Jun 13, 2016

Magnitude-4.3 quake rattles Kumamoto area

A strong earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 4.3 hit Kumamoto Prefecture on Sunday night. The quake measured lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in the city of Yatsushiro and 3 in Uki, Hitoyoshi and Kamiamakusa. The quake struck around 10:08 p.m. and had a focus about 10 km underground, according …

Jun 13, 2016

Quake-hit Kumamoto struggling to provide places, staff for July election voting

Earthquake-hit municipalities in Kumamoto Prefecture are striving to secure replacement facilities and staff for polling stations for the July 10 House of Councilors election. Some facilities that were to be used as polling stations were damaged by the quakes or are currently being used as evacuation centers. Some of the municipalities are also facing shortages …

Jun 6, 2016

Experts to propose Kumamoto reconstruction fund

A panel of experts set up by the Kumamoto Prefectural Government will propose that a fund be created to help rebuild areas hit hard by the string of earthquakes that rattled the area in mid-April. The committee said Sunday that the fund, to be used by the prefectural government, must be flexible. Identifying medium- to …

May 30, 2016

Japanese troops wrap up effort in quake-hit Kumamoto

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani announced Monday that the Self-Defense Forces will be pulled out of Kumamoto Prefecture, 1½ months after the area was hit by strong earthquakes. Thousands of SDF personnel were sent in to conduct search and rescue activities and to begin rebuilding after the series of quakes, including a magnitude-7.3 temblor on April …

May 28, 2016

3/11 system might offset 75% of recovery costs for quake-hit Kyushu firms

The government might help small businesses cover 75 percent of the restoration costs for stores and production facilities damaged by April’s earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures. Under the program, to be finalized on Tuesday, the government will use the subsidy system it set up after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku …

May 25, 2016

Most relief funds for quake-hit Kumamoto yet to reach victims due to staff shortage

Most of the ¥750 million ($6.8 million) in relief money for victims of the powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture last month has not been disbursed, local government officials said Tuesday. The Kumamoto Prefectural Government transmitted the money to 25 municipalities on May 6. But the municipal governments are short of staff and struggling to …

Kyushu quakes spur national rethink of guidelines for emergency supplies

May 22, 2016

Kyushu quakes spur national rethink of guidelines for emergency supplies

Facing criticism in the wake of last month’s Kyushu quakes for its failure to provide for just the basic needs of tens of thousands of displaced people, the central government and municipalities are rethinking their disaster preparedness guidelines. In the immediate aftermath of the strong earthquakes in and around Kumamoto Prefecture, shortages of relief supplies …

Quake-damaged Kumamoto Castle to take decades to restore

May 20, 2016

Quake-damaged Kumamoto Castle to take decades to restore

Artisans are determined to complete “at any cost” the restoration of Kumamoto Castle, which has been heavily damaged by a series of powerful earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture. Work to repair collapsed stone walls, the tenshukaku (castle keep), and other damaged properties is expected to face difficulties over the initial decade or so of reconstruction. This …

May 19, 2016

Emperor, Empress visit quake-hit Kumamoto

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Thursday visited Kumamoto Prefecture for the first time since the region was hit by powerful earthquakes last month. After arriving at Kumamoto Airport in the town of Mashiki early in the afternoon, the Imperial Couple headed for the village of Minamiaso, where 15 people were found dead following the …

May 19, 2016

Kumamoto quake insurance payouts hit second-largest on record at ¥123.4 billion

Insurance payouts for the recent earthquakes in and around Kumamoto Prefecture reached ¥123.4 billion ($1.13 billion) as of Monday, becoming the second-largest after the ¥1.27 trillion paid out for the 2011 Tohoku disasters, an industry body said Wednesday. The payments for the Kumamoto quakes surpassed the previous second-largest figure of ¥78.3 billion disbursed after the …

May 19, 2016

Output in quake-hit Kyushu region to fall by up to ¥370 billion in fiscal 2016

The economic fallout in the Kyushu region from last month’s powerful earthquakes is tipped to reach up to ¥370 billion in the current fiscal year, a local economic research center said Thursday. The estimated maximum loss is equivalent to 0.7 percent of gross production in the Kyushu region in fiscal 2012, according to the Kyushu …

Foreign tourist numbers top record for second straight month in Japan

May 18, 2016

Foreign tourist numbers top record for second straight month in Japan

by Tomoko Otake

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in April hit a single-month record of 2.08 million, topping the 2 million mark for the second month in a row, the Japan National Tourism Organization announced Wednesday. The statistics show that the inbound tourism boom is continuing despite concerns about the slowdown in the Chinese economy and …

May 17, 2016

Around 2,100 students in Kumamoto need post-quake counseling

Roughly 2,100 municipal elementary and junior high school students in the city of Kumamoto are in need of counseling for trauma, a survey has found. About 3.5 percent of the total were found to be in need of professional advice for the stress they suffered after twin quakes rattled Kyushu just over a month ago. …

