Case Study Japan Earthquake 2011 Wikipedia France

"2011 Miyagi earthquake" redirects here. For the aftershock that occurred on 7 April, see April 2011 Miyagi earthquake.

"Japan tsunami" redirects here. For other earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, see List of earthquakes in Japan.

An aerial view of the Sendai region with black smoke coming from the Nippon Oil refinery



Date11 March 2011; 6 years ago (2011-03-11)
Origin time14:46:24 JST (UTC+09:00)
Duration6 minutes
Magnitude9.0–9.1 (Mw)
Depth29 km (18 mi)
Epicenter38°19′19″N142°22′08″E / 38.322°N 142.369°E / 38.322; 142.369Coordinates: 38°19′19″N142°22′08″E / 38.322°N 142.369°E / 38.322; 142.369
Areas affectedJapan (shaking, tsunami)
Pacific Rim (tsunami)
Total damage$360 billion USD
Max. intensityIX (Violent)
Peak acceleration2.99 g
Peak velocity117.41 cm/s
TsunamiUp to 40.5 m (133 ft)
in Miyako, Iwate, Tōhoku
ForeshocksList of foreshocks and aftershocks of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake
Aftershocks11,450 (as of 3 March 2015)
Casualties15,894 deaths,[1]
6,156 injured,[2]
2,546 people missing[3]

The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku(東北地方太平洋沖地震,Tōhoku-chihō Taiheiyō Oki Jishin) was a magnitude 9.0–9.1 (Mw) underseamegathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday 11 March 2011,[4][9][10] with the epicentre approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku and the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 29 km (18 mi).[4][11] The earthquake is often referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake(東日本大震災,Higashi nihon daishinsai)[12][13][fn 1] and is also known as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake,[28] and the 3.11 earthquake. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.[10][29][30] The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture,[31][32] and which, in the Sendai area, traveled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.[33] The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 2.4 m (8 ft) east, shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in),[34][35][36] increased earth's rotational speed by 1.8µs per day,[37] and generated infrasound waves detected in perturbations of the low-orbiting GOCE satellite.[38] Initially, the earthquake caused sinking of part of Honshu's Pacific coast by up to roughly a metre, but after about three years, the coast rose back and kept on rising to exceed the original height of the coast.[39][40][41][42]

The latest report from the Japanese National Police Agency report confirms 15,894 deaths,[43] 6,156 injured,[44] and 2,546 people missing[45] across twenty prefectures, and a report from 2015 indicated 228,863 people were still living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation.[46] A 10 February 2014 agency report listed 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings "half collapsed", and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged.[47] The earthquake and tsunami also caused extensive and severe structural damage in north-eastern Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse.[33][48]Japanese Prime MinisterNaoto Kan said, "In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan."[49] Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.[50]

The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.[51][52] Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen gas that had built up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure resulting from the loss of electrical power. Residents within a 20 km (12 mi) radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and a 10 km (6.2 mi) radius of the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant were evacuated.

Early estimates placed insured losses from the earthquake alone at US$14.5 to $34.6 billion.[53] The Bank of Japan offered ¥15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system on 14 March in an effort to normalize market conditions.[54] The World Bank's estimated economic cost was US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in history.[55][56]


The 9.1-magnitude (Mw) underseamegathrust earthquake occurred on 11 March 2011 at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) in the north-western Pacific Ocean at a relatively shallow depth of 32 km (20 mi),[4][57] with its epicenter approximately 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, Japan, lasting approximately six minutes.[5][4] The earthquake was initially reported as 7.9 Mw by the USGS before it was quickly upgraded to 8.8 Mw, then to 8.9 Mw,[58] and then finally to 9.0 Mw.[9][59] On 11 July 2016, the USGS further upgraded the earthquake to 9.1. Sendai was the nearest major city to the earthquake, 130 km (81 mi) from the epicenter; the earthquake occurred 373 km (232 mi) from Tokyo.[4]

The main earthquake was preceded by a number of large foreshocks, with hundreds of aftershocks reported. One of the first major foreshocks was a 7.2 Mw event on 9 March, approximately 40 km (25 mi) from the epicenter of 11 March earthquake, with another three on the same day in excess of 6.0 Mw.[4][60] Following the main earthquake on 11 March, a 7.4 Mw aftershock was reported at 15:08 JST (6:06 UTC), succeeded by a 7.9 Mw at 15:15 JST (6:16 UTC) and a 7.7 Mw at 15:26 JST (6:26 UTC).[61] Over eight hundred aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 Mw or greater have occurred since the initial quake,[62] including one on 26 October 2013 (local time) of magnitude 7.1 Mw.[63] Aftershocks follow Omori's law, which states that the rate of aftershocks declines with the reciprocal of the time since the main quake. The aftershocks will thus taper off in time, but could continue for years.[64]


This megathrust earthquake was a recurrence of the mechanism of the earlier 869 Sanriku earthquake, which has been estimated as having a magnitude of at least 8.4 Mw, which also created a large tsunami that inundated the Sendai plain.[65][66] Three tsunami deposits have been identified within the Holocene sequence of the plain, all formed within the last 3,000 years, suggesting an 800 to 1,100 year recurrence interval for large tsunamigenic earthquakes. In 2001 it was reckoned that there was a high likelihood of a large tsunami hitting the Sendai plain as more than 1,100 years had then elapsed.[67] In 2007, the probability of an earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 8.1–8.3 was estimated as 99% within the following 30 years.[68]

This earthquake occurred where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the plate beneath northern Honshu.[35][69] The Pacific plate, which moves at a rate of 8 to 9 cm (3.1 to 3.5 in) per year, dips under Honshu's underlying plate building large amounts of elastic energy. This motion pushes the upper plate down until the accumulated stress causes a seismic slip-rupture event. The break caused the sea floor to rise by several metres.[69] A quake of this magnitude usually has a rupture length of at least 500 km (310 mi) and generally requires a long, relatively straight fault surface. Because the plate boundary and subduction zone in the area of the Honshu rupture is not very straight, it is unusual for the magnitude of its earthquake to exceed 8.5 Mw; the magnitude of this earthquake was a surprise to some seismologists.[70] The hypocentral region of this earthquake extended from offshore Iwate Prefecture to offshore Ibaraki Prefecture.[71] The Japanese Meteorological Agency said that the earthquake may have ruptured the fault zone from Iwate to Ibaraki with a length of 500 km (310 mi) and a width of 200 km (120 mi).[72][73] Analysis showed that this earthquake consisted of a set of three events.[74] Other major earthquakes with tsunamis struck the Sanriku Coast region in 1896 and in 1933.

