On March 11, at 2:46 local time in Japan, a massive magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off of the eastern shores of Honshu, Japan’s largest island, resulting in a significant number of deaths and incredible destruction of property/infrastructure. The earthquake, which was centered 234 miles (376 km.) to the northeast of Tokyo, generated a 23-foot high tsunami that devastated the city and port of Sendai and surrounding areas (Sendai is approximately 86 miles from the epicenter). Tokyo sustained damage during the main earthquake and its port was struck by the tsunami waters. Miyagi Prefecture, which is part of the Tohoku region encompassing northern Honshu, received the brunt of the damage from this large earthquake.
The State Department of the United States has issued a travel alert asking citizens to avoid travel to Japan. The alert expires on April 1, 2011.
Seismic aftershocks continue to rock the area (over 50 earthquakes have occurred since the initial shock with numerous temblors above 6.0 on the seismic intensity scale). At present major airports in northern Honshu are closed, including Tokyo’s Narita Airport.
Travelers with tickets for air travel to any airport in this area over the next two weeks should check with their airlines about re-booking at some future date. We can assure you that vacation or “natural disaster travel” would not be appreciate by the authorities or people of Japan at this time.
We extend our sympathies to the people of Japan.
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