U.S. disaster expert sees 3/11 weaknesses laid bare in Kyushu

May 17, 2016

U.S. disaster expert sees 3/11 weaknesses laid bare in Kyushu

A former U.S. government expert on emergency management has questioned whether Japan is applying lessons learned the hard way after the 2011 tsunami to its response to the Kyushu quakes. Leo Bosner, 69, who worked for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency for 29 years, says an integrated response may not have been in place …

May 16, 2016

Lower House passes extra budget for Kumamoto quake damage

The Lower House on Monday passed a ¥778 billion supplementary budget for fiscal 2016 to help deal with the aftermath of the deadly earthquakes in Kyushu last month. The bill containing measures to support Kumamoto Prefecture and other areas affected by the quakes will now be taken up in the Upper House, where it is …

Kumamoto marks one month since devastating main earthquake

May 16, 2016

Kumamoto marks one month since devastating main earthquake

Kumamoto and other southwestern prefectures on Monday marked one month since the second of two massive earthquakes struck the region in quick succession, leaving a total of 49 people dead. The second quake, believed to be the main temblor, registered magnitude 7.3 and came just two days after a magnitude-6.5 jolt that initially left nine …

Cracks appear in media’s view of disasters

May 14, 2016

Cracks appear in media’s view of disasters

by Philip Brasor

The Great East Japan Earthquake was Japan’s first major natural disaster since the rise of social media, and emergency planning outfits have been studying the data from March 11, 2011, in order better use SNS to save lives and help survivors. Online activities related to the current seismic activity in Kyushu have provided more information. …

May 12, 2016

East Asian Football Federation to support Kumamoto earthquake relief efforts

The East Asian Football Federation will donate $20,000 to the Kumamoto Football Association to aid recovery efforts following the recent earthquakes that have rocked Kumamoto and surrounding areas in Kyushu, Japan Football Association president Kozo Tashima said Wednesday. Tashima, an executive board member of soccer’s world governing body FIFA, said the Asian Football Confederation and …

May 11, 2016

Emperor, Empress may visit quake-hit Kyushu next week

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Kumamoto Prefecture as early as next week to meet residents affected by the major earthquakes that struck central Kyushu last month, a source close to the matter said Wednesday. With aftershocks persisting and the Imperial Couple scheduled to attend spring decoration events until May 18, a one-day visit …

Quake damage makes rice planting in Kumamoto all but impossible

May 11, 2016

Quake damage makes rice planting in Kumamoto all but impossible

Damage to rice paddies in quake-hit Kumamoto Prefecture has left many rice farmers unable to plant seedlings this spring. The string of earthquakes that rocked the prefecture have left a trail of devastation in their wake, including cracks that have been confirmed in at least 1,574 places in paddies within Kumamoto. Most damage has been …

Quakes take extensive toll on cultural assets in Kyushu

May 10, 2016

Quakes take extensive toll on cultural assets in Kyushu

A total of 361 nationally and locally designated cultural properties have been damaged by the deadly earthquakes in Kyushu, local officials said Tuesday, warning that aftershocks could cause further damage. The damaged sites include Kumamoto Castle, a major tourist draw, and a school building built in the late 19th century. Both are in Kumamoto Prefecture. …

May 10, 2016

Home demolitions slow-going in quake-hit Kumamoto amid financial strains

Work to demolish destroyed and heavily damaged homes has been slow in Kumamoto Prefecture since the recent strong earthquakes. With local governments putting priority on reopening schools and operating evacuation facilities, some people affected by the quakes are considering handling demolition work for their houses by themselves instead of waiting for municipalities to undertake it. …

May 9, 2016

Key hospital in Minamiaso to close as quake damage blocks access

The only hospital that can offer in-patient emergency care in the village of Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture, is set to close because of quake damage to local roads. Aso Tateno Hospital, situated in the heavily damaged Tateno district, is the village’s only hospital designated as a center for medical emergencies. Also, it the only one with …

Kumamoto school system getting back on its feet

May 9, 2016

Kumamoto school system getting back on its feet

Several public schools resumed classes Monday in parts of Kumamoto hit hardest by twin quakes last month. The rest are set to reopen by midweek. A total of 62 public elementary and junior high schools in Mashiki, Minamiaso and six other municipalities in the prefecture resumed classes Monday, while 111 others, including high schools and …

May 9, 2016

Kumamoto to close smaller quake shelters with eye to reopening schools

The city of Kumamoto, hit by deadly earthquakes in April, will start closing some shelters and ask about 2,000 of their occupants to move to different ones with better living conditions, city officials said Sunday. Kumamoto, where some 5,200 people are still taking refuge and 160 shelters have been set up, plans to ask evacuees …

Nagano student first to play violin made partly from ‘miracle pine’

May 8, 2016

Nagano student first to play violin made partly from ‘miracle pine’

A Nagano high school student has become the first person to play a new violin partially made from the symbolic “miracle pine” that survived the March 2011 tsunami. “I was thinking of those who have suffered from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Kumamoto earthquake,” said Rika Nishizawa after playing the instrument Saturday at …