The source area of this earthquake has a relatively high coupling coefficient surrounded by areas of relatively low coupling coefficients in the west, north, and south. From the averaged coupling coefficient of 0.5–0.8 in the source area and the seismic moment, it was estimated that the slip deficit of this earthquake was accumulated over a period of 260–880 years, which is consistent with the recurrence interval of such great earthquakes estimated from the tsunami deposit data. The seismic moment of this earthquake accounts for about 93% of the estimated cumulative moment from 1926 to March 2011. Hence, earthquakes with magnitudes about 7 since 1926 in this area only had released part of the accumulated energy. In the area near the trench, the coupling coefficient is high, which could act as the source of the large tsunami.[75]

Most of the foreshocks are interplate earthquakes with thrust-type focal mechanisms. Both interplate and intraplate earthquakes appeared in the aftershocks offshore Sanriku coast with considerable proportions.[76]

The strong ground motion registered at the maximum of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in Kurihara, Miyagi Prefecture.[77] Three other prefectures—Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi—recorded an upper 6 on the JMA scale. Seismic stations in Iwate, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba Prefecture measured a lower 6, recording an upper 5 in Tokyo.

In Russia, the main shock could be felt in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (MSK 4) and Kurilsk (MSK 4). The aftershock at 06:25 UTC could be felt in Yuzhno-Kurilsk (MSK 5) and Kurilsk (MSK 4).[78]


The surface energy of the seismic waves from the earthquake was calculated to be at 1.9×1017joules,[79] which is nearly double that of the 9.1 Mw2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people. If harnessed, the seismic energy from this earthquake would power a city the size of Los Angeles for an entire year.[64] The seismic moment (M0), which represents a physical size for the event, was calculated by the USGS at 3.9×1022 joules,[80] slightly less than the 2004 Indian Ocean quake.

Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) calculated a peak ground acceleration of 2.99 g (29.33 m/s2).[81][fn 2] The largest individual recording in Japan was 2.7 g, in Miyagi Prefecture, 75 km from the epicentre; the highest reading in the Tokyo metropolitan area was 0.16 g.[84]

Geophysical effects

Portions of northeastern Japan shifted by as much as 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) closer to North America,[34][35] making some sections of Japan's landmass wider than before.[35] Those areas of Japan closest to the epicenter experienced the largest shifts.[35] A 400-kilometre (250 mi) stretch of coastline dropped vertically by 0.6 metres (2 ft 0 in), allowing the tsunami to travel farther and faster onto land.[35] One early estimate suggested that the Pacific plate may have moved westward by up to 20 metres (66 ft),[85] and another early estimate put the amount of slippage at as much as 40 m (130 ft).[86] On 6 April the Japanese coast guard said that the quake shifted the seabed near the epicenter 24 metres (79 ft) and elevated the seabed off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture by 3 metres (9.8 ft).[87] A report by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, published in Science on 2 December 2011, concluded that the seabed in the area between the epicenter and the Japan Trench moved 50 metres (160 ft) east-southeast and rose about 7 metres (23 ft) as a result of the quake. The report also stated that the quake had caused several major landslides on the seabed in the affected area.[88]

The Earth's axis shifted by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in).[34][35][36] This deviation led to a number of small planetary changes, including the length of a day, the tilt of the Earth, and the Chandler wobble.[36] The speed of the Earth's rotation increased, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth's mass.[89] The axial shift was caused by the redistribution of mass on the Earth's surface, which changed the planet's moment of inertia. Because of conservation of angular momentum, such changes of inertia result in small changes to the Earth's rate of rotation.[90] These are expected changes[36] for an earthquake of this magnitude.[34][89] The earthquake also generated infrasound waves detected by perturbations in the orbit of the GOCE satellite, which thus serendipitously became the first seismograph in orbit.[38]

Soil liquefaction was evident in areas of reclaimed land around Tokyo, particularly in Urayasu,[91][92]Chiba City, Funabashi, Narashino (all in Chiba Prefecture) and in the Koto, Edogawa, Minato, Chūō, and Ōta Wards of Tokyo. Approximately 30 homes or buildings were destroyed and 1,046 other buildings were damaged to varying degrees.[93] Nearby Haneda Airport, built mostly on reclaimed land, was not damaged. Odaiba also experienced liquefaction, but damage was minimal.[94]

Shinmoedake, a volcano in Kyushu, erupted three days after the earthquake. The volcano had previously erupted in January 2011; it is not known if the later eruption was linked to the earthquake.[95] In Antarctica, the seismic waves from the earthquake were reported to have caused the Whillans Ice Stream to slip by about 0.5 metres (1 ft 8 in).[96]

The first sign international researchers had that the earthquake caused such a dramatic change in the Earth's rotation came from the United States Geological Survey which monitors Global Positioning Satellite stations across the world. The Survey team had several GPS monitors located near the scene of the earthquake. The GPS station located nearest the epicenter moved almost 4 m (13 ft). This motivated government researchers to look into other ways the earthquake may have had large scale effects on the planet. Calculations at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory determined that the Earth's rotation was changed by the earthquake to the point where the days are now 1.8 microseconds shorter.[97]


Further information: List of foreshocks and aftershocks of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake

Japan experienced over 1,000 aftershocks since the earthquake, with 80 registering over magnitude 6.0 Mw and several of which have been over magnitude 7.0 Mw.

A magnitude 7.4 Mw at 15:08 (JST), 7.9 Mw at 15:15 and a 7.7 Mw quake at 15:26 all occurred on 11 March.[98]

A month later, a major aftershock struck offshore on 7 April with a magnitude of 7.1 Mw. Its epicenter was underwater, 66 km (41 mi) off the coast of Sendai. The Japan Meteorological Agency assigned a magnitude of 7.4 MJMA, while the U.S. Geological Survey lowered it to 7.1 Mw.[99] At least four people were killed, and electricity was cut off across much of northern Japan including the loss of external power to Higashidōri Nuclear Power Plant and Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant.[100][101][102]

Four days later on 11 April, another magnitude 7.1 Mw aftershock struck Fukushima, causing additional damage and killing a total of three people.[103][104]

On 7 December 2012 a large aftershock of magnitude 7.3 Mw caused a minor tsunami, and again on 26 October 2013 small tsunami waves were recorded after a 7.1 Mw aftershock.[105]

As of 16 March 2012 aftershocks continued, totaling 1887 events over magnitude 4.0; a regularly updated map showing all shocks of magnitude 4.5 and above near or off the east coast of Honshu in the last seven days[106] showed over 20 events.[107]

As of 11 March 2016[update] there had been 869 aftershocks of 5.0 Mw or greater, 118 of 6.0 Mw or greater, and 9 over 7.0 Mw as reported by the Japanese Meteorological Agency.[108]

