The television viewers in Japan could follow out of birdís-eye view how the tsunami hit land in Sendai.

Japanís warning system - Comment on 2011 April 8

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2011 April 8
The earthquake reporting of Japanís television station NHK is worldwide unique. On the 11th of March millions of viewers saw the life pictures of NHK and followed the disaster in real time on the screen. Read more:

One subject this website deals with in detail is the earth upheaval.

As a reader of this website you are therefore, because of you reading this here and also the rest of the webpages, automatically warned of this event.

And that already long before and can therefore make preparations for the event.

With other earthquakes there are also warnings; but they arrive only seconds or minutes before and then also only when everything is well organized, like in Japan.

I have already reported about this warning system of the Japanese.

On the 14th of March 2011 there was the report directly out of the transmission centre of the state television NHK in Tokyo:
2011 Mar 14 Ė Earthquake in Japan.

On the 17th of March 2011 was then the report about the man in Tokyo who was not warned of the earthquake, but who reported that almost all mobile phones in Japan have a TV function and so he switched on his device and saw immediately the report about the earthquake:
2011 Mar 17 (2) Ė Empty batteries.

He also reported that most of the mobile phones in Japan have an early warning system installed to warn people of earthquakes. Before the great quake it did not work, before the many smaller after quakes it did. There it was also said - about a different area in Japan: ďJapanís emergency-warning system sounded tsunami alarms in many locations, but with power knocked out in areas such as this, residents didnít recall hearing it.Ē

Then on the 24th of March 2011 the entry came about the great earthquake, the earth upheaval, and there a comparison was made with the earthquake in Japan:
2011 Mar 24 Ė The great earthquake.

In that entry was talk about P-waves, which are faster and arrive sooner than the S-waves, which cause the destruction. And these P-waves just make the warning of earthquakes possible, and then also immediately of the somewhat later arriving tsunami.

And the arrival of the P-wave is then used to automatically stop trains, close bridges and shut down nuclear reactors.

And therefore also to trigger warning systems.

And with it belongs television and now follow details to this, which I read today, how the station NHK, already mentioned above, warned before the earth quaked:


The earthquake reporting of Japanís television station NHK is worldwide unique. On the 11th of March millions of viewers saw the life pictures of NHK and followed the disaster in real time on the screen.

With earthquake warnings the viewing figures shoot up at NHK. So it was also on the afternoon of the 11th of March: On the day of the great quake the satellite program of NHK broadcasts live from the Japanese parliament. One sees how members of parliament have discussions with each other and vote on proposals and ideas.

With a short signal sound at 14:46 local time a blue writing is then suddenly inserted with a map: ĎIn the north east of the main island of Honshu an earthquake has just occurred.í The reporter from the parliament studio, who only just reported about the political debate, interrupts the program and informs about which prefectures are affected by the earthquake.

Japanís public institution, the broadcasting corporation NHK, broadcast a whole range of radio and television channels. Since years all of them have a unique earthquake early warning system at their disposal. As soon as an earthquake occurs in Japan, the transmitters automatically insert an earthquake warning. The special thing about this information is that it comes before the actual tremor.

The system is based on the fact that two kinds of seismic waves arise. It registers the energy of the first, still harmless waves and warns automatically over all television and radio channels. For only the second earthquake wave lets the earth tremble. These few seconds can be lifesaving because they give people the chance to get to safety in time.

Already the moment the earthquake occurred the employees of NHK knew the magnitude. One and a half minutes after the quake the transmitter had changed its program; all channels now brought a special program.

ďNHK has an automatic system. When an earthquake occurs which is stronger than 6, then we automatically switch over our program.Ē

NHK owes twelve helicopters. They are distributed all over Japan and can start at any time when something happens somewhere. And so NHK showed pictures of the tsunami wave which raced towards Japanís east coast on the 11th of March shortly after the quake. The viewers in Japan could follow out of birdís-eye view how the wave hit land in Sendai: The masses of water devour cars and houses; they flood fields and greenhouses.

On the 11th of March the presenters described the dramatic pictures which show how a whole stretch of land was buried underneath the masses of water.

Almost four weeks after the quake the developments in Fukushima still dominate the news at NHK.


Now this warning system in Japan seems to find its limits when disasters strike that are bigger than expected, like the one on 11th of March 2011. It seems to have coped with the earthquake but not with the tsunamis, which was bigger than expected.

I am now going to repeat some passages from the entry of the 2nd of April 2011, 2011 Apr 2 Ė Communication in earthquake areas, where such limits are mentioned:

To Ryo Orui, a high school junior, almost as frightening as the trembling of the earth or the wailing of tsunami sirens was the loss of his cellphone signal. When Japanís big earthquake struck, Mr. Orui said, he felt a wave of panic at not being able to instantly contact loved ones, or get news on what was happening.

Among the casualties of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11 were modern communications networks, which proved surprisingly vulnerable. Millions of people in eastern and northern Japan, including Tokyo, lost some or all cellphone service. A total of 1.3 million land lines and fiber-optic links also went dead.

While those interruptions pale in comparison to the human tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami - 27,000 people are dead or missing - the fragility of modern communications has emerged as one of the catastropheís sobering lessons.

While Tokyoís cellphone service has been restored, much of Miyako remains cut off from cellphones and the Internet.

To warn residents in the event of another tsunami, Miyako relies on a network of more than 300 outdoor loudspeakers and sirens, some of which date to the end of World War II.

Waves from the 25-foot tsunami also knocked out roads and electricity. As a result, city officials say, radio has proven to be the most reliable medium to get information to survivors scattered over a wide area.


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