May 7, 2016

Rising temperatures pose health risks for evacuees in quake-hit Kumamoto

With rising, summerlike temperatures setting in, authorities are warning of heatstroke and food poisoning in Kumamoto Prefecture and nearby areas in the Kyushu region, where some 14,000 evacuees still remain following a series of strong earthquakes last month. On Friday afternoon, at least 31 people at an elementary school shelter in the city of Kumamoto …

May 6, 2016

Elder-care facilities swamped by quake evacuees in Kumamoto

Facilities that care for senior citizens are finding it difficult to stay open in areas damaged by the strong earthquakes in Kyushu last month. Most of the facilities are running at full capacity after taking in waves of people fleeing devastated homes. Such of them are also being used as evacuation centers for younger people, …

May 6, 2016

Abe unlikely to call double election, says LDP vice president

The vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Friday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to dissolve the Lower House for a rare double election in sync with the Upper House poll this summer, citing last month’s deadly earthquakes in Kyushu. “I think we can trust the prime minister’s words that he …

Quake support scarce for people with autism, other disorders

May 6, 2016

Quake support scarce for people with autism, other disorders

People with developmental disorders such as autism tend to suffer more during disasters, and the Kumamoto Earthquake is no exception. Since the fatal quakes last month, families with such children have been avoiding public shelters out of fear that their youngsters might have problems coping. Despite the chance of more quakes, they often have no …

Kids rejoice as bear mascot Kumamon makes first appearance since quakes

May 6, 2016

Kids rejoice as bear mascot Kumamon makes first appearance since quakes

Some children in the quake-hit town of Mashiki were happy to see Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular black bear mascot Kumamon on Thursday after its first public appearance since the deadly April 14 earthquake. At around 2 p.m., Kumamon appeared at the town’s convention hall, where many families are keeping their cars to sleep in as aftershocks …

Toyota plant shutdowns due to quakes end as production of key parts resumes

May 6, 2016

Toyota plant shutdowns due to quakes end as production of key parts resumes

Toyota Motor Corp. resumed production Friday at its domestic assembly plants that had remained idle since a series of strong earthquakes in southwestern Japan in mid-April disrupted parts supplies, company officials said. The resumption means that all of the automaker’s 30 vehicle assembly lines in the country are now back in operation three weeks after …

Quake-hit Kumamoto to put Kumamon mascot back into action soon

May 4, 2016

Quake-hit Kumamoto to put Kumamon mascot back into action soon

The prefectural government of Kumamoto has decided to allow Kumamon, its hugely popular black bear mascot that has remained unseen in public settings since massive earthquakes jolted the area, to make a comeback on Thursday at the request of fans and the local sightseeing industry, officials said Wednesday. Among the first assignments to be given …

May 4, 2016

500 high school students having difficulty getting to school in Kumamoto

Some 500 high school students in Kumamoto Prefecture are facing difficulty commuting to school as roads and railways have been severed by a series of powerful earthquakes and a massive landslide in the village of Minamiaso, sources said Wednesday. According to the prefectural education board and other sources, some 300 students at 15 public high …

May 3, 2016

80% of Kumamoto schools to resume classes Tuesday after quakes

About 80 percent of public schools in Kumamoto Prefecture will have resumed classes by May 10 after their buildings were damaged or used as evacuation centers after last month’s powerful earthquakes, local authorities said Tuesday. Of the 401 elementary, junior high and high schools as well as other educational facilities in Kumamoto, classes will be …

Mental support for kids begins in quake-hit Kumamoto

May 3, 2016

Mental support for kids begins in quake-hit Kumamoto

Schools in Kumamoto Prefecture have begun offering psychological support to children affected by the series of strong earthquakes in parts of central Kyushu last month. On Monday, the education board of the city of Kumamoto distributed to all city-run elementary and junior high schools a video lecture by a clinical psychologist on psychological care for …

Handful of schools reopen in Kumamoto as rescue efforts wind down

May 2, 2016

Handful of schools reopen in Kumamoto as rescue efforts wind down

Twenty-three municipal elementary and junior high schools in quake-struck Kumamoto resumed classes Monday for the first time in 18 days after another elementary school reopened last Wednesday. The city hopes to restart classes at 118 other schools and kindergartens on May 10, after the Golden Week holidays end. Some schools could see delays. At Jonan …

Kumamoto garden’s spring-fed pond dries up

May 2, 2016

Kumamoto garden’s spring-fed pond dries up

A traditional garden in Kumamoto landscaped around a spring-fed pond has mostly dried up since earthquakes started rocking Kyushu in April. The park, Suizenji Jojuen, has been closed since April 16, when the first quake that struck Kumamoto caused a large stone gateway to collapse. The park will reopen on May 16, but its operators …

Disaster casualty certificates slowed by staff shortages in Kumamoto

May 1, 2016

Disaster casualty certificates slowed by staff shortages in Kumamoto

The issuance of disaster victim certificates in Kumamoto Prefecture is being slowed by staffing shortages at various municipalities. The certificates are needed to receive financial support for housing in quake-hit areas. Since the first quake struck on April 14, the capital has received nearly 27,000 applications for the certificate. As of Friday, however, on-site examinations …

Foreign volunteers helping to rebuild lives in Kumamoto

May 1, 2016

Foreign volunteers helping to rebuild lives in Kumamoto

by Shaun O'dwyer

The truth is, as many volunteers are needed as can help the many homeowners who want possessions recovered from destroyed homes, or who need trash and heavy broken appliances pulled out of their otherwise intact dwellings.