The number of aftershocks was associated with decreased health across Japan.[109]

Earthquake Warning System

One minute before the earthquake was felt in Tokyo, the Earthquake Early Warning system, which includes more than 1,000 seismometers in Japan, sent out warnings of impending strong shaking to millions. It is believed that the early warning by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) saved many lives.[110][111] The warning for the general public was delivered about 8 seconds after the first P wave was detected, or about 31 seconds after the earthquake occurred. However, the estimated intensities were smaller than the actual ones in some places, especially in Kanto, Koshinetsu, and Northern Tōhoku regions where the populace warning did not trigger. According to the JMA Meteorological Research Institute (ja), reasons for the underestimation include a saturated magnitude scale when using maximum amplitude as input, failure to fully take into account the area of the hypocenter, and the initial amplitude of the earthquake being less than that which would be predicted by an empirical relationship.[112][113][114]

There were also cases where large differences between estimated intensities by the Earthquake Early Warning system and the actual intensities occurred in the aftershocks and triggered earthquakes. Such discrepancies in the warning were attributed by the JMA to the system's inability to distinguish between two different earthquakes that happened at around same time, as well as to the reduced number of reporting seismometers due to power outages and connection fails.[115] The system's software was subsequently modified to handle this kind of situation.[116]


An upthrust of 6 to 8 metres along a 180-km-wide seabed at 60 km offshore from the east coast of Tōhoku[117] resulted in a major tsunami that brought destruction along the Pacific coastline of Japan's northern islands. Thousands of lives were lost when entire towns were devastated. The tsunami propagated throughout the Pacific Ocean region reaching the entire Pacific coast of North and South America from Alaska to Chile. Warnings were issued and evacuations were carried out in many countries bordering the Pacific. However, although the tsunami affected many of these places, the heights of the waves were minor.[118][119][120] Chile's Pacific coast, one of the furthest from Japan at about 17,000 km (11,000 mi) distant, was struck by waves 2 m (6.6 ft) high,[121][122][123] compared with an estimated wave height of 38.9 metres (128 ft) at Omoe peninsula, Miyako city, Japan.[32]


The tsunami warning issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency was the most serious on its warning scale; it was rated as a "major tsunami", being at least 3 m (9.8 ft) high.[124] The actual height prediction varied, the greatest being for Miyagi at 6 m (20 ft) high.[125] The tsunami inundated a total area of approximately 561 km2 (217 sq mi) in Japan.[126]

The earthquake took place at 14:46 JST (UTC 05:46) around 67 km (42 mi) from the nearest point on Japan's coastline, and initial estimates indicated the tsunami would have taken 10 to 30 minutes to reach the areas first affected, and then areas farther north and south based on the geography of the coastline.[127][128] Just over an hour after the earthquake at 15:55 JST, a tsunami was observed flooding Sendai Airport, which is located near the coast of Miyagi Prefecture,[129][130] with waves sweeping away cars and planes and flooding various buildings as they traveled inland.[131][132] The impact of the tsunami in and around Sendai Airport was filmed by an NHK News helicopter, showing a number of vehicles on local roads trying to escape the approaching wave and being engulfed by it.[133] A 4-metre-high (13 ft) tsunami hit Iwate Prefecture.[134]Wakabayashi Ward in Sendai was also particularly hard hit.[135] At least 101 designated tsunami evacuation sites were hit by the wave.[136]

Like the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the damage by surging water, though much more localized, was far more deadly and destructive than the actual quake. Entire towns were destroyed in tsunami-hit areas in Japan, including 9,500 missing in Minamisanriku;[137] one thousand bodies had been recovered in the town by 14 March 2011.[138]

Among several factors causing the high death toll from the tsunami, one was the unexpectedly large size of the water surge. The tsunami walls in several of the affected cities had been constructed to protect against tsunamis of much lower heights. Also, many people who were caught in the tsunami thought that they were located on high enough ground to be safe.[139] According to the conclusions of a special committee on disaster prevention, which had been designated by the Japanese government, the tsunami protection policy had been intended to deal with only those tsunamis that had been scientifically proved to occur repeatedly; the committee therefore advised that in the future the policy should be changed to protect against the highest possible tsunami. Because tsunami walls had been overtopped by this tsunami, the committee also suggested that, besides constructing tsunami walls to a height that can protect against relatively frequent tsunamis, it is still necessary to teach citizens who are protected by tsunami walls how to evacuate if a largest scale tsunami should strike those places.[140][141]

Large parts of Kuji and the southern section of Ōfunato including the port area were almost entirely destroyed.[142][143] Also largely destroyed was Rikuzentakata, where the tsunami was three stories high.[144][145][146] Other cities destroyed or heavily damaged by the tsunami include Kamaishi, Miyako, Ōtsuchi, and Yamada (in Iwate Prefecture), Namie, Sōma and Minamisōma (in Fukushima Prefecture) and Shichigahama, Higashimatsushima, Onagawa, Natori, Ishinomaki, and Kesennuma (in Miyagi Prefecture).[147][148][149][150][151][152][153] The most severe effects of the tsunami were felt along a 670-kilometre-long (420 mi) stretch of coastline from Erimo, Hokkaido, in the north to Ōarai, Ibaraki, in the south, with most of the destruction in that area occurring in the hour following the earthquake.[154] Near Ōarai, people captured images of a huge whirlpool that had been generated by the tsunami.[155] The tsunami washed away the sole bridge to Miyatojima, Miyagi, isolating the island's 900 residents.[156] A two-metre-high tsunami hit Chiba Prefecture about 2½ hours after the quake, causing heavy damage to cities such as Asahi.[157]

On 13 March 2011, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) published details of tsunami observations recorded around the coastline of Japan following the earthquake. These observations included tsunami maximum readings of over 3 m (9.8 ft) at the following locations and times on 11 March 2011, following the earthquake at 14:46 JST:[158]

  • 15:12 JST – off Kamaishi – 6.8 m (22 ft)
  • 15:15 JST – Ōfunato – 3.2 m (10 ft) or higher
  • 15:20 JST – Ishinomaki-shi Ayukawa – 3.3 m (11 ft) or higher
  • 15:21 JST – Miyako – 4.0 m (13.1 ft) or higher
  • 15:21 JST – Kamaishi – 4.1 m (13 ft) or higher
  • 15:44 JST – Erimo-cho Shoya – 3.5 m (11 ft)
  • 15:50 JST – Sōma – 7.3 m (24 ft) or higher
  • 16:52 JST – Ōarai – 4.2 m (14 ft)

