Student Voices
< Return to Section


 Student Services

March 2011 Earthquake Updates

IUJ: March 2011 Earthquake Updates
IUJ Top > March 2011 Earthquake Updates

March 2011 Earthquake Updates

May 17, 1pm

I share the most recent info out of the ACCJ, from the US Embassy in Japan. In short, the travel warnings for areas including Niigata are lifted. The situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant was confirmed as "serious and dynamic" but that, "the health and safety risks to areas beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone, "..." are low and do not pose significant risks..." Traveling through the Tohoku region too has been OKd.

ACCJ Member

As requested by the US Embassy, we are forwarding this updated Travel Alert for Japan to all of our members. For further information on this Travel Alert and other information for US citizens in Japan, please visit the US Embassy website at

Remember to follow the ACCJ on:

May 16, 2011

This Travel Alert replaces the Travel Alert for Japan dated April 14, 2011. The U.S. Government is updating its recommendation on the safe use of the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. Using the same analysis we would use in a similar situation in the United States, the U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway for transit hrough the area. Other portions of this Travel Alert remain unchanged from the Alert published on April 14. This Travel Alert expires on July 15, 2011.


Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant


The assessment of technical and subject matter experts across United States Government agencies is that while the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to areas beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone, and particularly to Tokyo, Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture), Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture), nearby U.S. military facilities, and the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Gunma, Iwate, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, and Yamanashi, and those portions of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.

This analysis takes into consideration both various age groups and the classification of the severity of the situation at Fukushima Daiichi as a Level 7 event by the Government of Japan, which reflects what has transpired since the initial incident and the potential long-term effects in the area surrounding the plant. This assessment reflects inputs from our national laboratories as well as the unanimous opinion of the U.S. scientific experts on the ground in Japan. Furthermore, they are consistent with practices that would be taken in the United States in such a situation. Based on the much reduced rate of heat generation in the reactor fuel after one month of cooling and the corresponding decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes, even in the event of an unexpected disruption at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, harmful exposures to people beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone are highly unlikely, and there would be a significant amount of time to best assess any steps that might have to be taken.

The situation at the plant is dramatically different today than it was on March 16, when we saw significant ongoing releases of radioactivity, the loss of effective means to cool the reactor cores and spent fuel, the absence of outside power or fresh water supply for emergency management, and considerable uncertainty about the condition of the site. Today, while the situation remains serious, and there is still a possibility of unanticipated developments, cooling efforts are ongoing and successful, power, water supply, and back-up services have been partially or fully restored, and planning has begun to control radioactive contamination and mitigate future dangers. Our coordination with the Japanese is regular and productive, and we have a greatly increased capacity to measure and analyze risks.

On April 14, 2011, the Department of State lifted Voluntary Authorized Departure, allowing dependents of U.S. government employees to return to Japan.

Out of an abundance of caution, we continue to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid travel within the 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. U.S. citizens who are still within this radius should evacuate or shelter in place.

Though the U.S. Government is not currently making changes to its recommendation to avoid travel to the 50-mile radius, we are updating the recommendation on the safe use of the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. These transport routes are currently open to public use. The U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway to transit through the area. This updated decision is based on measurements taken by U.S. Government scientists; more information may be found at the Department of Energy website,


Risk of Aftershocks


Japan is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. Tokyo and areas to the northeast continue to experience strong aftershocks related to the March 11 earthquake. Aftershocks following an earthquake of this magnitude can be expected to continue for more than a year. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. See the Embassy Website for detailed information on earthquake safety:


American Citizen Services


U.S. citizens in Japan are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulates. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy/Consulates to contact them in case of emergency.

For the latest U.S. Government information on the situation in Japan, please visit the Embassy website at Updated information on travel and security in Japan may also be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Japan, as well as the Worldwide Caution.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of either the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. Consulates in Japan listed below:

U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Tel: 03-3224-5000
After Hours: 03-3224-5000
Fax: 03-3224-5856

The U.S. Embassy serves U.S. citizens in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.

April 21, 9am

The 20K evacuation zone remains the same, with a bit tougher enforcement now in place due to continued radiation leaks.

UNLESS there are major changes or hot info our students need to use, this update page will not be active. The MONITORING page, though will continue to be updated Monday through Friday for water and air quality reports. If something changes significantly over the weekend or holidays, it will also be updated.

April 18, 5:30pm

Sieverts stand at 0.056μSv/h Water quality remains very safe - the report for today is not yet out however, I think nothing has changed.

I am thankful to Chairman Kobayashi for sharing his thoughts with us today in the MLIC 3F hall. I too hope we can use this unfortunate and uneasy situation to build an even stronger IUJ community to help build a strong world community!