In quake-prone Japan, Kumamoto temblors stir worry of ‘Tokyo X Day’

Apr 29, 2016

In quake-prone Japan, Kumamoto temblors stir worry of ‘Tokyo X Day’

by Finbarr Flynn and Katsuyo Kuwako

There’s nothing comical about this manga: office building windows shatter, trains derail and cars plunge from buckling bridges. It all happens at 4:35 p.m. on a day dubbed “Tokyo’s X Day.” This catastrophic scenario is depicted in a 300-page book on earthquake preparedness published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The book, which includes tips on …

Sony reports quarterly loss, delays forecast to assess quake damage

Apr 28, 2016

Sony reports quarterly loss, delays forecast to assess quake damage

Sony Corp. reported a fourth-quarter loss after booking a charge against its chip business and delayed giving a full-year forecast to assess damage from an earthquake that shut its main plant for camera sensors. The net loss was ¥88.3 billion in the quarter ended March, the Tokyo-based company said Thursday. Sony, which also recorded its …

Apr 28, 2016

Toyota assembly lines to be back up to speed on May 6 after quake hiatus

Toyota Motor Corp. has said its Japanese plants will restore full vehicle production on May 6 after disruptions caused by the recent earthquakes in Kyushu. Toyota suspended operations at as many as 15 domestic assembly plants on April 18 amid a shortage of door and engine parts. The quakes damaged plants run by supplier Aisin …

NHK chairman’s order to follow government line on Kyushu nuclear reactors sparks outcry

Apr 27, 2016

NHK chairman’s order to follow government line on Kyushu nuclear reactors sparks outcry

by Tomohiro Osaki

Outspoken NHK Chairman Katsuto Momii has found himself once again mired in controversy after news leaked he gave instructions that the public broadcaster should stick to the official government line when reporting on the nuclear reactor situation in quake-hit Kyushu. Momii later tried to defend the policy, saying it was aimed at preventing confusion among …

Kumamoto farms, forestry suffered ¥23.6 billion damage in quakes

Apr 27, 2016

Kumamoto farms, forestry suffered ¥23.6 billion damage in quakes

The twin quakes that slammed Kyushu this month caused at least ¥23.6 billion of damage to agricultural and forestry businesses in Kumamoto Prefecture, the local government said Tuesday. And that is not counting damage in the worst-hit areas, which the prefectural government has yet to survey. Likewise, it has been unable yet to put a …

Apr 27, 2016

Cabinet to allocate funds for reconstruction in Kyushu

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday his Cabinet will approve a supplementary budget next month to help Kyushu overcome the damage caused by twin earthquakes this month. Abe told a meeting with business leaders from Kyushu that the Cabinet aims to approve the budget and submit it to the Diet on May 13. Part of …

Kumamoto’s Kumamon muscles in on quake fundraising

Apr 27, 2016

Kumamoto’s Kumamon muscles in on quake fundraising

Prefectures hit by the recent quakes in Kyushu are relaxing controls on their popular mascots so that businesses and public sector entities can use them to raise funds for the victims. Kumamon, a black bear with rosy cheeks that promotes Kumamoto Prefecture, is in strong demand and fundraisers are being invited to use its image …

Apr 26, 2016

Government prepares to build 3,000 temporary homes for Kyushu evacuees

The government has access to enough materials to build about 3,000 temporary housing units for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the Kyushu earthquakes, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday. Taro Kono, minister in charge of disaster management, made the announcement at a Diet meeting. Tens of thousands of evacuees in Kumamoto Prefecture remain …

U.S. Ospreys getting positive PR in Japan quake relief role

Apr 26, 2016

U.S. Ospreys getting positive PR in Japan quake relief role

The U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey aircraft has been a lightning rod for opposition to U.S. bases in Japan since 24 of them were deployed to Okinawa in 2014. By sending eight of the tilt-rotor Ospreys to help with relief efforts for survivors of the recent earthquakes in Kyushu, both U.S. and Japanese military planners have …

Nearly two-thirds of Kumamoto schools remain closed after quakes

Apr 25, 2016

Nearly two-thirds of Kumamoto schools remain closed after quakes

Nearly two-thirds of educational facilities in Kumamoto Prefecture remained closed Monday due to physical damage or because they are being used as evacuation centers following the powerful earthquakes earlier this month, local officials said. Of the 609 preschools, elementary, junior high and high schools and special schools in Kumamoto Prefecture, 391 were closed, affecting an …

