Japan earthquake: Situation in Tokyo

Japan earthquake: Situation in Tokyo

Life in the capital is back on track after the disaster that devastated the northeast
A fishmonger arranges his stall at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.
A fishmonger arranges his stall at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.

Fears in Tokyo over any radiation threat to the capital from the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the north appear to have diminished. More organizations, both Japanese and from overseas, are making clear that there is no danger outside the immediately affected areas..

Most Tokyo residents are getting back into the routine of everyday life, and focus is shifting once more from Fukushima to the plight of hundreds of thousands of people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the northeast.

Elsewhere on CNNGo: Travel updates: Ground transport and international flights  

Scheduled power outages have been suspended, but could be reintroduced if necessary. Electricity conservation measures appear to be helping, with many shops and businesses either closed or reducing power consumption by switching off neon signs and lights.

Across the region, almost all train services are running more frequently than at the start of the crisis. Deliveries to stores are improving in most areas.

We’re keeping up with developments as they affect people in Tokyo and surrounding areas and will update the page throughout the day, focusing on information that will be useful during the crisis.

At a glance

  • Most train services outside areas hit by the disaster are almost back to normal. Volunteers are updating the information here in English
  • Airports are open and reportedly no busier than normal. Check with airlines for your specific flight status
  • Airwise is blogging about airlines' plans for services to and from Japan
  • Google launches people finder tool
  • Tokyo Electric's rolling power outages, currently suspended, have been posted as a Google Calendar 
  • If you're stuck for a place to stay in Japan, CouchSurfing has a group to help you
  • We have a summary of ways to send aid from anywhere in the world to those most in need
  • WHO has a guide to health concerns in the crisis

Watch live Japan TV here and here and follow our Twitter updates here

Updates -- Sunday, March 20

Power lines have been restored to cooling systems at the Fukushima plant and authorities continue to say the situation is improving.

Low levels of radiation have been detected in milk and spinach from areas near Fukushima, but they are insufficient to be harmful to health.

Updates -- Saturday, March 19

The World Health Organization has dismissed the risk of radiation from Fukushima doing any harm to human health outside the 30-kilometer radius already in place.

At the nuclear power plant, efforts are continuing to restore power to the reactors to resume cooling operations.

At the close of trading on Tokyo's stock markets on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index was down 10 percent for the week.

Updates -- Friday, March 18

Embassies continue to clarify that they are advising their citizens to consider leaving Tokyo because of power cuts and related reasons, not the situation at Fukushima.

Japanese media are reporting that there are no significant changes in the status of the damaged reactors. However, attempts are underway to restore power to parts of the plant in a bid to reactivate cooling systems.

After Thursday's strong surge in the value of the Japanese yen, the G7 group of industrialised nations has agreed to intervene to support the currency.

Updates -- Thursday, March 17

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says the fear of radiation is not the reason its citizens should leave Tokyo. Instead, he says, it is the "breakdown of essential services," including school closures, food supplies and electricity outages. The UK Embassy has now clarified that it is of the same opinion.

Helicopter crews spent the morning dropping seawater on the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in an effort to cool the number three reactor there. A lead plate is fixed to the bottom of each helicopter and crew are protected by anti-ratiation suits. Water cannon were used in the afternoon.

The Nikkei 225 index of stocks resumed its downward slide in the morning, as the crisis hits confidence in Japan's economy, but recovered in the afternoon. The yen reached a record high against the US dollar, briefly touching the ¥76 range.

Considering food-supply issues and the still-unfolding Fukushima situation, many countries are now urging their citizens to leave the Tokyo area. More here.

Updates -- Wednesday, March 16

Japan's Emperor Akihito has addressed the nation on television, saying "I sincerely hope that we can keep the situation from getting worse."

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant saw another explosion and fire early this morning, but it burned itself out after just 30 minutes. Authorities say radiation levels in Tokyo are still not a concern.

On the financial markets, the Nikkei 225 index was up sharply soon after the market opened. The recovery comes just a day after it suffered its third worst single-day fall.

The Japanese government says it will now accept the help of overseas doctors.

Updates -- Tuesday, March 15

The United States Navy says it is taking "precautionary measures" after detecting low levels of radioactivity aboard the USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier docked in Yokosuka, near Tokyo. However, readings elsewhere suggest the situation is improving.

Radiation coming from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has reached "levels that can impact human health," says the government. Unevacuated people within a 30-kilometer radius are being advised to remain indoors. The Tokyo area is not affected, although minute amounts of radiation have reached the capital.

Explosions are continuing to be heard at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The government says a meltdown of all three reactors has not been ruled out.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index fell below 9,000 points, a key psychological benchmark, for the first time since September 2010.

Search and rescue teams from other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and more, continue to arrive in Tokyo before heading to the areas worst-affected by the quake and tsunami.

Updates -- Monday, March 14

Narita Express temporarily shut down trains to the airport, but resumed services later.

International flights to and from Narita and Haneda airports have resumed, but airlines are dealing with a substantial backlog of passengers. Transport to the airports is also a problem. 

Passengers should check airline websites and their travel agents for further information. Many travelers in Tokyo face days of delay as airlines resume flights.

Power cuts

The rolling power outages announced for much of Tokyo's suburbs mean other trains are also affected. Many services have been canceled. 

Japan's government has advised people not to travel to work, yet many stations have been crowded since early morning with would-be commuters seeking transportation.

Many of the scheduled morning powercuts have been suspended, as supply has managed to keep pace with demand. Warnings of outages remain in place, however.

The blackouts were announced to help deal with reduced power availability as emergency workers try to repair damaged power plants.

Later blackouts are still slated -- at least one online tool (Japanese) is using postal-code searches to display the schedule by area.

On the ground

Google has also created a person-finder tool in six languages for requesting or sharing information on those missing in the earthquake-hit areas. There's a quick guide at JapanNewbie to understanding the disaster-related language used in Japanese news broadcasts.

Many stores, particularly in the suburbs, have seen sudden runs on food, other daily essentials, batteries and flashlights.

Latest CNN news on the quake and its aftermath

On Friday some workers reported walks of six to 10 hours to get home.

Nuclear risk

A top issue on Tokyoites' minds over the weekend centered around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is reportedly leaking radioactive material.

The dangerous conditions preclude direct observation, and residents are anxiously awaiting further reports. More from CNN here

As of Monday, March 21, the situation in Tokyo appears relatively normal and the focus is, appropriately, on other parts of Japan. We will no longer update this page unless anything significant changes. Meanwhile, keep an eye on our Twitter feed and the main Tokyo page. Thanks for reading.