Many areas were also affected by waves of 1 to 3 metres (3.3 to 9.8 ft) in height, and the JMA bulletin also included the caveat that "At some parts of the coasts, tsunamis may be higher than those observed at the observation sites." The timing of the earliest recorded tsunami maximum readings ranged from 15:12 to 15:21, between 26 and 35 minutes after the earthquake had struck. The bulletin also included initial tsunami observation details, as well as more detailed maps for the coastlines affected by the tsunami waves.[159][160]

JMA also reported offshore tsunami height recorded by telemetry from mooredGPS wave-height meter buoys as follows:[161]

  • offshore of central Iwate (Miyako) – 6.3 m (20 ft)
  • offshore of northern Iwate (Kuji) – 6.0 m (18 ft)
  • offshore of northern Miyagi (Kesennuma) – 6.0 m (18 ft)

On 25 March 2011, Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) reported tsunami height by visiting the port sites as follows:[162]

  • Port of Hachinohe – 5–6 m (16–19 ft)
  • Port of Hachinohe area – 8–9 m (26–29 ft)
  • Port of Kuji – 8–9 m (26–29 ft)
  • Port of Kamaishi – 7–9 m (23–30 ft)
  • Port of Ōfunato – 9.5 m (31 ft)
  • Run up height, port of Ōfunato area – 24 m (79 ft)
  • Fishery port of Onagawa – 15 m (50 ft)
  • Port of Ishinomaki – 5 m (16 ft)
  • Shiogama section of Shiogama-Sendai port – 4 m (13 ft)
  • Sendai section of Shiogama-Sendai port – 8 m (26 ft)
  • Sendai Airport area – 12 m (39 ft)

The tsunami at Ryōri Bay (綾里湾), Ōfunato reached a height of 40.1 m (run-up elevation). Fishing equipment was scattered on the high cliff above the bay.[163][164] At Tarō, Iwate, the tsunami reached a height of 37.9 m (124 ft) up the slope of a mountain some 200 m (656 ft) away from the coastline.[165] Also, at the slope of a nearby mountain from 400 m (1,312 ft) away at Aneyoshi fishery port (姉吉漁港) of Omoe peninsula (重茂半島) in Miyako, Iwate, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology found estimated tsunami run up height of 38.9 m (127 ft).[32] This height is deemed the record in Japan historically, as of reporting date, that exceeds 38.2 m (125 ft) from the 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake.[166] It was also estimated that the tsunami reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture. The inundated areas closely matched those of the 869 Sanriku tsunami.[167]

A Japanese government study found that 58% of people in coastal areas in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures heeded tsunami warnings immediately after the quake and headed for higher ground. Of those who attempted to evacuate after hearing the warning, only five percent were caught in the tsunami. Of those who didn't heed the warning, 49% were hit by the water.[168]

Delayed evacuations in response to the warnings had a number of causes. The tsunami height that had been initially predicted by the tsunami warning system was lower than the actual tsunami height; this error contributed to the delayed escape of some residents. The discrepancy arose as follows: In order to produce a quick prediction of a tsunami's height and thus to provide a timely warning, the initial earthquake and tsunami warning that was issued for the event was based on a calculation that requires only about 3 minutes. This calculation is, in turn, based on the maximum amplitude of the seismic wave. The amplitude of the seismic wave is measured using the JMA magnitude scale, which is similar to Richter magnitude scale. However, these scales "saturate" for earthquakes that are above a certain magnitude (magnitude 8 on the JMA scale); that is, in the case of very large earthquakes, the scales' values change little despite large differences in the earthquakes' energy. This resulted in an underestimation of the tsunami's height in initial reports. Problems in issuing updates also contributed to delays in evacuations. The warning system was supposed to be updated about 15 minutes after the earthquake occurred, by which time the calculation for the moment magnitude scale would normally be completed. However, the strong quake had exceeded the measurement limit of all of the teleseismometers within Japan, and thus it was impossible to calculate the moment magnitude based on data from those seismometers. Another cause of delayed evacuations was the release of the second update on the tsunami warning long after the earthquake (28 minutes, according to observations); by that time, power failures and similar circumstances reportedly prevented the update from reaching some residents. Also, observed data from tidal meters that were located off the coast were not fully reflected in the second warning. Furthermore, shortly after the earthquake, some wave meters reported a fluctuation of "20 centimeters" (about 8 inches), and this value was broadcast throughout the mass media and the warning system, which caused some residents to underestimate the danger of their situation and even delayed or suspended their evacuation.[169][170]

In response to the aforementioned shortcomings in the tsunami warning system, JMA began an investigation in 2011 and updated their system in 2013. In the updated system, for a powerful earthquake that is capable of causing the JMA magnitude scale to saturate, no quantitative prediction will be released in the initial warning; instead, there will be words that describe the situation's emergency. There are plans to install new teleseismometers with the ability to measure larger earthquakes, which would allow the calculation of a quake's moment magnitude scale in a timely manner. JMA also implemented a simpler empirical method to integrate, into a tsunami warning, data from GPS tidal meters as well as from undersea water pressure meters, and there are plans to install more of these meters and to develop further technology to utilize data observed by them. To prevent under-reporting of tsunami heights, early quantitative observation data that are smaller than the expected amplitude will be overridden and the public will instead be told that the situation is under observation. About 90 seconds after an earthquake, an additional report on the possibility of a tsunami will also be included in observation reports, in order to warn people before the JMA magnitude can be calculated.[169][170]

Elsewhere across the Pacific

Shortly after the earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii issued tsunami watches and announcements for locations in the Pacific. At 07:30 UTC, PTWC issued a widespread tsunami warning covering the entire Pacific Ocean.[171][172]Russia evacuated 11,000 residents from coastal areas of the Kuril Islands.[173] The United States National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas in most of California, all of Oregon, and the western part of Alaska, and a tsunami advisory covering the Pacific coastlines of most of Alaska, and all of Washington and British Columbia, Canada.[174][175] In California and Oregon, up to 2.4-metre-high (7.9 ft) tsunami surges hit some areas, damaging docks and harbors and causing over US$10 million in damage.[176] In Curry County, Oregon $7 million in damage occurred including the destruction of 1,100 m (3,600 ft) of dockspace at the Brookings harbor; the county has received over $1 million in FEMA emergency grants.[177] Surges of up to 1 m (3.3 ft) hit Vancouver Island in Canada[175] prompting some evacuations, and causing boats to be banned from the waters surrounding the island for 12 hours following the wave strike, leaving many island residents in the area without means of getting to work.[178][179]

