Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japan under alert: Tsunami coming, TVs' say

Thousands being evacuated from Japan Pacific ocean coast

The tsunami, running high speed on the Pacific ocean, could hit northern areas of Japan's main island of Honshu around 1 p.m. --in 15 minutes from now-- 4 a.m UT, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The tsunami warning covered the eastern seaboard of Japan, although for Tokyo Bay and many other areas the warnings were for waves of only around one meter (3 ft), similar to that seen earlier in Hawaii and New Zealand.

In May 1960, a tsunami struck the coasts of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido and other northern Pacific coastal areas after an earthquake in Chile, killing around 140 people. The affected northern region has many small harbors, these could concentrate the force of a tsunami, if strong.

Many Japanese harbors have had sea gates installed to try to protect from tsunami and storms and authorities ordered these closed this morning. "Coastal barriers have been built since the 1960 tsunami so we can't simply compare the situation with that time but it is still crucial that people evacuate," said an union member of the Kamaishi Eastern Fishery Union in Iwate, in northern Honshu quoted by wire service news.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the International Tokyo Marathon continues, under a heavy cold rain and the loud noise of helicopters of the local TV networks filming the run, adding lots to the population anxiety.

On the TV screen, one can see marathon runners apparently under pressure to end their run before the Tsunami strikes the coast, if it does, while TV networks run lots of advertising since the early morning.

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