Apr 25, 2016

Emergency subsidies OK’d for rebuilding in quake-hit Kyushu

The government on Monday designated the series of powerful earthquakes that have rocked Kyushu as a disaster of “extreme severity,” paving the way for affected communities to receive increased subsidies for recovery efforts. The designation allows the central government to offer additional financial assistance to disaster-hit municipalities for rebuilding infrastructure such as roads and riverbanks …

Apr 25, 2016

Toyota resumes some assembly lines in wake of quakes

Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday restarted auto assembly lines at four plants in Japan that were suspended after the earthquakes in Kyushu led to parts shortages. It is the first time the automaker has restarted plant operations discontinued since a series of strong earthquakes hit Kumamoto and Oita prefectures earlier in the month. The four …

Volunteers advised to do their homework before going to Kumamoto

Apr 24, 2016

Volunteers advised to do their homework before going to Kumamoto

As public interest in volunteering to help quake-hit Kyushu surges ahead of this week’s Golden Week holidays, experts are advising those planning to take the plunge to do their homework first. For instance, many may not know it, but volunteers are expected to find their own accommodations. And in some areas, volunteers are accepted only …

Apr 24, 2016

Neighboring prefectures send disaster specialists to quake-hit Kumamoto

Other areas in Japan with extensive experience in dealing with natural disasters have dispatched personnel to Kumamoto to help the prefecture cope with the deadly earthquakes that struck Kyushu. Officials with expertise are helping to manage shelters for displaced residents and to dispose of the extensive rubble, among other work, in the disaster-hit areas. The …

Thai artists hold charity concert for quake victims in Japan, Ecuador

Apr 24, 2016

Thai artists hold charity concert for quake victims in Japan, Ecuador

More than 50 Thai artists performed at a charity concert in Bangkok on Saturday to raise funds for earthquake victims in Japan and Ecuador. The Sing for Friends event was organized by actor Chanon Rikulsurakan, who recently spent about a month filming a movie in quake-hit Kumamoto Prefecture. “I decided to hold the charity concert …

Zoo animals to be evacuated from quake-hit Kumamoto

Apr 22, 2016

Zoo animals to be evacuated from quake-hit Kumamoto

Carnivores at a zoo in Kumamoto Prefecture, which has been hit hard by a series of powerful earthquakes since last week, are set to take shelter at zoos in nearby prefectures. Cages at Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens were damaged by the earthquakes, causing concerns over ways to secure the safety of nearby residents …

Japan’s quake-affected homeowners face tense wait for safety inspections

Apr 22, 2016

Japan’s quake-affected homeowners face tense wait for safety inspections

A bright red paper with the word kiken (dangerous) printed in bold black letters is posted at the entrance of a house in the quake-hit town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, where 5,400 structures — half of the town’s buildings — have been damaged. Handwritten below is a warning that the house may collapse since its …

Apr 22, 2016

Looters ransack empty homes and an inn after Kumamoto quake

In the aftermath of the powerful earthquakes that struck Kyushu, evacuated homes and other buildings have fallen prey to burglars, officials of the National Police Agency said Thursday. With as many as 89,000 people still taking shelter at evacuation facilities in Kumamoto Prefecture amid ongoing aftershocks, protecting evacuees’ property is one of the challenges in …

Apr 22, 2016

Kumamoto sets up shelter for quake-affected foreign nationals

Following the recent series of strong earthquakes in Kyushu, the Kumamoto Municipal Government has set up a shelter for foreign nationals that can offer related information about the disaster in English, Korean and Chinese. The shelter, created at the Kumamoto City International Center in Chuo Ward, is providing disaster-related information in several foreign languages. Visitors …

‘Hometown donation’ system emerges as effective way to help quake victims

Apr 21, 2016

‘Hometown donation’ system emerges as effective way to help quake victims

by Tomoko Otake

Amid a flurry of fundraising and charity projects launched in the wake of last week’s deadly earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures, the “hometown tax donation system” is gaining attention as a way of getting money directly to affected municipalities. The hometown tax donation system (furusato nozei) is a way for individuals to donate to …

‘Impossible to remain standing': Japan’s earthquake intensity scale

Apr 21, 2016

‘Impossible to remain standing': Japan’s earthquake intensity scale

On April 15, the day after the first earthquake struck Kyushu, all of the nation’s major newspapers carried the same headline: “Shindo 7 in Kumamoto.” No further explanation was needed. When Japan’s earthquake-battered populace feels the ground shake, it looks to its TVs and Twitter feeds to check not only the magnitude, but the shindo, …

Apr 21, 2016

Long after earthquakes, memories can trigger dizziness: expert

Amid a series of aftershocks in Kyushu after deadly earthquakes struck Kumamoto Prefecture last week, experts warn strong tremors may cause dizziness, as the March 2011 earthquake did among survivors. To maintain a sense of balance, the human brain processes information from the skin, muscles, eyes and ears, according to Yasuyuki Nomura, a professor specializing …