April 18, 9am

Sieverts stand at 0.051μSv/h and hovered around this number on the weekend Water quality remains very safe.

TEPCO announced it would take 6-9 months to get the Fukushima plants to cold shut down.

Updates on the ocean water situation in English are at

April 15, 3pm

Sieverts stand at 0.057μSv/h

April 15, 12 noon

The US has updated its travel warnings, inviting US citizens back to Japan and clearly stating the health risk outside the 80K suggested evacuation area is extremely low. The Fukushima plant situation is now far safer than March 16 situation. Please
read the statement provided by the US embassy.

11am Sieverts reading 0.059μSv/h

April 15, 9am

The most recent Sievert levels for Niigata (air quality), including the monitoring station in our city can always be seen at Click on the top link, then use GOOGLE translate to read the latest data.

Currently, for our city, the Sievert level is 0.053μSv/h

For water quality, you can go to There is a long list of links. Choose the one that has something like 第27報) noted. This is for report 27 on April 14.

Report 27 says NO harmful substances in our water supply - river or tap water

Today, I recommend an article from SLATE by Bjørn Lomborg that compares the safety of nuclear power to other power sources including coal. The number of people who died as a direct result of the Chernobyl disaster, according to the article, is 32 people. (Other illnesses and deaths came after consuming tainted foods, which cannot happen in Japan with the strict monitoring already in place and active). The number killed by the use of and mining of coal exceeds 2,000 yearly! And the use of coal hurts our environment far more than nuclear power usage so we need to think carefully about the cost-benefit situation. Of course, the world will be improving safety standards and monitoring criteria I am sure!

April 14, 6pm

We are completely in the naturallyoccurringranges for Sieverts (amount of radiation we absorb per hour), and our water supply shows no Iodine or other harmful substances in it.

Direct links to the most updated info are at (access the page, then hit GOOGLE TRANSLATE to see the info in English)

Air quality as of 5pm:

Water quality as of yesterday:

Minami Uonuma City showed 0.056μSv / h at 5pm. That falls in the natural range of 0.016 and 0.16, and is about the same as eating a banana.

And nothing in the water

April 13, 9am

The Fukushima plant accident has been raised to level 7. This is NOT because the situation suddenly worsened, but because the amount of radiation that has leaked out is now more than the USA 7 Mile Island incident. Level 7 is the same as Chernobyl, HOWEVER, the levels of radiation leaked compared to Chernobyl is just one-tenth the amount, and massive efforts to contain it are underway - unlike Chernobyl. A senior official at Japan's nuclear safety agency explained further: "He added that at Chernobyl the nuclear reactor itself exploded in contrast to the Fukushima plant, which was damaged by hydrogen explosions. He said the reactors themselves retain their shape."

Also, mandatory checks on food products for radiation are in place as a precautionary measure and monitoring tool. The food and water supplies remain safe, and will be constantly monitored even far beyond the affected region as a precaution and to give citizens peace of mind.

Morning readings for our area:
Sieverts: 0.047μSv/h (well within normal ranges, and now the same as the first readings after the quake and before the Fukushima plant gained our attention) Nothing is detected in Niigata's water supply. Follow along at (Use Google Translate)

April 12, 9am

Strong aftershocks and earthquakes continue to plague the Tohoku region. Campus felt the one Monday afternoon in a swaying motion but it was not anything of real concern. The few that hit Tohoku this morning were not registered in Niigata or at a very low level. This situation is likely to continue for several more months. The Fukushima plants experienced no additional damage but of course the difficult work continues, as does the radiation and celcium level monitoring.

For our area, the readings this morning are:
Sieverts: 0.041μSv/h (well within normal ranges, and now the same as the first readings after the quake and before the Fukushima plant gained our attention)
Water quality shows nothing harmful in the water supply

Students returning to campus are reminded to sign in or matriculate (deadline today) at the OAA.

April 11, 10am

Weekend readings for both air and water quality remained safe and in the naturally occurring ranges for air quality, and no harmful substances in the water supply.
Temporary housing is going up for the displaces people, but still 150,000 remain in shelters and evacuation centers.

NHK is now providing updated readings of Iodine and Cesium in and near the Fukushima plants. While still at levels of concern, it is good to see how much the levels drop just 330 meters from the plants! Follow in English at

Students back on campus are ALL required to Sign in (GSIR) or finalize your matriculation (GSIM) at the OAA/OSS office. Thank you!

April 8, 11:45am

Here is another important presentation
Message from Mr. Yukio Edano,
Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Government of Japan,
to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Meeting

April 8, 9:30am

A strong aftershock of 7.4 shook Tohoku at 11:32pm April 7. Some of the IUJ staff did feel the rocking in our area, but there was no effect at IUJ. (Myself, I didn't feel it)

8am Sievert level - 0.053μSv/h (very normal) (Use Google translate for English)
Water is safe (Use Google Translate for English)

Reports are that radiation readings near the Fukushima plant also are coming down (info from April 7 am).