In the Philippines, waves up to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) high hit the eastern seaboard of the country. Some houses along the coast in Jayapura, Indonesia were destroyed.[180] Authorities in Wewak, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea evacuated 100 patients from the city's Boram Hospital before it was hit by the waves, causing an estimated US$4 million in damage.[181] Hawaii estimated damage to public infrastructure alone at US$3 million, with damage to private properties, including resort hotels such as Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, estimated at tens of millions of dollars.[182] It was reported that a 1.5-metre-high (4.9 ft) wave completely submerged Midway Atoll's reef inlets and Spit Island, killing more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.[183] Some other South Pacific countries, including Tonga and New Zealand, and U.S. territories American Samoa and Guam, experienced larger-than-normal waves, but did not report any major damage.[184] However, in Guam some roads were closed off and people were evacuated from low-lying areas.[185]

Along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and South America, tsunami surges were reported, but in most places caused little or no damage.[186] Peru reported a wave of 1.5 m (5 ft) and more than 300 homes damaged.[186] The surge in Chile was large enough to damage more than 200 houses,[187] with waves of up to 3 m (9.8 ft).[188][189] In the Galápagos Islands, 260 families received assistance following a 3-metre (9.8 ft) surge which arrived 20 hours after the earthquake, after the tsunami warning had been lifted.[190][191] There was a great deal of damage to buildings on the islands and one man was injured but there were no reported fatalities.[190][192]

After 2-meter high surge hitting Chile, it was reported that the reflection from those surges traveled back across the Pacific, causing 30–60 cm surge in Japan, 47–48 hours after the earthquake, according to observation from multiple tide station (ja), including Onahama, Owase, Kushimoto.[193]

Map of the Tōhoku earthquake and aftershocks on 11–14 March
Hypocentral region boundaries (Source: The Japanese Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion)
Energy map of the tsunami from NOAA
Water column height on 11 March 2011 at DART Station, 690 NM southeast of Tokyo
Peak tsunami wave height summits, color-coded with red representing most severe
NOAA animation of the tsunami's propagation
Fishing boats that were moved to higher ground in anticipation of tsunami arrival, in Pichilemu, Chile

Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Japan received messages of condolence and offers of assistance from a range of international leaders. According to Japan's foreign ministry, 163 countries and regions, and 43 international organizations had offered assistance to Japan as of September 15, 2011.[1] The magnitude of the earthquake was estimated at 9.1.[2] This article is a list of charitable and humanitarian responses to the disaster from governments and non-governmental organizations. As of March 2012, donations to areas affected by the disaster totaled ¥520 billion and 930,000 people have assisted in disaster recovery efforts.[3]


Japan specifically requested teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States;[4][5] it also requested, via its space agency JAXA, the activation of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, allowing diverse satellite imagery of affected regions to be readily shared with rescue and aid organizations.[6]

Governmental responses[edit]