Kumamoto ramen chain serves up bowls for evacuees

Apr 21, 2016

Kumamoto ramen chain serves up bowls for evacuees

About 1,000 people formed long lines in the cold night air Monday at a shelter in the quake-hit town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, to get a warm bowl of ramen noodles. “Thank you,” one evacuee said with a smile. Another said: “This will keep me going.” The ramen noodles were donated by Kumamoto-based Shigemitsu Industry …

Apr 20, 2016

Japan Olympic soccer team to face Ghana in charity match for Kyushu relief efforts

Japan’s Rio Olympic-bound Under-23s will play against Ghana’s senior national team in an international charity match to support relief efforts following the series of earthquakes that have rocked Kumamoto and its surrounding areas in the southwestern Kyushu region, the Japan Football Association said Wednesday. The match will be held on May 11 at Best Amenity …

Concerns raised over support services for disabled earthquake evacuees

Apr 20, 2016

Concerns raised over support services for disabled earthquake evacuees

Nearly a week after the first deadly earthquake hit central Kumamoto, concerns are rising that evacuees with disabilities or ailments are not getting the support they need. “These people should be separated from the healthy ones, because a person with a cane cannot walk quickly enough to pick up rationed rice balls, for example,” said …

Dispatches from the Kumamoto quake zone

Apr 20, 2016

Dispatches from the Kumamoto quake zone

by Sean Michael Wilson, Noel Vincent, Daisuke Kikuchi and Liam Nolan

Personal accounts relate tales of kindness and resilience after the initial confusion and panic of last week's deadly temblors.

Quake-hit areas in Kumamoto give green light to volunteers

Apr 20, 2016

Quake-hit areas in Kumamoto give green light to volunteers

The social welfare council in the town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, which was heavily damaged by one of last week’s earthquakes, announced Wednesday that they will start accepting volunteers from Thursday to sort out relief supplies and provide other support to evacuees. Any volunteers should provide their own meals and lodging. Details are available on …

Apr 20, 2016

Kyushu quakes hit region’s tourism sector

Tourism officials are increasingly concerned that a recent series of powerful earthquakes that have rattled central Kyushu could affect visitor numbers to the region. Although the latest tourism data released Wednesday by the Japan Tourism Agency showed a continued rise in the number of foreign tourists arriving in March, the Kumamoto earthquakes will likely hit …

Apr 20, 2016

Quakes seen to all but rule out possibility of double election for Abe

by Reiji Yoshida

Aftershocks from the deadly twin earthquakes that rocked the Kyushu region have sent shock waves all the way to Tokyo’s Nagata-cho, the political heart of Japan. The still-unfolding disasters have prompted numerous politicians to speculate that any attempt by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to dissolve the Lower House for a double election is unlikely. An …

Ginza Kumamoto-kan ‘antenna shop’ logs record sales for disaster-hit prefecture

Apr 20, 2016

Ginza Kumamoto-kan ‘antenna shop’ logs record sales for disaster-hit prefecture

by Mizuho Aoki

As a series of aftershocks continued to rattle Kumamoto Prefecture on Wednesday, swarms of people turned up at an outlet run by its government in Tokyo’s Ginza district, hoping to support the disaster-hit region by purchasing local specialties. Such outlets operated by local governments are called “antenna shops,” and a number of them promote and …

Apr 20, 2016

Multilingual call center offers free interpretation service in Kyushu quake-hit areas

Multiple language call center operator BeBorn Co. has started a free telephone interpretation service to help people who do not speak Japanese in Kumamoto Prefecture and other earthquake-affected areas in Kyushu. The three-way interpretation service, offered as part of corporate social contributions by the Fukuoka-based company, is intended to assist municipal employees, volunteer staff at …

Animal hospital in Kumamoto was prepared to house people, pets after a disaster

Apr 20, 2016

Animal hospital in Kumamoto was prepared to house people, pets after a disaster

by Daisuke Kikuchi

As evacuees with pets in quake-hit Kumamoto Prefecture shy away or are even banned from moving into evacuation shelters following last week’s deadly earthquakes, Ryunosuke Animal Hospital in the city of Kumamoto has opened its doors to pets and their owners. The facility has enough space to accommodate over 200 people at one time, and …

Apr 19, 2016

After quakes, Japan is expected to delay TPP approval

The Diet is expected to defer ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact until after the current legislative session, as the government is giving top priority to responding to the powerful earthquakes in Kyushu.

Apr 19, 2016

China’s Xi sets aside usual rancor to express sympathy over Japan quakes

Putting aside the usual rancor between China and Japan, President Xi Jinping has sent a message of condolence to Emperor Akihito over the series of earthquakes that have hit Japan. Xi said he was shocked by the news of the quakes, China’s Foreign Ministry said late Monday. The temblors caused heavy loss of life and …

Apr 19, 2016

Kumamoto Prison opens doors to quake evacuees according to plan

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Kumamoto Prison in the city of Kumamoto was housing 110 earthquake survivors in part of its facility as of Tuesday morning. It is the first case anywhere in the nation of a prison acting on a plan to open its doors to disaster evacuees. Because the facility has sufficient food reserves and independent supplies of …