Today's interesting articles: UK and Canada have lifted their travel warnings for Japan. A very good sign that the situation is stabilizing and fears are going down to concerns.

April 7, 11:30am

Today's recommended article: It helps compare nuclear power to coal, etc. as far as health impact, safety, and benefit to developed societies. It also explains the health impact at Chernobyl and what is happening at Fukushima. VERY important to read!!! It gives us a scientific, facts based resource to help understand what the numbers mean, etc.

11am Sievert level: 0.056μSv/h
NO harmful substances in the river or tap water in our area or beyond. The most recent report, in Japanese is at: -- You can use Google Translate to get it into English!

April 6, 12noon

Here is a good article from Washington Post about the radiation in the ocean. READ the whole thing (not just the sensationalized title) to realize the probable outcome of the radiation going into the sea. Setting the safety level is a safety measure, and NOT saying we are in danger of Japan's seafood!

Japan sets seafood safety level after nuclear plant spews highly contaminated water into sea

Here is an updated explanation in English (after the first screen in Japanese) provided by a nuclear professional on what is happening at the plant. I highly recommend you review it to understand what is happening.

11am Sievert level: 0.059μSv/h
NO harmful substances in the river or tap water in our area or beyond. is the update for April 6

April 5, 3pm

Sievert reading (1pm) 0.058μSv/h (about like eating a banana)
Water Status: No harmful substances in river or tap water. Safe to drink tap water.

Please watch a special online program (quick installation procedure required) on Friday 9:30am-10am.
This is a story featuring 6 foreign students who experienced the earthquake and tsunami, and their feelings and opinions.

The Seawater issue is being monitored, including the effects on the food chain. As radioactivity breaks up quickly in salt water, the issue is serious but not life threatening. One report said if you ate seafood from that area every day for 3 months you would get 1/4 of a year's average radioactive exposure (but I am not sure about all that). They are monitoring it closely however.

April 4, 10am

Sievert reading (early morning): 0.044μSv/h - or basically off the charts on the LOW end.
Water Status: Again no traces of anything harmful in the river or tap water. The last time there was a tiny trace was March 21/22

At the Daiichi plant, and the surroundings areas are now reporting lowering levels of radioactive iodine. The 8 inch leak is still a problem. Radioactive water is still going into the ocean, where it disipedates quickly. Of course they are closely monitoring that situation, and trying various ways to plug the crack. They are saying it will take several month to completely shut down the reactors and bring them to a cold state. This is an ongoing concern, but localized and, except for the workers on the immediate scene, health concerns remain low and very manageable - according to both Japanese and foreign experts analyzing and assessing the situation: World Nuclear Association, IEAE, French authorities, etc.

April 1 3:00pm

Dr. Robert Peter Gale, an expert on radiation risks and one of the Chernobyl relief specialists, visited the Fukushima plant and provides his insights into the situation, and short/long-term health risks. He gave a long talk to the FCCJ ((Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan) and you can watch on YouTube.

Part 1 -
Part 2 - -- Seems most informative to me. --
Part 3 -

Sieverts at 1:40pm - 0.059μSv/h

April 1, 10:30am

Sievert reading: 0.061μSv/h
Water Status: No new report out for today yet, but yesterday showed no traces of harmful substances
Food Status: same as above for Niigata food products, though a few vegetables and strawberries in neighboring prefectures registered trace amounts of harmful substances, but not enough to cause health concerns (300 is the becquerel count to watch, and the amounts were in the 20s-40s.)

RADIATION LEVELS IN TOKYO - info reported in the Huffington Post, quoted sources at The World Nuclear Association about Japan's radiation levels.

"Radiation readings around the evacuation zone vary widely. Daily readings published by the government show that 30 km northwest of the reactors levels are climbing up to 42 microsieverts per hour, about 6 times the cosmic radiation experienced during a Tokyo-New York flight, while elsewhere at that distance around the reactor it is just 1.0-1.2 microsieverts per hour.

A Reuters reading in downtown Tokyo on Thursday showed a radiation level of 0.18 microsieverts per hour. This is still quite low by global standards as Japan has lower levels of natural background radiation than other places.

The World Nuclear Association says average background radiation in most areas globally varies from 0.17 to 0.39 microsieverts per hour. So even with higher-than-usual levels, Tokyo is at the bottom of that range"

March 31, 6:00pm

IUJ community are encouraged to read the Email message from IUJ Chairman Kobayashi and President Mori sent a few moments ago. The info below confirms our Spring Term schedule and is now on the IUJ Top Page.
IUJ will keep to our earlier announcement for Spring Term scheduling:

April 4-8 -- Make up classes and exams to conclude Winter Term
April 11 -- Start of Spring Term courses
       Deadline for Spring Term class registration is April 18.