  •  Afghanistan city of Kandahar donated $50,000 to Japan.[7]
  •  Albania Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced in a cabinet meeting that his government was sending US$100,000 in aid.[8]
  •  Armenia The Government of Armenia donated $500,000 in humanitarian assistance[9] and offered to send a rescue team of 25 people from the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
  •  Australia prepared the frigate HMAS Sydney, and heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk to carry helicopters, Australian Army engineers and medical teams to Japan if this was requested by the Japanese Government.[10]Fire and Rescue NSW service sent a 76-member Urban Search and Rescue team, some of which had recently been rotated through the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort, and 20 tonnes of rescue equipment.[11] This team was transported to Japan by a Royal Australian Air ForceC-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft as Operation Pacific Assist, which subsequently remained in the country to contribute to the disaster relief effort. Two other RAAF C-17's were deployed to Japan to transport supplies and equipment, all three moving over one million pounds of cargo.[12]
  •  Azerbaijan Government of Azerbaijan donated $1 million aid to Japan for elimination of the consequences of the natural disaster.[13]
  •  Bangladesh sent a search and rescue team consisting of a medical wing to Japan.[14] Bangladesh also gave medicines, 2,000 blankets, 500 rubber boots and 1,000 rubber gloves.[15]
  •  Bulgaria sent blankets, food and bottled water, and offered housing in its countryside for homeless Japanese citizens.[16]
  •  Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the Cambodian government to donate US$100,000 in aid.[17]
  •  Canada initially offered a 17-member disaster victim identification team and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear decontamination equipment.[18] Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered Canadian Forces airlift, medical and engineering capabilities.[19] On March 16, 2011, Canada announced that it will send further aid.[20] Canada has readied staff with nuclear expertise. Canadian Red Cross alone has collected over $6 million in aid.[21] Canada also put on standby members of the Canadian military DART team in order to offer a continuous supply of fresh drinking water.
  •  China, sent US$167,000 in aid along with a 15-member rescue team which left Beijing on Sunday, March 13, 2011,[22] with an additional pledge of RMB 30 million Chinese yuan (US$4.57 million) of humanitarian supplies announced by China's Ministry of Commerce the following day.[23] The Chinese government decided to donate 20,000 tons of fuel consisting of 10,000 tons of gasoline and 10,000 tons of diesel.[24] The Chinese navy hospital ship Peace Ark was standing by to assist whilst awaiting approval from Japan, but Japan declined the offer.[25][26] The northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, a sister city of Sendai, sent 10 tonnes of drinking water to Japan. The provincial government of Jilin also said it will donate 100,000 US dollars to the Miyagi prefecture government while the municipal government of Changchun, capital of Jilin, pledged 500,000 Renminbi to the municipal government of Sendai.[27] A super-sized 62-meter long mechanized water-pump arm was donated by China's Sany group, along with an accompanying team of 5 engineers and consultants destined for the effort to quell the overheating and radiation problems of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant on 23 March 2011.[28]
  •  CroatiaThe Croatian government donated €500,000 as financial aid and offered medical capacities and hospitality for injured in the disaster.[29][30] On March 18, the Croatian Red Cross transferred €520,000 to the Japanese Red Cross Society. From March 12 more than €700,000 have been raised of which €630,000 by public and private donations and more than €65,000 by telephone calls made by Croatian citizens.[31] The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service put itself at service if necessary, as well as the National Protection and Rescue Directorate.
  •  East Timor offered to send a hundred men to remove the debris.[32]
  •  Estonia The Estonian government donated €200,000.[7]
  •  France sent rescue teams[33] consisting of 134 members. The French nuclear accident response organization Groupe INTRA has shipped some of its radiation-hardened mobile robot equipment to Japan to help with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.[34] So far, 130 tonnes of equipment has been shipped to Japan.[34]
  •  Georgia donated US$1 million via the Red Cross to the relief efforts in Japan.[35]
  •  Germany sent search and rescue specialists from the Technisches Hilfswerk.[36] Furthermore, the German Aerospace Center provided TerraSAR-X- and RapidEye-satellite imagery of the affected area.[37]
  •  Hungary: According to the MTI, the Hungarian National Disaster Management sent a rescue team to the area, consisting of eight technical rescue team members and a specialist officer. The team is expected to travel to the disaster site on Friday, March 12.[38]
  •  India sent woolen clothing and blankets, with additional plans being to send 22 metric tons of woolen blankets.[39]
  •  Indonesia sent rescue workers, medical assistance and supplies. Indonesia's Government also donated US$2 million.[40]
  •  Iran shipped 50,000 cans of tuna and hot food distributed among 500 people in Japan. Four physicians and first responders were also dispatched to Japan from the Iranian Red Crescent Society.[41][42][43][44][45]
  •  Israel sent members of the humanitarian aid organizations, IsraAID and ZAKA, which consist of first responders, search and rescue specialists, logistical, emergency medical personnel and water specialists to the devastated regions of Japan.[46][47] Israel also established a field hospital near Minamisanriku, 290 miles north of Tokyo. An initial team of five set up the surgery in preparation for a larger team once needs are assessed.[48] Israel also provided tons of aid including mattresses, blankets, coats, gloves and chemical toilets for those left homeless by the disaster.[48] On March 27, a 53-member delegation of medical personnel from the Home Front Command and the IDF’s Medical Corps arrived and opened a clinic on March 29. The clinic includes surgical, pediatric and maternity wards, and an intensive care unit, pharmacy and laboratory. The delegation also brought 62 tons of medical supplies.[49]
  •  Italy sent search and rescue specialists. An unidentified number of red cross personnel travelled to Japan.
  •  Kuwait contributed a large resource contribution with a total of US$550,000,000 in crude oil and other humanitarian aid supplies.[50]
  •  Laos donated US$100,000 in aid.[51]
  •  Macedonian government has decided to help Japan with 100,000 Euros. The decision has been made on March 15, 2011, that the funds would be allocated to reconstruction of damage caused by the earthquake. Additionally, the Macedonian authorities announced they were in contact with the Japanese embassy in order to provide any future assistance if required.[52]
  •  Malaysia sent a search and rescue team, with doctors and medical assistants.[53][54]
  •  Maldives shipped 90,000 cans of tuna to feed the people in the worst affected areas.[32]
  •  Mexico sent eight search and rescue specialists, five search dogs, and two specialists in structural evaluation.[55]
  •  Monaco sent eleven search and rescue specialists, seven search dogs, and attentional equipment. The unit was part of the Force Publique'sCorps des Sapeurs-Pompiers.[56]
  •  Mongolia government announced the country sent rescue teams composed of 12 members from the National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia[57][58][59] to Japan after it had donated US$1 million and relief supplies.[60] And the People of Mongolia from workers to the President donated their wages.[61][62]
  •  Netherlands donated US$1,000,000 in emergency relief funds.[63]
  •  New Zealand sent an urban search and rescue team which had spent the previous three weeks searching buildings following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and 15 tonnes of rescue equipment.[64] The government donated $2m to the Japanese Red Cross Society to support relief efforts.[65][66]
  •  North Korea donated US$100,000 to the relief fund,[67] with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il personally donating US$500,000 to Chongryon Korean residents in Japan.[68]
  •  Pakistan Government of Pakistan sent two Pakistan Air ForceC130 cargo airplanes carrying 24 tons of relief goods containing high energy biscuits, milk packs and drinking water[69] for the areas affected by the earthquake.[70][71] Pakistan embassy in Tokyo sent a team to Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture on March 15 to assess the situation and welfare of affected residents. A volunteer team organized by the Pakistani community in Japan was also sent to Sendai with food supplies.[72]
  •  Philippines The Philippine government made ready to deploy a joint rescue mission composed of 41 members from three of its best search and rescue teams. It was to be complemented by a Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo plane and its crew. The Philippine Government also donated US$10 million to Japan.[73][74] A 2-man team has been sent in advance to assess the situation.[75] Due to the overwhelming response by the global community its search and rescue teams were not deployed. Instead it offered relief goods with the AFP's six-man advance team being in charge of distribution.[76]
