Select a primary language to get the most out of our Journal pages:
English 日本語 Español Português

We have made a lot of improvements to our Journal section pages. Please send your feedback to!

Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

The Great Tohoku Disaster - Part 9

Read Part 8 >>

This is a recreation of my personal experiences from the e-mails that I sent to friends in Canada and Japan, TV news reports in Canada, the U.S., and Japan, and from what my wife Akiko told me.

Ambassador of Canada to Japan – Message to Canadians in Japan

The massive earthquake and tsunami, and resulting destruction of major energy and other infrastructure, is a tragedy of monumental proportions. All Canadians share the shock and grief of Japan’s people, and share their hopes for lives to be saved and communities to be rebuilt. Prime Minister Harper conveyed our condolences and working with the Canadian Red Cross, Canada has provided 25,000 woven thermal wool blankets from its emergency relief supply stockpile to Japan.

Additionally, generous Canadians have donated $5 million dollars in cash to support relief efforts through the Red Cross of Canada. The Canadian government continues to work with the Government of Japan to identify other areas of assistance which Canada can provide. The Embassy of Canada is touched by the generosity of Canadians who have contributed to assist the people of Japan and I encourage others to consider helping as well: advice on giving is available on the Canada’s response to the earthquake in Japan page.

The Embassy of Canada’s first priority continues to be the welfare and safety of Canadians in Japan. We are working around the clock using all viable means of communication to try to make contact with Canadians in the affected areas and to offer assistance where it is required. Canadians in affected areas should call the Embassy of Canada in Tokyo at 011-81-3-5412-6200, or call collect to the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 613-944-2471 or 613-943-1055, or send an e-mail to if they require emergency assistance. All Canadians in Japan should register with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service.

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will continuously update its website on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which provides information about travel advisories, how to request assistance, and how Canadians can help. Many other sources are available on topics such as the Japanese government’s response, transportation and electricity disruptions, shelter locations and person-finder tools.

I know all Canadians will join me in offering our hopes and prayers to the people of Japan for a speedy recovery after this disaster.

Sincerely,Jonathan T. Fried
Ambassador of Canada to Japan

* * * * *

Friday, March 25

Hi Norm:

I am not completely sure, but I thought I read somewhere that PM Kan had visited the stricken area immediately after it occurred. If I succeed in confirming this, I will let you know.

I know thereafter that he was scheduled to do a flyover inspection on a helicopter, but they had to cancel due to weather not being conducive to flying. Everytime disaster strikes, these dignitaries make visits, but I always get the feeling that there are better ways to help. When someone like the PM visits, they need special bodyguards and have a number of people waiting on him that all this extra effort and expense could be rerouted to actually helping those in need.



Hi Tak, Thanks for passing this on to me.

I personally find the Canadian government’s lack of action on this disaster embarrassing and shameful. You know that our response to other recent disasters demonstrated a heck of a lot more compassion and heart. I do not think that it matters a bit that Japan is a G8 country.

Why hasn’t PM Kan visited Tohoku???!!! That too is shameful.

I am going to pass this on to more friends of mine here and abroad.

All the best and have a nice weekend, Norm


From a friend of Paul’s:

picture #12 is Hiroe, (warning) there are some harsh ones included.

I have to keep this or she’ll never believe me. I figured she was dead until I saw this on Yahoo USA, Sunday, March 13. Her shop was in the maybe die area, flattened.

I still check it a few times each day...unbelievable! Tom


From the Government of Canada:

Following consultations with Government of Canada experts, and based on information available from the Government of Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Canada has assessed that at this stage there is no indication that there is a radiation health risk to Canadian citizens in Japan (outside of the evacuation zone) and in other countries in Asia.

As the situation continues to evolve, any Canadians still located within 80 km of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant should consider, as a further precautionary measure, evacuating this area. All Canadians in Japan should continue to follow the directions of the Japanese government and local emergency response personnel. For more information, please see the Government of Canada’s Warning against all travel to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and surrounding areas.

Based on current information, areas outside the Japanese evacuation zone are not subject to radiation levels associated with a health risk. Health risks still exist within the Japanese evacuation zone; therefore, Canadians should not enter these areas and should continue to follow the instructions of local authorities.

Information on the status of nuclear facilities in Japan can also be obtained on the websites of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Potassium iodide

Potassium iodide (KI) is only needed in a worst case situation where there is a large amount of radioactive iodine in the environment. At this time, only people in the immediate area of the Fukushima Power Plant might need this medication; the Government of Canada does not advise anyone outside this area to take KI. KI will be available from local health authorities in Japan if the need arises and should only be taken on instruction from the Japanese authorities. Government of Canada offices abroad are not in a position to provide medicine or medical treatment to Canadian citizens who have chosen to travel or reside outside of Canada. Canadians seeking information about KI are advised to contact their doctor or employer. The Government of Canada will provide information to Canadians to help them identify medical services locally.

Food and water safety

Elevated levels of radioactive iodine and cesium have been detected in some food products from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures. Canadians in Japan should therefore continue to follow the advice of local authorities, including recommendations regarding food and water consumption and protective measures such as taking KI. Canadians should also monitor updates from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Information on food and water safety recommendations can be found in the Public Health of Canada’s Travel Health Notice.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency remain in regular contact with Japanese authorities and will continue to provide information to Canadians as the situation evolves.

The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo’s web site offers local information and resources for Canadians in Japan, such as shelter locations and announcements from the government of Japan.

* * * * *

(MARCH 25, 2011 – 07:52am JAPAN TIME)

From today’s radioactivity measurements published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the situation in Nagoya and Osaka has not changed.

Environmental radioactivity: Readings are still in the range of historical figures: 0.035 - 0.074 microSv for Nagoya (minimum reading: 0.039 microSv/; maximum reading: 0.041microSv/h) and 0.042 - 0.061 microSv for Osaka (minimum reading: 0.042 microSv/h; maximum reading: 0.043/h). (PDF)

Radioactivity level in drinking water: no detectable radioactivity. (PDF)

Radioactivity level in fallout: no detectable radioactivity in either Aichi or Osaka prefectures. (PDF)

Radioactivity in the adjacent prefectures has also remained in the historic ranges for environmental radioactivity, except Shizuoka (adjacent to Nagoya) which observed 5.8 MBq/Km2 of I-131 and 5.9 MBq/Km2 of Cs-137 in the fallout on March 24 (down from the previous day’s 150 MBq/Km2 and 25 MBq/Km2, respectively).

To be continued...

© 2011 Norm Ibuki

Canada disaster earthquake Japan JPquake2011 sendai

About this series

In Japanese, kizuna means strong emotional bonds.

This series shares stories about Nikkei individual and/or community reaction and perspectives on the Great Tohoku Kanto earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the resulting tsunami and other impacts—either about supporting relief efforts or how what has happened has affected them and their feeling of connection to Japan.

If you would like to share your reactions, please see the “Submit an Article” page for general submission guidelines. We welcome submissions in English, Japanese, Spanish, and/or Portuguese, and are seeking diverse stories from around the world.

We hope that these stories bring some comfort to those affected in Japan and around the world, and that this will become like a time capsule of responses and perspectives from our global Nima-kai community for the future.

* * *

There are many organizations and relief funds established around the world providing support for Japan. Follow us on Twitter @discovernikkei for info on Nikkei relief efforts, or check the Events section. If you’re posting a Japan relief fundraising event, please add the tag “JPquake2011” to make it appear on the list of earthquake relief events.