Academic questions or concerns may be directed to:
Office of Academic Affairs -- TEL +81-(0)-25-779-1106

Scholarship questions, or concerns of a non-academic matter may be directed to:
Office of Student Services -- TEL +81-(0)-25-779-1103)
Food monitoring for Niigata produce (in becquerel where levels of 300 and above are considered a concern) showed no trace of harmful substances.
The Water for our area remains free of harmful substances as of the report late this afternoon
5pm Sievert reading for Minami Uonuma City is 0.052μSv/h

Food Fo

March 31, 3:30pm

Sievert level at 3pm wass 0.060μSv/h

TOMORROW is April Fools day, and I am personally worried we may have some pranks pulled in the Social Networking Worlds about the nuclear plant situation in Japan. PLEASE pay close attention to the fact that 4/1 is April Fools day - a day for teasing people, making jokes, stating untruths to cause surprise etc. USUALLY all in fun. Once the listener is surprised, the speaker says "April Fools" and everyone laughs. So let's think carefully Friday! The world may play a prank with false info, and NOT say April Fools.

March 31, 9am

Yesterday's water report indicates no harmful substances in our area's river or tap water Sievert levels at 8am were 0.051μSv/h

Good info is coming out of ACCJ on:

Here's the March 30 WHO situation report:

March 30, 5pm

4pm Sievert reading is 0.060μSv/h (naturally occurring range is 0.016 to 0.16μSv/h)
Niigata is hosting about 9,000 evacuees from the Tsunami affected region in 84 shelters, private homes, etc., including 112 people in Niigata hospitals (including our local hospital), etc.

Foreign Buyer's Club in Kobe suggests the following ways to help relief efforts:
How to help others- 3 ways
Second Harvest and CRASH - Send money and aid directly to these two organizations.
AID4OTHERS – Use this coupon code to send your items directly to those affected by the earthquake.
Help Animals Too! – We've set up a way to help animals who have been affected by the earthquake as well. Please see our website for more info.

Also, watch for the opportunity to donate to an NPO run by an IUJ alum helping with language facilitation between the local communities in the afflicted region and overseas relief workers!

March 30, 1:30pm

1pm Sievert level is 0.064μSv/h (naturally occurring range is 0.016 to 0.16μSv/h)
Recommended info source online for updated info and developments:

March 30, 9am

Here is an interesting interactive understanding of radiation levels from Huffington Post. It helps put things in perspective

Sievert levels for our city as of 8:00am are 0.100μSv/h which is about the same as what you get from eating a banana, according to the link above.

Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours gives you 0.05μSv - according to that interactive look at radiation levels!
Water report for today is not yet out. Yesterday had no traces of harmful substances.

There are chain emails circulating with false and inflammatory information about the Daiichi plant and the danger. Some are even said to be being sent by TEPCO.
PLEASE do not trust such emails. Find out the facts from the various sources provided below and confirm all information before reacting.

March 29, 6pm

Water reports show no traces of harmful substances in the river or tap water today
Sievert levels as of 5:30pm are 0.069μSv/h - again well down from this morning's safe reading.

Kyodo news info page is helpful

March 29, 9am

7am Sievert reading is 0.121μSv/h, well within the naturally occurring range of 0.016 to 0.16μSv/h
Yesterday's water report shows no detection of any harmful substances in the rivers or tap water.

At the Daiichi plant, they still cannot get the cooling system going effectively, and they are very concerned about the levels of radiation found in water in tunnels at the plant, that are near the ocean. Immediate counter measures are being taken, they are discovering the leaks or what is causing that situation, etc. So the situation in the immediate area of the plant remains severe. Experts are working around the clock with international monitoring authorities watching closely. See the links below for direct information from them.

March 28, 5:30pm

4pm Sievert reading is down again to 0.065μSv/h
TEPCO apologized for giving the wrong, and way too high, figure for radiation and corrected the information publically.
Wal-Mart has opened many stores in the affected region again!
Still over 160,000 remain in shelters, but slowly but surely people are able to return to their homes.

March 28 9am

7:30am Sievert reading for our area was 0.140μSv/h - up a bit from Friday, but lower than earlier morning amounts, and still well within the naturally occurring range.
Water monitoring shows no signs of harmful elements in the rivers or tap waters (3/27 report)
Aftershocks continue in the Tsunami hit region - some are strong.
Japan Post can now make home deliveries throughout the hit region.

March 25, 2:30pm

Great info for Non-Japanese readers is provided by the National Institute for Natural Sciences - General Info, Immigration Info, blackouts schedules, transportation updates, etc.