  •  Poland The Polish government has offered to help rescue trapped Japanese citizens in affected areas.[77] Polish firefighters comprised the team sent by the European Union to render aid to Japan.[78]
  •  Russia State-controlled gas giant Gazprom provided additional liquefied natural gas supplies, the company diverting two tankers of 150,000 tons to the effected area.[23][79] Russia's Emergencies Ministry official Irina Andrianova confirmed that Russia will send one Mi-26 helicopter along with a team of 50 Russian rescuers to search for survivors, and promised more aid.[80] A team of Russian rescuers will join the search for survivors. According to Russia’s Emergencies Ministry spokesperson Irina Andrianova, "An Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry sent 50 rescuers, three relief and rescue vehicles and the necessary equipment which later arrived and covered by RT news media.”[81] The Russian emergency services agency EMERCOM offered 40 people with three search and rescue dogs.[82] Russia has sent to Japan liquidators of the Chernobyl disaster.[83] The Russian relief group were among largest to arrive in Japan to render aid and consists of 161 personnel.[84]
  •  Saudi Arabia In response to the earthquake, provided petroleum products equivalent to US$20 million through the Saudi Arabian state oil company, Saudi Aramco. After coordination between Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following this offer, the two countries agreed to establish the Saudi LPG Emergency Relief Fund within the Japan LP Gas Association and to distribute support to the region affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake through this fund.[85][86]
  •  Serbia First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic ordered a Division of Emergency Situations rescue team, part of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, to ready for deployment to Japan.[87] Many cities announced sending supporting financial aid, among first, city of Prokuplje sent $10,000.[88] There is a Serbian Red Cross,[89] mobile operators and other independent fundraising initiatives. The Serbian Red Cross raised US$2,321,570.[90]
  •  Singapore The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated Singapore’s relief efforts to Japan.[91] The Government of Singapore donated S$500,000 and sent a search and rescue team.[92] The SRC sent 2 consignments of relief goods consisting of 10,000 bottles of drinking water (500 ml), 6,200 blankets, 200 mattresses and 4,000 collapsible water containers. The SRC raised a total of S$4.1 million(excluding the S$500,000 by the Government of Singapore) thus far for the relief efforts.[93][94]
  •  South Africa sent the 'Rescue South Africa Disaster Response' team to help with rescue and relief activities in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.[95]
  •  South Korea was among the first foreign emergency rescue teams consisting of 5 rescuers and 2 rescue dogs who arrived in Japan on March 12, while another team of 102 rescuers arrived 2 days later.[96] In total, private donations originating from Korea amounted to 2.97 billion Japanese Yen (37.1 million US dollars in March 2011), the 5th largest foreign donation following the US, Taiwan, Canada and Germany.[97] In addition to human aid, Korea sent boric acid to weaken nuclear reactions and power sources for electricity.[98] Many provinces have offered aid as well. Gyeonggi-do offered US$1 million, and raised additional aid.[99] The South Korean consulate staffs in Sendai were crucial in escorting a Croatian citizen, Vinko Hut Kono, safely to the Akita Airport.[100] However, some government organizations in South Korea halted their fund drives and instead donated the money to nationalist organizations for political reasons.[101]
  •  Sri Lanka which was recovering from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, announced US$1 million in aid, as well a team of medical and rescue workers.[102]
  •   Switzerland sent The Swiss rescue team consist of 25 rescuers and nine sniffer dogs to Japan. Also two specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit in Beijing were flying into the country.[103][104]
  •  Taiwan provided over US$252 million in combined aid, and were among the largest contributors in monetary aid.[105][106][107][108][109] President Ma Ying-jeou asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to donate NT$100 million (approximately 300 million Japanese yen or US$3.3 million) to Japan two days after the disaster.[110] On the third and the fourth day respectively, two rescue teams, a 35-member civilian-organized team and a 28-member Ministry of the Interior team, were dispatched to Sendai and other affected areas.[111][112][113] Besides the central government's actions, major political parties, many local governments, schools, companies, and charities arranged fundraising concerts and events.[114][115][116] The Speaker of Congress, Wang Jin-pyng, and other officials visited Japan on April 20 to give a donation.[117] By the end of 2011, the Government, Red Cross Society of Taiwan, Tzu Chi Foundation, and the Chi Mei Corporation, among other civilian organizations and celebrities, collected more than NT$7,364 million (approximately 20,000 million Japanese yen or US$252 million) from the public.[118][119] Among them, Mr. Chang Yung-fa, Chairman of the Evergreen Group, donated 1 billion Japanese yen (approximately US$12,350,000).[120][121] Starting March 14, the Government and other organizations sent about one-thousand tons of generators, sleeping bags, blankets, clothes, foods, and other daily essentials to Japan.[122][123] In particular, tens of volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation advanced to the disaster areas to offer hot food, drinks, materials, and shelters for victims.[124][125][126][127] In addition, the Taiwanese government also assisted more than one-thousand Taiwanese, Japanese, American, European, and other foreign nationals in relocating to Taiwan during the nuclear emergency.[128] Speaker Wang and the mayor of Tainan, William Lai, led hundreds of Taiwanese tourists to visit Japan in May and June to show support.[129][130] The Tourism bureau, the Tainan City Government among other institutions also provided opportunities for victims in the affected regions free tours to Taiwan for relief and to demonstrate how Taiwanese recovered from the 1999 921 earthquake.[131][132]
  •  Thailand The Thai government made an initial offer of 5 million baht (around $167,000), with an additional donation of 200 million baht (or about US$6.6 million),[133] accompanied by 15,000 tons of rice, tinned food, as well as other necessities such as blankets and clothing. Search-and-rescue teams consisting of 35 specialist medic crews proficient in Japanese, officials and sniffer dogs were also dispatched.[134][135] Aside from this, the Thai public through massive fund-raising campaigns spearheaded by major local television stations, private firms, banks and other charitable organizations, including the Thai Red Cross, also donated more than 400 million baht (or more than US$12 million) in relief funds.[136]
  •  Turkey Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of the Republic of Turkey offered humanitarian assistance: 52 tonnes of humanitarian aid, valued at US$360,000, were shipped to Tokyo. Aid materials consisted of 5,000 blankets, 10,000 cans of tuna, 20,000 cans of peas, 12,000 cans of pike, and 10,000 iodine tablets to prevent radiation absorption.
  •  Ukraine sent a Cargo aircraft full of relief supplies, including gas masks, radiometers, 2,000 blankets. A rescue team were also dispatched to Japan to provide assistance. The government of Ukraine also stated that they would be ready to provide more aid if requested.[137]
  •  United Kingdom sent 70 rescuers to Japan, including two search dogs, a medical support team and 11 tons of specialised rescue equipment.[138][139]
  •  United States designated its military response to the earthquake and tsunami as Operation Tomodachi (Japanese for "Friend").[140] Various branches of the military participated, notably the USS Ronald Reagan carrier group, and aviators based at Yokota Air Base, among several other personnel.[141][142] The US Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance sent Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 2 and Virginia Task Force 1, some of whom worked with Canadian SARS teams in Miyagi Province.[143][144] US personnel were dispatched to restore the Sendai airport, which sustained extensive damage and flooding.[145][146] The State Department moved its embassy operations, set up contact information systems and issued travel advisories and later evacuation orders for American civilians.[147]
  •  UzbekistanCarlsberg Uzbekistan produced beer in bottles with notes that read Yaponiyani qoʻllab-quvvatlaylik! (Let's support Japan!).
  •  Vietnam Vietnam Red Cross National Headquarters launched Official Appeal on March 16, 2011, to call the donation from all ministries, governmental agencies, Fatherland Front, organizations, corporations, enterprises, and people all over Vietnam to assist people affected by the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. On June 17, 2011, Vietnam Red Cross organized the evaluation meeting of the Appeal. In total, the Government and people of Vietnam have donated with the amount of VND 161,303,484,931 equivalent of US$7,783,393, contributing to the assistance of people affected by tsunami and earthquake in Japan.[148]

