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The 2nd Message from Dr. Hatori, Director-General of the Japan Meteorological Agency on "The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake"



25 March 2011


Dr. Mitsuhiko Hatori, the Director-General of JMA (left) and Dr. Tokiyoshi Toya, WMO Regional Director for Asia and the South-West Pacific
    Two weeks have passed since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami, and the dead and missing are now found to exceed 27,000 in total. Many are still forced to live in difficult environment after the evacuation. I am devastated by the huge impact of the natural phenomenon.
    Once again, I thank all of those who kindly have given warm messages to us received from all over the world. I would like to report with some relief that all the staff members of JMA are alive and safe. I am particularly grateful to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General, Mr. Michel Jarraud for generously sending WMO Regional Director for Asia and the South-West Pacific, Dr. Tokiyoshi Toya, to Japan on 25th March. I and my staff are very much encouraged with this quick action to support JMA. At the same time, I would be pleased if our extraordinary experiences on the multi-hazard event could be shared with other National Meteorological and Hydrological Services through WMO.

    Our seismometers and tidal gauges surely recorded unprecedented tremors and tsunami, then some of them lost communication. However, those troubled facilities are being rapidly repaired, and many of them have resumed their observations. Since the tsunami monitoring network along the Pacific coast of Tohoku was severely damaged, we plan to install two new sea level monitoring stations in that area by the end of March to supplement the network.
    Although a number of meteorological observation facilities were damaged, JMA has maintained its usual level of performance of the operational meteorological service with the robust observational network composed of in-situ observations, a radar network, meteorological satellites together with the meteorological data processing systems. The damaged facilities are being recovered as well. Out of 398 Automatic Weather Stations once lost communication on 11th March, 379 stations have already been recovered by 23rd March. In order to immediately obtain sufficient observational data in the severely damaged areas, I have requested, according to the Japanese Meteorological Service Act, a private mobile telecommunication company which officially operates observation stations with interoperable certified instruments, to provide JMA with meteorological observation data at their monitoring stations. Please see here for the details.
    In the earthquake affected area, the risk of sediment disaster is higher than usual because the soil in these areas has been shaken and loosen. For the risk reduction of such multiple hazard, we adjusted accordingly the criteria of warning and advisory on heavy rain and associated sediment disaster. Please see here for the details.


    Many of the JMA's emergency actions are prescribed in the Basic Disaster Management Plan and the JMA Disaster Management Operation Plan, which are based on our tough experiences of past major disasters, e.g., the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, Ise-wan Typhoon (Typhoon Vera) in 1959. It is also important, in an unprecedented case like this, to act in a flexible manner, using the best of our knowledge and experiences. Although the crisis is still continuing I am confident that JMA will perform very well to meet the requirements of the Japanese Government and the general public even under very tough situation. We are also prepared to share our experiences with other National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with a view to enhancing the level of emergency preparedness of the world meteorological community.


Mitsuhiko Hatori    
Permanent Representative of Japan with WMO    
Director-General of the Japan Meteorological Agency    




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