More helpful info, and in languages OTHER than Japanese and English are at provided by Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku's Language Institute

National Institute for Radiological Sciences (English)

1pm Sievert reading was 0.076μSv/h

March 25, 1:30pm

12noon Sievert reading was at 0.077μSv/h - this is the lowest reading for several days now!

March 25, 9:30am
(Sorry for the laps of one day)

Sievert levels are at 0.103μSv/h this morning, which is a tad up from yesterday, but lower than the 5am readings, and will within naturally occurring levels (Maximum of .16)
The water report for our area yesterday showed NO indication in the rivers or tap water of harmful substances. Reports seem to come out only the following day.

The tap water levels in Tokyo too are back to safe levels for infants and pregnant women too. As a result of the fear, bottled water supplies are running low. Also, eating leafy vegetables from the Fukushima region is not recommended. A few workers at the Fukushima plants stepped in a pool of radioactive water while reconnecting power lines and had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment and observation.

March 23, 5:30pm

Sieverts is down to0.090μSv/h
The water report is not up for today.

Nuclear Disaster Preparedness Guide by Niigata is here for you Copy is outside the OSS too.

March 23, 9am

Power is now on at all Fukushima reactors! This will help with cooling and monitoring even more. Wonderful and specialized long-reaching cranes (we think they are originally for concrete pouring) are now on scene helping get water directly into the cooling pools (Why these were not readily available is a lesson we can get from this I think!). Alumni in the region we know of are both safe.

Current Monitoring reports:
Sieverts: (air) 0.128μSv/h (well within the naturally occurring levels of .016 to .16) -- 8:30am March 23.
Becquerel: (water) Tap water from Saguri dam sources 9.6 bq/kg. River water 3.9 bq/kg (Safe levels are up to 300 bq/kg) - March 22 report

March 22, 5:15pm

Levels of Iodine and radiation around the Fukushima plant are higher than legally acceptable, including in the Ocean. However, they have dropped since similar tests taken Monday. The levels still do not pose a long-term health risk according to the IAEA. For the seawater testing results, experts say careful monitoring of sea life will be necessary.

IAEA website:

Temperatures at the Fukushima plant are continuing to get lower, and showing positive trends. Power is nearly restored to the plants which will further help with cooling and accurate reads on what is happening. The biggest concern is the long-term care of the workers immediately at the site. Chernobyl case and Fukushima case are (paraphrasing) "completely different and cannot be compared. The fundamental reason is the efforts of containment. There was no containment at Chernobyl, and though not perfect, very good containment at Fukushima... the levels in the ocean water that are being sited will very quickly be gone." said a US expert who treated Chernobyl survivors, and who is visiting Japan at this time (Info from the 5pm press conference on NHK World in English)

March 22, 3:30pm

Official Info on Earthquakes Available

There are several pages you can obtain updated information from
in English on earthquakes and radioactivity levels:

MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)

METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)

IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)

WHO (World Health Organization)

Currently our area has 0.107μSv/h (well within the naturally occurring levels, and less than this morning). There are no new updates on water becquerel levels at this hour.

March 22, 9:30am

As of 4:30pm March 21, the river in our city showed a level of 14 becquerels and the tap water 0 becquerels. 300 becquerels is considered the level that can begin to have health effects. You can follow the updates at in Japanese. Currently the English info is 2-3 days old. We will keep an eye on it. Currently there is no cause for concern.

March 22, 8:45am

For those concerned about food safety, please note the following quotes and sources. In short, there is no cause for concern about levels detected in Niigata in spinach, milk and water.

"On the Consumer Agency website, Renho, state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food safety, said the reported radiation levels in spinach and raw milk are ''not expected to immediately affect human health,'' and called on the public to ''act calmly.''

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said radioactive materials were found in water sampled Saturday in prefectures of Tokyo, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Niigata, while prefectural governments of Fukushima and Ibaraki said they have found the substances in tap water.

According to the ministry, 16 becquerels and 3.6 becquerels of iodine per one kilogram of water was found in Tochigi and Gunma, while Tokyo and Niigata (city) saw 2.9 and 2.1 becquerels, but the levels were below the intake limit of 300 becquerels set by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.

For Minami Uonuma city itself, the levels are registering zero for tap water.

Minami Uonuma city's Severiets level remains within the normally occuring range and stands at 0.135 μSv/h

March 20, 2pm

There was a bit of concern about food safety because of the radiation spike. Milk and Spinach did test positive for radiation but the amounts were determined not to be detrimental to human health. The about for the cows exposed was about the same level as 1 CT scan, and to the spinach 1/5th a CT scan. This info may help with explanations. It is from Noriyuka Shikata's FaceBook page. Prof. Nakagawa, in charge of radioactive therapy at Tokyo Univ. Hospital is tweeting on the accident's impact on health. I translated his tweets on "milk issue" Also his earlier tweets to explain radioactivity related to this accident is translated already. See here .