Non-governmental responses[edit]

  • The Japan Center for International Exchange finds that individuals, groups, and corporations in the United States have donated at least $746 million for relief and recovery efforts, the third highest philanthropic outpouring from American donors for any overseas disaster and the most for any disaster in another rich country.[149]
  • Local Soka Gakkai facilities became refugee shelters and distribution centers for relief supplies. Efforts also included worldwide fundraising for the victims, youth groups, and spiritual support.[150][151]
  • A fundraising concert and show in Taiwan attended by some 300 Taiwanese singers and celebrities raised US$26 million for Japan relief.[152]
  • The Jewish Federations of North America and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee raised more than US$2 million. They are working with the Jewish community of Tokyo and JEN, a Japanese NGO, to provide relief to the residents in the Tohoku region. In association with Israel Defense Forces, JDC set up the a field hospital on the ground in Minamisanriko.[153]
  • The Roman Catholic Church provided large outreach and prayer for the victims of the disaster and offered large monetary donations from local parishes and churches, along with aid from the Vatican and a call for unity by Pope Benedict.
  • The United Methodist Committee on Relief has a team responded to the disaster.[154]
  • The Disciples of Christ Church respond to needs through a Week of Compassion.[155]
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has committed "Substantial financial help" to Japan.[156] The Church also provided equipment to Japanese fisherman who were unable to work since the earthquake.[157]
  • The UUA/Unitarian Service Committee (UUSC) Japan Relief Fund has been established to support the recovery efforts in Japan, as they consider the specific efforts to take to support the work of recovery.[158]
  • The N.C.Baptist Men’s search and rescue team is in Japan assessing needs and distributing food.[154]
  • A Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief team has arrived in Japan and provide relief supplies to affected residents.[154]
  • The volunteer medical assistance team in Canada sent a portable field hospital, medical supplies, and medical personnel. Several non-governmental agencies such as the Canadian Red Cross and the Humanitarian Coalition have also collected funds from citizens towards relief efforts in Japan.[159]
  • The Philippine National Red Cross raised ₱73,336,619.74 (in addition to US$10,000 and ¥30,000) in donations, for a total that exceeded $1.6M.[160]
  • Relief organizations and local civic groups in South Korea such as the Korean Disaster Relief Association, UNICEF, and the Korean Community Chest set up campaigns to collect donations and aid supplies. Business groups such as Samsung Group, South Korea's largest business conglomerate, said it has donated 100 million yen (US$1.22 million) to help Japan's earthquake relief.[161]
  • Charitable organizations in Hong Kong such as The Salvation Army, Hong Kong Red Cross, and various student groups have accepted donations for relief efforts.[162]
  • Charitable organizations in Taiwan such as the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China and the Tzu Chi Foundation launched efforts to raise more funds for relief aid.[163]
  • Public efforts in Thailand include several charity organizations, fund-raising drives and donation through television and mobile phone networks. Three big mobile phone networks enabled subscribers to raise money by sending text messages to specific numbers, with the network providers then passing on the revenue to the fund-raising drive.[164][165] Many organizations in Phuket, where the 2004 Asian tsunami struck, such as Bangkok Hospital Phuket have set up donation drives for non-perishable items such as blankets, canned foods and children's essentials.[166][167]
  • Numerous NGOs in the United States have contributed to the relief efforts in Japan. Influential business organizations have also made large donations for near-term relief and recovery efforts (e.g. Walmart committed US$5 million in cash and in-kind donations .[168]JPMorgan Chase committed US$5 million).[169] Mobile network services such as AT&T have also offered conditional free phone calls from the United States and Puerto Rico to Japan until March 31, 2011.[170] The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the International Medical Corps and a number of other nonprofit organisations[which?] have launched mobile donation efforts with groups such as the Give Foundation, the Mobile Giving Foundation, and Mobile Cause to provide aid for those affected.[171] Among the US-based celebrities to have made major donations is Ichiro Suzuki, a Japanese baseball superstar with the Seattle Mariners, who donated ¥100 million ($1.24 million) to the Japanese Red Cross toward the relief effort.[172]
  • ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity, has provided emergency accommodation to nearly 1600 families,[173] in response to initial requests by Iwate Prefecture authorities for accommodation for 1000 refugees at each of the towns Miyako, Yamada, Kamaishi, Rikuzentakata and Ofunato. The charity has stated it can provide a further 5000 "Shelterboxes" to accommodate another 50,000 people if required.[174]
  • World Vision Japan, partnering with Delta Air Lines transported aid workers and relief supplies to Japan. Delta frequent flyer's SkyMiles card holders could donate their miles to World Vision Japan, collectively 5 million miles were donated.[175] Additionally World Vision partnership across the globe is appealing for $10 million to fund its response in Japan, which may continue for several years. World Vision staff planned to focus their attention on providing vital relief supplies and Child-Friendly Spaces.
  • Mercy Corps worked in devastated areas of northeastern Japan alongside local partner (Peace Winds Japan (ja)) to bring relief and recovery to survivors.[176] In the weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, the two organizations focused on providing relief items – tents, tarps, blankets, heaters, clothes, water, food and school and hygiene supplies – to survivors. As supplies of essential items have become more accessible, efforts have shifted to economic recovery and post-trauma work. Together, Mercy Corps and Peace Winds Japan projects [177] have helped to support 148,000 people in need who live in four northeastern towns: Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, Kesennuma and Minamisanriku.
  • Numerous charitable organizations in Singapore have offered to raise funds to the relief efforts for Japan. Mercy Relief has collected S$722,000, including a cheque by the Singapore Soka Association to help aid workers in Japan to purchase relief supplies such as food, blankets and drinking water. It had a five-member team in Japan distributing relief supplies to victims near Iwate Prefecture. World Vision Singapore has also collected more than S$400,000 thus far.[94]
  • The music industry's four largest record labels (EMI, Sony, Universal, and Warner) collaborated to make Songs for Japan. All proceeds generated from this charity record will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.[178]
  • On March 23, 2011, Music for Relief, a charity founded in 2005 by rock band Linkin Park, also released another compilation of albums called Download to Donate: Tsunami Relief, released under Warner Bros. Records. The proceeds will go to Save the Children for the victims of the disasters.
  • Team Fortress 2 players donated US$430,543.65 to Japan through an in-game hat donation campaign by Valve.[179]
  • ChildFund Japan distributed emergency supplies to evacuation centers in Natori and Sendai. The emergency supplies included masks, propane gas, diapers, powdered milk, rice canned food, noodles, and seasoning.[180]
  • A group of seven independent Scottish Whisky Distilleries are collaborating to produce a one-time limited bottling of blended single malt whisky and to donate all proceeds to disaster relief efforts in Japan. Each distillery will donate a cask of their single malt, which will be blended together and named the Spirit of Unity. Production is expected to be roughly 2,000 bottles; 1,200 being sold in the UK, and the remainder being sold in Japan. A small quantity will be sold in New Zealand with proceeds being donated to relief efforts in the wake of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The total proceeds of this initiative are estimated to be at least US$80,000. The collaborating distillers are: Arran, BenRiach, Bladnoch, GlenDronach, Mitchell’s Glengyle, Kilchoman and Springbank.[181]
Japanese civilians and US Misawa Air Base personnel combine efforts to recover a vehicle.
These countries offered humanitarian support to Japan.
A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force truck being unloaded from an Australian C-17 Globemaster on March 18
Israel Defense Forces - field clinic
Japanese soccer fans display a banner to thank Korea for their support during the 2011 earthquake.
Japanese fundraisers expressed gratitude to Taiwanese aid donors in this message "Thank you, Taiwan" on the United Daily News and the Liberty Times (May 3, 2011).
Members of the Government of Morioka, Iwate thank Taiwan for assistance.
Banner thanking Thailand for assistance at Japanese Embassy in Bangkok
"THANK YOU USA" written in the mud deposited by the tsunami as seen by a helicopter crew during an Operation Tomodachi flight

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