I’ve just gotten off Skype from Junichi, the executive director of Greenpeace Japan. The staff of Greenpeace Japan are safe, and are camping overnight in the office – they’re fully prepared with sleeping bags and emergency food. There’s no going home yet – public transport in Tokyo has been completely knocked out by the earthquake. Junichi told us that aftershocks are continuing every 10 minutes or so . Their building was fine, but the windows of the building next door had broken during the ‘quake.
It sounds like chaos in Tokyo – Junichi and the team are finding it hard to get information; phone systems are not working, power is out in parts of the city, but in Shinjuku, they’re still connected to the Internet.
Farther north, of course, it’s far worse. The town of Sendai was hit hard by the tsunami generated by the earthquake, and it could take days to assess how many lives have been lost. Throughout the Pacific, many countries are on Tsunami alert.
The alarming news is that 14 nuclear reactors have so far been affected by the tsunami, with residents evacuated from around the Fukushima power plant, which is less than 300km north of Tokyo. It’s been reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency are concerned, and are looking for further information about what’s happening at Fukushima, after its cooling systems failed.
While no radiation leaks have yet been reported, Greenpeace is continuing to monitor what is still clearly a rapidly unfolding situation – and we hope that all information concerning damage to nuclear facilities, and threats to the population and environment is made publically available.
All of us at Greenpeace offer our condolences to the victims of the earthquake in Japan, and to those who have lost loved ones.