March 20, 1:45pm

uSv/h level in our area is down to .121 which is down from this morning, and within the naturally occurring range of .016 and .16!

"Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels around the compound at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are on the decline since water-spraying began in earnest on Saturday afternoon." NHK World News Internet site headline.

Japanese news sources are beginning to talk about OTHER news in the world than the Tsunami and Fukushima plant. I think that is a good sign!

March 20, 10:30am

IUJers on campus are asked to come SIGN IN again to help us get an updated count of those still here. OR email to Gretchen

The water spraying on the spent fuel rod pool in reactor #3 had solid success and the the other reactors are not reporting any major difficulty.

uSv/h level in our area is down to .136 which is a bit up from earlier readings, but well within the naturally occurring range of .016 and .16!

March 18, 6pm

uSv/h level in our area is down to .116 which is again down from earlier readings, and within the naturally occurring range of .016 and .16!

Some power has been restored to the Fukushima plants that will help speed up the cooling process. Water is continuously pumped onto the problem areas keep the situation from becoming any worse. It isn't a lot better yet, but the outlook is positive at this time.

March 18, 11:45

Jay sensei shares his information about any possibility of IUJ being affected by the Fukushima Plant situation.
uSv/h level in our area is down to .137 which is within the naturally occurring range of .016 and .16!

March 18, 10:30am

Here is a wonderful site for dealing with stress from the Earthquake. PLEASE read and use

uSv/h level in our area is down to .150 which is within the naturally occurring range of .016 and .16!

March 17 6:15pm

uSv/h level in our area is down to .229 (about 20 more uSv/h lower than this earlier)

The attempt to drop water on the spent fuel did not go too well this morning. They are now restoring power lines to the plant to help get the system for cooling back up and running. They are also making sure the other spent fuel supplies stay in a safe situation.

I think we should truck in our SNOW to help them out!

March 17, 1:30

uSv/h level is down to .248 (about 40 uSv/h lower than this morning)

Global Concerns Forum and GSO-EC donation boxes are available at key places on campus. You can now donate online by clicking the button below:

March 16, 11:30am

The following briefing was shared with a faculty member on campus about 1 hour ago. It is very reassuring. Japan Nuclear Update - British Embassy

I have just returned from a conference call held at the British Embassy in Tokyo. The call was concerning the nuclear issue in Japan. The chief spokesman was Sir. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and he was joined by a number of qualified nuclear experts based in the UK. Their assessment of the current situation in Japan is as follows:

* In case of a 'reasonable worst case scenario' (defined as total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an xclusion zone of 30 km would be the maximum required to avoid affecting peoples' health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.

* The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to the above scenario.

* The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children - for normal adults the levels would need to be much higher still).

* The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected.

* If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much improved in time, as the reactors' cores cool down.

* Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.

* This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 km would have been adequate to protect human health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis.

* The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons - structural damage or possible new quakes - but the radiation fear is not supported by scientific measures, even for children.

* Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy. The discussion was surprisingly frank and to the point. The conclusion of the experts is that the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the subsequent aftershocks, was much more of an issue than the fear of radiation sickness from the nuclear plants.

March 16 10:15am

The latest Monitoring chart is now given in uSv/h so our calculations were off. The level is far LOWER than we thought! Now are are basically off the chart!! we are at .276 uSv/hour. If you stand outside for ONE HOUR you get that much, which is basically nothing, though above the usual range which .016 to .16 uSv/h

March 16, 10am

The nSv/h level is 287 as of 8:30am
Below is info to help you understand that reading. It is at the very tip of the "Effects" chart

The procedure to cool down the spent fuel at reactor #4 is underway.

March 15, 6:10pm

An alum shares this useful site for Foreigners dealing with the situation in Japan now.

March 15, 6pm

The nSv/h level is 285 as of 16:40. Below is info to help you understand that reading. It is at the very tip of the "Effects" chart and dropping

March 15, 4pm

Below is a chart to help us follow the mSv levels being reported. Remember the Nano vs. Mili differences! Our level is about 300 nSv/h, which has no health affects. See calculations and info below. We are at the bottom of the chart even now!

SUPER thanks to Dessy and Kasima for putting this into English for us!!!!

Radiation Levels Effects on the Human Body

March 16, 3:20pm

The planned blackout has been canceled for today! The Shokudo will still be open from 4:30 servicing onigiri, chicken and fish. Everyone please keep conserving electricity! We will let you know about March 18 at a later time.

