomodachi, delivering much needed supplies to the hardest-hit areas of Japan.
Re-opening the Sendai Airport became a major priority since it facilitated forward operations of relief support for U.S. and Japanese militaries in the affected areas. The airport had been completely engulfed by the tsunami leaving behind what appeared to be months, if not years worth of debris to be cleared. Some Japanese and U.S. experts had opined that re-opening the airport in a timely manner would be impossible. However, U.S. and Japanese troops and Japanese civilian personnel on the ground proved that assessment wrong.By March 20, Japanese and U.S. Forces had cleared the entire runway, allowing a C-17 to landU.S. and Japanese Forces established a bilateral coordination board. U.S. airmen ran the field while the Japanese performed recovery operations. In 21 days, USAF controllers controlled over 250 aircraft. They delivered over a million kilograms of humanitarian aid, over 56,000 liters of diesel fuel and gasoline.Army and Marines arrived on March 20 and were integrated into the processA major milestone was reached on April 1, when operations were transferred to Japanese Air Traffic ControlVice President Joe Biden delivered remarks at the Sendai Airport on August 23, 2011, saying “As I stand here at this airport, I am proud -- as I said to your generals -- I’m proud that our military was given the privilege of being able to join your forces. And within a week of the earthquake, able to re-open the runway that enabled the arrival of hundreds of relief workers and more than 2 million tons of humanitarian supplies.And just a month after the earthquake, on April 13th, the airport reopened to commercial flights. Indeed, one of the underpublicized but remarkable aspects of the response to this disaster is that the Japan has remained open for business. It is still open for business.”
USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is the USG’s lead federal agency for international disaster response and humanitarian assistance. Immediately following AMB Roos’ disaster declaration, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) personnel mobilized and were on the ground in Japan within hours of earthquake/tsunami.The DART included 144 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) personnel from Los Angeles and Fairfax Counties; these specialists conducted operations in Iwate prefecture alongside local fire departments.As of June 15, USAID/OFDA has provided direct assistance of approximately $6.3 million, including USARs, equipment donation to Ofunato municipality, and 10,000 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a consortium of nuclear industrial experts are working with TEPCO and NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) to recommend priorities and concerns.NRC Chairman Jazcko visited Tokyo on March 28 and pledged continuing cooperation.NRC representatives were on the ground in Japan for almost one year after the March 11 disasters, continually consulting with and advising their Japanese counterparts.
Presently, multiple agencies are taking ground samples for analysis. Samples are analyzed both in Japan (by Japanese agencies and DOD) and back in the U.S. (DOE). The majority of the data is consolidated in DOE databases and shared amongst all parties.The aim of DOE’s radiation monitoring support has been to collect data and provide measurement results and technical advice on radioactive contamination and radiation exposure in support of the State Department’s advice to American citizens on protective action and evacuation guidelines; to DoD in its efforts to safely conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations and advise on departure/return of military dependents; and to the Japanese Government in producing guidelines on relocation and use of agricultural lands.DOE conducted over 530 hours of aerial measurements on 100 AMS flights. (MEXT assumed this mission on May 21.) Its field teams covered over 65,000 km of roadways to take over 3,400 ground measurements. Six hundred twenty air samples were collected at Yokota Air Base, the Embassy and the Embassy housing compound. Once hundred twenty-nine soil samples were collected for analysis at DOE labs.Ocean buoys (U.S.) have been deployed to measure ocean currents. In coordination with NOAA and MEXT, DOE plans to deploy additional sensors in order to validate and improve existing oceanographic models. MEXT is conducting oceanographic surveys to retrieve seawater and seabed samples.While the DOE in-country team returned to the U.S. as of May 28, they are continuing support to both the Embassy and the GOJ. The successful transfer of equipment and expertise to the GOJ for continued aerial monitoring and analysis of samples was completed. DOE continues to receive data from Japanese monitors and is providing reachback and laboratory analysis support to GOJ, DoD and the Embassy.If called upon, DOE can activate its emergency response and consequence management capabilities within 2 hours and deploy field assets within 4 hours, with military airlift, to arrive within 24 hours. While the team is en route, DOE will provide technical expertise to the U.S. Embassy and USFJ remotely and intensify monitoring of Japanese radiation sensors 24 hours a day. In addition, DOE provided to USFJ an aerial measurement system that U.S. forces will be able to fly to conduct an initial aerial survey and collect valuable data for planning the next level of operations once the DOE team arrives in country.