Apr 19, 2016

Use of Ospreys for Japan disaster relief draws mixed reaction

The unprecedented use of U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft for disaster relief operations drew a mixed response from people in quake-hit Kyushu amid concern over the safety of the tilt-rotor aircraft. “I feel Ospreys are accident-prone. If an earthquake and accident happen at the same time, it will be far from helping,” said Susumu Hirose, …

Beloved mascot Kumamon’s absence since quakes spurs Japan Twitter traffic

Apr 19, 2016

Beloved mascot Kumamon’s absence since quakes spurs Japan Twitter traffic

by Shoko Oda

Kumamoto mascot Kumamon has been missing in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquakes in Kyushu, spurring concern on social media for its safety as well as criticism for the prefectural government’s failure to use the furry animal’s network to share information. Kumamon is a round-faced bear about 1.5 meters tall tasked with promoting tourism …

Civilian flights resume to Kumamoto, but damaged terminal makes travel one-way

Apr 19, 2016

Civilian flights resume to Kumamoto, but damaged terminal makes travel one-way

Kumamoto Airport in quake-stricken Kyushu reopened Tuesday to commercial flights, but it is unable to offer security checks and baggage handling, so planes are leaving empty. A total of 18 arrivals were scheduled for Tuesday, including three Japan Airlines flights from Tokyo and Osaka, and 12 All Nippon Airways flights from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. …

U.S. Ospreys fly in relief as multiquake-hit Kumamoto rocks to new M5.8 aftershock

Apr 19, 2016

U.S. Ospreys fly in relief as multiquake-hit Kumamoto rocks to new M5.8 aftershock

About 100,000 evacuees, some sleeping outdoors or in their cars, endured chilly weather Tuesday and another large aftershock as the death toll from Japan’s twin earthquakes rose to 44. Searchers digging through landslide and building debris in a mountainous area found two bodies Monday. At least one appeared to be among the nine reported missing, …

Questions and answers: The Kumamoto earthquakes

Apr 18, 2016

Questions and answers: The Kumamoto earthquakes

by Tomoko Otake, Mizuho Aoki and Reiji Yoshida

The series of huge earthquakes and aftershocks that have been rattling wide parts of Kumamoto and Oita prefectures since Thursday have raised fears that other regions in the nation might be struck by similar jolts in the near future. Here are some questions and answers on seismic activity in Japan: What type of earthquakes struck …

Embassies working to help non-Japanese quake survivors

Apr 18, 2016

Embassies working to help non-Japanese quake survivors

by Daisuke Kikuchi and Magdalena Osumi

Foreign embassies and other diplomatic missions were arranging transportation and offering advice for non-Japanese people affected by the recent Kyushu earthquakes as local officials struggled to get a handle on their situation. “We are trying to reach municipalities to find out the numbers of non-Japanese evacuees,” said a spokesman in the international division of the …

Apr 18, 2016

Firms affected by Kyushu earthquakes

Below is a list of key companies affected by the Kyushu earthquakes and the status of their facilities as reported by Reuters and other media. Sony Corp. halted production of image sensors at its plant in Kumamoto. It is inspecting the plant and does not have a timeline for resuming production yet. It resumed full …

Apr 18, 2016

Abe flags supplementary budget as business responds to Kyushu quakes

As bureaucrats and business executives attempt to gauge the economic cost of the quakes in Kyushu, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday raised the possibility of rapidly compiling a supplementary budget to render assistance to the area. “The government would like to take every necessary measure” to assist quake-hit areas centering on Kumamoto and Oita …

Tohoku, Kobe and other areas hit by past quakes quick to send aid to Kumamoto

Apr 18, 2016

Tohoku, Kobe and other areas hit by past quakes quick to send aid to Kumamoto

Communities that have experienced strong earthquakes or floods in recent years, ranging from the Tohoku region to Niigata to Kobe, are taking quick action to support Kumamoto Prefecture and its surrounding areas hit by devastating temblors since Thursday night. The communities want to lend a helping hand not only with supplies but also know-how based …

Baseball pauses to reflect on Kyushu earthquakes

Apr 18, 2016

Baseball pauses to reflect on Kyushu earthquakes

by Jason Coskrey

Seiichi Uchikawa had to pause during his hero interview Friday night following the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ victory over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. A rush of emotions had left the Hawks captain searching for words, as tears welled up in his eyes while he answered a question about the situation in Kumamoto Prefecture, where a …

Desperate race on to find Kyushu earthquake survivors; death toll at 42

Apr 17, 2016

Desperate race on to find Kyushu earthquake survivors; death toll at 42

Search and rescue operations intensified in Kyushu on Sunday and a 61-year-old woman was found dead, which brought the death toll from the twin earthquakes that hit last week to 42. According to police, about 11 people are still missing, and thousands of rescuers continued their searches for them and other people possibly buried alive …

Apr 17, 2016

Ferries to be used to provide accommodation for quake-displaced people

The government plans to use ferries as accommodations for evacuees following the series of strong earthquakes in Kyushu, land and transport minister Kei­i­chi Ishii said. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is working to make two vessels available for the evacuees as “hotel ships,” Ishida told a group of reporters Sunday at the …