March 16, 3:10pm

US Ambassador to Japan confirms the news on Japanese television is accurate and trustworthy. US officials and international officials are monitoring things closely. We are guaranteed information if any health concerns arise, or are predicted to develop. I will of course inform you!

March 16, 3:00pm

The "nano-Grey" levels registered by the monitoring units continue to drop, and are now at 301 (continuing to drop)

See the calculation below!

Mach 16, 2:15pm

This calculation was sent in when our monitors registered quite high. I did NOT do the math to be sure, but check this out.

Easy Calculation for nGy/h rate

0.6 mSv = 1 time X-ray ( Think about health check-up)
1mSV = 1.25 mGy/h
1mGy/h = 1,000,000 nGy/h

MinamiUonuma level = 541nGy/h

Conclusion :
U need to stand outside for approximately 1000 hours ( 41 days ) then it will equal to 1 time X-ray

March 16, 1pm

100 nano-grey/second (nGy/s) = 0.0000001 severt/second (Sv/s)
1 Gy/h = 0.8 Sv/h
100 nona-Gy/h with 10 hours of exposure = 0.0008 miliSeverts

Therefore 300 nano-Gy/h with 10 hours of direct exposure would be about 0.0024 miliSeverts, or far less than received flying from Japan to New York (0.19)

A good explanation of Grey and Severts is at
Conversion charts are at BUT be very careful with Mili, Nano, etc. when considering numbers!

To help us understand the figures, the Monitoring Reports from Niigata are now in nano-Severts/hour (nSv/h). Our town is at 306 NANO-Sv/h which continues to show a decrease from earlier figures.

March 16, 1pm

A strong aftershock hit near Chiba - Shindo 5. 6.0 magnitude. No Tsunami warning is issued

March 16, 12:30pm

We recommend you follow a government official and friend of the Shinodas on Twitter - Great info in English

March 16, 12noon

The "nano-Grey" levels registered by the monitoring units continue to drop, and are now at 316.

March 16 11:30am

The "nano-Grey" evels registered by the monitoring units continue to drop, and are now below 400, and continues to drop.

March 16, 10:30am

The radiation levels in our area increased over the night. The level at its peak was just lower than an stomach X-ray. Those inside would be far more protected still. The rates are now dropping. The levels are not high enough for any health effects.

The normal level for "Grey" at any given time is between 10 and 160. The latest reading is over 400 but coming down. If you are concerned, you simply stay inside.

According to Japanese authorities, the worst of the plant situation is now at level 4 and so far under control for keeping it there. Level 5 is similar to the 3 mile island situation which affected about 17K of an area, but with no health concerns as a result. Chernobyl was a level 7 - the highest on the chart.

March 15, 4:15

An IUJ faculty member shares this helpful information!
Japanese Earthquake Implications Quick Q&A

March 15, 3:45pm

Every 30 minutes the Niigata monitoring stations report on the levels of radiation in the air. There has been NO change since 11:30am this morning, and our town of Minami Uonuma city in Niigata is the lowest level of all the 6 reporting stations.

Here is an example of the report, and how to read it.

March 15, 3:30pm

The area in which IUJ is located will be included in a planned blackout on March 16 and 18 from 5pm-8pm. Details on arrangements for campus will follow VERY soon by email.

March 15, 1:45

After the explosion this morning, Ochonomiya detected 1.318 micro severts in the air which is 30 times higher than normal but still not a health threat. Soon after this read, the levels again dropped much lower At that time the level of Micro Serverts was over 8,000 at the plant itself, but again dropped significantly within a few minutes.

The number 2 plant has been successfully and safely shut down.

March 15 1:40pm

Those wanting to take a bus from Nagaoka to Osaka may find this info helpful. You need a reservation!

March 15, 12:30

The levels of the leak have increased sharply in reactors 3 and 4. The evacuation around the 20K area remains evacuated, and those 30K away are instructed to stay inside and keep their homes as sealed as possible. If they go out, they are asked to wash their body and clothing with soap and water, and not put out any laundry at this time. Laundry outside now should not be brought in. Long term exposure to the current levels can cause health concerns - some temporarily some longer term. The levels grow weaker and weaker the distance it travels away from the reactors.

March 15, 11:15

Water is being injected smoothly into all 3 reactors as this time. Reactor 4 is on fire, but the fire is in the building area, and being put out now. The fire is not threatening the reactor itself but they need to put it out to help with temperatures.

The Onogawa plant has a bit higher than usual levels of radiation, but not enough to cause any health issues so no evacuation is needed.

March 15, 11am

Information in English about the rolling blackouts is available at
Niigata MAY be included in the plan in the future.