Since the crisis began, U.S. Mission Japan has engaged on health, food, and environmental issues in various ways Many USG experts from a variety of agencies have visited Tokyo, including:U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food safety issuesNational Cancer Institute (NCI) for radiation health issuesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for risk communication issuesNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for ocean monitoring It became vital to provide factual, up-to-date information to American citizens in Japan Comprehensive information was posted on the Embassy website concerning health issues, food and water safety, and aftershocks Public information sessions were held with many of the USG experts listed above The photos in this slide show one of Ambassador Roos’s press conferences at the Embassy in the days after March 11; a screen shot of one of the Ambassador’s YouTube videos; and one of the “town hall meetings” for American citizens with a panel of USG experts
Ambassador Roos wanted to build on the phenomenal bilateral partnership that emerged during the military’s Operation Tomodachi. He created a public-private partnership called the TOMODACHI Initiative, which seeks to invest in Japan’s next generation and deepen relations between the U.S. and Japan. Major U.S. and Japanese companies – including SoftBank, Toyota, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Coca-Cola, and GE – have donated millions of dollars to the TOMODACHI Initiative in order to support educational exchange programs, athletic and cultural exchange programs, and leadership/entrepreneurial programs. This summer alone, nearly 450 Japanese students from the Tohoku region are going to the United States on various educational exchange programs.
(Clockwise from top left)-Ambassador and Lady Gaga in May 2011-Tom Cruise and Ambassador in December 2011-will.i.am in November 2011-Ayaka Ogawa and Justin Bieber in May 2011-Cal Ripken, Jr. in November 2011-Secretary Clinton joins the TOMODACHI Generation, June 2012
The U.S. is committed to assisting Japan over the long-term, in a variety of ways: President Obama welcomed PM Noda to Washington for a summit meeting in April 2012, and the two leaders issued a Joint Statement on “A Shared Vision for the Future”; the President stated, “And when Prime Minister Noda and I first met last September we agreed to modernize our alliance to meet the needs of the 21st century.” Also in April, Secretary Clinton and PM Noda announced the launch of the “Friendship Blossoms – Dogwood Tree Initiative,” a public-private partnership between the United States Department of State and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, in which 3,000 American dogwood trees from the people of the United States will be planted across Japan. In June, nearly 80 representatives from 32 U.S. companies with experience in environmental remediation projects traveled to Japan to meet with their Japanese counterparts to seek avenues of cooperation in cleaning up Fukushima Prefecture. The company representatives visited 3 separate sites in Fukushima Prefecture, and we are hopeful that we will be able to further strengthen the business ties between our two countries while simultaneously helping to mitigate environmental damage in the tsunami-hit areas of Northeastern Japan.
The U.S. Response to the March 11 Triple Disaster Temple University Japan – July 10, 2012 Mark J. DavidsonMinister-Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Tokyo
The Earthquake The Great East Japan Earthquake 2:46pm, March 11, 2011 9.0 earthquake strikes off the coast of Northeastern Japan(Tohoku), 400 km NE of Tokyo
The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Tsunami destroyed primary/ backup power systems, pumps, control systems Caused loss of reactor cooling resulting in fuel damage Hydrogen explosions occurred from gas build up 4
Radiological Impact Radiological deposition on the ground – yellow depicts the highest level 140,000 people evacuated. GOJ Advisory: 20 km radius around Fukushima and some additional areas northwest of the radius USG Advisory: 80 km radius around Fukushima
The Response:U.S. Agency for International Development
The Response: Nuclear Regulatory Commission• March 11, 2011 - NRC activated its 24- hour Emergency Operations Center to monitor and analyze events at the nuclear plants in Japan.• March 12, 2011 - Two NRC nuclear experts were dispatched to Tokyo to support the Government of Japan and the U.S. Ambassador.• March 14, 2011 - Senior Level Manager and additional NRC staff were dispatched to form the site team.• May 17, 2011 - NRC shifted to a dedicated HQ’s team to monitor and support the NRC’s Japan site team. The team is focusing on assisting the U.S. Ambassador in protecting the health and safety of the American people in Japan and providing technical assistance to the GOJ.
The Response:Department of Energy •Support in country from Pacific Northwest, Sandia, and Idaho National Laboratories • Robot with radiation mapping capability and radiation hardened cameras provided
The Response:Public Outreach: Health, Food, and Environment
The Response: The TOMODACHI Initiative Developing a Operation TOMODACHI Tomodachi generationMarch 11, June 1,2011 2011 TOMODACHI is a public-private partnership, designed to help create a “Together, we want to create future generation of Japanese and a TOMODACHI generation American leaders -- a TOMODACHI that is deeply committed to generation -- with an appreciation of the future of our relationship.” each other’s culture and countries and – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with global skills and mindsets. October 7, 2011 TOMODACHI provides exchanges in education, sports, arts and culture, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
The Response:Continuing Commitment Long-Term Partnership: • Political • Security • Economic • People-to-People Ties