Apr 17, 2016

Manufacturers jolted into production line suspensions by Kyushu quakes

Toyota Motor Corp. said Sunday it will shut down vehicle assembly in Japan over the course of this week because of parts shortages stemming from the two strong earthquakes in Kyushu. The world’s biggest automaker posted the announcement on its website Sunday. The shutdown will begin on Monday at a factory in Kyushu and progress …

In pictures: After the Kumamoto quakes

Apr 17, 2016

In pictures: After the Kumamoto quakes

What was thought to be the strongest quake in Kyushu, registering the maximum intensity on the Japanese shindo seismic scale, turned out to be a preshock of the earthquake that rocked Kumamoto on Saturday morning. The magnitude-7.3 quake and continuous series of aftershocks triggered a number of landslides as well as the collapse and cracking of …

Rescued residents recount horror of being buried alive

Apr 17, 2016

Rescued residents recount horror of being buried alive

People rescued from collapsed houses and other buildings Saturday described the terror they felt after barely escaping Kumamoto’s second deadly quake in less than 48 hours. “The house started to shake, so I grabbed my cell phone and was about to run when it came down,” said Fumio Iwamoto, 54, who managed to survive in …

Southampton defender Yoshida offers to help quake victims

Apr 17, 2016

Southampton defender Yoshida offers to help quake victims

Southampton’s Japan international defender Maya Yoshida on Saturday offered his support to the victims of the series of powerful earthquakes that have rocked his native Kyushu over the past few days. Speaking after Southampton’s 1-1 draw away to Everton in the Premier League, Yoshida, who hails from Nagasaki Prefecture, said, “I want to take action …

Apr 17, 2016

Quake-hit Kyushu draws aid offers, condolences from abroad

Kyushu is receiving aid offers and condolence statements from abroad as it scrambles to rescue survivors and repair lifelines in the wake of two large earthquakes. “We stand ready to provide any and all assistance that the Japanese government may require,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a news conference Friday. The United …

Kumamoto quake info: where to go, how to help

Apr 17, 2016

Kumamoto quake info: where to go, how to help

Starting with a magnitude-6.5 quake on April 14, a series of major earthquakes have hit the central Kumamoto area of Japan, causing deaths, injuries and widespread damage to the area’s residences and infrastructure. As aftershocks continue, tens of thousands of people have moved into evacuation centers which are doing their best to support the evacuees’ …

Big temblors no surprise to experts

Apr 16, 2016

Big temblors no surprise to experts

by Ayako Mie

Some seismologists said they were not surprised by the disaster, saying evidence suggested the writing was on the wall, although they didn’t know exactly when it would happen.

Eyewitnesses to Kumamoto quakes on social media

Apr 16, 2016

Eyewitnesses to Kumamoto quakes on social media

The strongest quake in Japan since March 2011, registering 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, shook Kumamoto Prefecture on the evening of April 14 with another major quake striking in the early hours of April 16. Here is a selection of reactions and reports on social media.

Kumamoto international center offering shelter, translation services for foreigners

Apr 16, 2016

Kumamoto international center offering shelter, translation services for foreigners

by Reiji Yoshida

Kumamoto City International Center in the city of Kumamoto is offering shelter for non-Japanese residents affected by the current series of earthquakes, with multilingual translators available there to help. The center, located in Chuo Ward, has made English-, Korean- and Chinese-language interpreters available, and visitors can make use of translation services in other languages via …

Second strong quake rocks Kumamoto area, killing at least 19

Apr 16, 2016

Second strong quake rocks Kumamoto area, killing at least 19

A magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Kumamoto Prefecture early Saturday, killing at least 19 more people and bringing the total number of deaths since Thursday evening to 28. Scores have been injured and many buildings have been damaged or totally destroyed. As reports came in of people trapped in collapsed buildings, fires and power outages, authorities warned …

Apr 16, 2016

Small eruption seen on Mount Aso after latest quakes

A small eruption occurred at Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture on Saturday around 8:30 a.m. local time following a strong earthquake in the area, with smoke rising about 100 meters (300 feet) high, public broadcaster NHK reported. The Japanese Meteorological Agency kept its alert level at 2 on a scale of 5 for Aso, which …

Apr 15, 2016

Toyota, Honda suspend plants rattled by Kumamoto quake

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. were among companies that suspended operations Friday after a powerful earthquake struck Kyushu, damaging factories and supply chains. Flights and trains were also disrupted after the magnitude-6.5 quake, which struck at around 9:26 p.m. on Thursday. Companies operating in the region scrambled to grasp the extent of damage …

Strongest earthquake since 2011 strikes Kumamoto area

Apr 15, 2016

Strongest earthquake since 2011 strikes Kumamoto area

At least two people were killed and 45 injured by a magnitude-6.5 earthquake that knocked down houses and buckled roads in Kyushu on Thursday night. The temblor logged a 7, the highest level on the Japanese intensity scale. Both victims are from the hardest-hit town of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, about 15 km (9 miles) east …