March 15, 10:00

There was an explosion this morning at the Reactor 2. The levels of the leak in the immediate area was
"8 times the amount people are normally exposed to in 1 year" right after so workers were ordered to move away. The rods are still 1/2 exposed with sea water continuing to be pumped in. The radiation levels quickly reduced down (within minutes) to about 1/3rd.

A few US helicopter pilots and their helicopters "were exposed" to radiation. Both the people and helicopters just needed to wash with soap. Being exposed can be anything from a bit of material on your clothing to much sever cases, so listen critically.

March 15, 8:45am

Two new facts from reliable news sources (the main morning news show in Japan, and the Nikkei Newspaper):
1) IF anything gets airborne, it will affect a person about the same level as 1/2 a CT scan
2) The 3 Mile Island melt down in the US affected an area 10 miles (17 kilometers) in circumference with negligable long term health effects. (read more at

Update from Fukushima Plant 2
Concern remains as the coolant system has not yet be restored. But please read number 1 above!

Update on the Nagano Earthquake
This morning at about 7:20am our area experienced a "Shindo 1" aftershock

March 14, 6:20pm

As posted on the OSS white board, Multilingual Earthquake Support services for Niigata residents is available at 025-241-1881
Emergency Consultation Tuesday 10am-4pm March 15
For more info and more consultation times see

March 14, 5pm

It was reported that reactor #2 lost power so the coolants were lost about 1:30pm today. They are taking measures to rectify the situation. Another hydrogen explosion (water and air) is possible from the built up of pressure within the structure. They are looking into options for how to relieve the pressure inside the containment vessel. They are injecting Sea Water into the system now."By continuing to pump in sea water we can avoid any crisis, and those on the scene are working on that as hard as possible" - a paraphrase of an authority interviewed on the NHK online broadcast. NHK World, in English, is helping with the most updated info.

March 14, 4:00pm

A small aftershock from the Nagano/Niigata border earthquake was just announced. In our area it registered 1 on the Japan scale.
You can follow the earthquake info, in Japanese at

March 14, 3:10pm

JAFSA has distributed a professionally produced explanation about the situation and danger levels (or safety levels) of the Fukushima plant and explosions. Please do read this! Copies on the OSS bulletin board too.

March 14, 3:00pm

As announced at the 10:30am gathering today, Tokyo Electric Power Plant has scheduled rolling blackouts for Tokyo. On a rotating schedule various parts of Tokyo will be intentionally blacked out to conserve energy and get it to where it is needed most. Train schedules, traffic flow, etc. will be disturbed. This will remain in effect through late April according to the current information. Those considering to leave the area must keep this in mind, expect long delays, and inconsistent travel schedules.

March 14 2:00pm

Global Concerns Forum and GSO-EC donation boxes are available at key places on campus. You can now donate online by clicking the button below:

March 14 1:15pm

A fellow IUJer shares this info: "Why I am not worried about Japan’s nuclearreactors."

March 14 12:45

New official report is that "there is very little possibility of significant radiation leakage" after the recent explosion at Fukushima #3. House/indoor evacuation of those still in the area remains in affect. The plants are over 180K from campus, and on the other side of a major mountain range.

March 14, 12:20pm

The explosion at the Fukushima reactor #3 was again a hydrogen explosion. The evacuation zone remains at 20K surrounding that reactor. However, those who did not evacuate (about 600 people) are being told to stay inside and close all windows and ventilation systems. Radiation levels outside the plant are higher than legal levels, but less than was detected Sunday, according to the CNN report quoting info from Tokyo Electric Power Plant.

NHK is broadcasting in 18 languages:

The official reports on the reactors can be read in English at

March 14, 12:00noon

Info on the Fukushima Reactor #3 will follow soon.

NHK is broadcasting in 18 languages:

March 14, 10:10am

We will have a gathering in MLIC 3F hall at 10:30am today, March 14, with Pres. Mori, Dean Sugai and Assoc. Dean Kato. This is optional and everyone is welcomed to attend.

IUJ will remain in operation as usual with classes and exams given on schedule. However, on a case-by-case basis, some courses may be postponed due to faculty availability. Not all trains are running to help with electricity demands in affected areas.

For those unable to take Winter Term exams on schedule, a special make up exam can be offered the first week of Spring Term. Please check with your faculty.

Those leaving campus please BE SURE to fill out the Temporary Absence Notification form at the Housekeeper’s office. Also, be sure to inform your professors, and your scholarship host of your plans.

More information and updates will be available at the 10:30am meeting today, and regularly on the OSS website at

Return to Top of Page

  Student Voices
  Read what current students feel about the current situation at IUJ.  

Graduate School of IR | Graduate School of IM | Student Services | Contact | FAQs

Library Services | Computing | Campus Directory | Privacy Statement |

Copyright © 2014 International University of Japan. All rights reserved.