While Tokyo is considered to be a safe area of Japan, it still suffers some setbacks in energy and transportation. You can see how the trains have been effected here (In Japanese, but you can translate it in Google Chrome or another page translator): http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/kanto.aspx
On that page it also announces that there are scheduled blackouts in order to conserve energy needed to keep the city running due to the power shortage.
Again, you can hear live news or the latest news recording at: http://yokosonews.com/live/
He is broadcasting from a safe part of Japan (Mie Prefecture), and also translated the latest news on the nuclear power plant.
The nuclear plant’s status in Fukushima is not going well according to the latest report. They are trying to control the situation, and it is being carefully monitored.
Earlier, there was a hydrogen blast at one of the reactors, however, the cause was induced by the plant in order to release pressure. At the moment there is no clear word on if they can successfully cool down the reactors, so it has caused everyone to worry. Please note that because people do not generally know that much about nuclear technology it may sound scarier than it actually is. For example, the radiation released from the initial hydrogen blast to nearby civilians was as much as you get from an international flight. During the most recent announcement from the Prime Minister and the power plant, they have not changed the distance of the safety zone. The only new measure was requesting residents that are 20-30km away from the plant to stay indoors. Tokyo is still very very far away (around 200km or 124mi), and so according to current news would not be effected.
UPDATE 3/15/11 @ 1:45PM PST: Tokyo is registering levels of radio activity, presumed to be trace elements blow from the plant by the wind. However at this point it is not enough to harm human health, and they are urging residents in the Tokyo area to not panic.
Here is an article that we thought had a clear level-headed view on the events: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/03/13/some-perspective-on-the-japan-earthquake/
Tokyo also expects to still have some aftershocks. Today it was registered at a 3.0 scale (minor on the Richter scale – may be felt but rarely causes any damage) and the largest of these will be felt up till March 18th. More on the Richter Scale for your reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale
Yesterday, because of the news scare, grocery and convenience store supplies were at a low for resources, however we expect this to bounce back in the next few days.
The good news: Despite the setbacks, and while our hearts go out to those in need in the north, people in the Tokyo area went to work and school, and everyone in the other areas such as the Kansai region remain untouched and fully functioning. Help from several other countries have arrived and are working towards recovery.
Alright, that was a long update but we want to make sure everyone is well informed so they can make the decision they think is best!
Okay, now for the tour update:
PJT will announce on Wednesday, March 16 if the Anime Insider Tour will continue.
We apologize for the inconvenience this causes for those who plan to fly into Japan, however we are at the mercy of how fast the recovery process will be.
While Tokyo is still regarded as a safe area and most businesses are up and running, it would be difficult to tour with everyone if some of the train systems are down.
We say Wednesday because by that time we should be able to tell if things will indeed improve or not by the time the tour is set to start.
If the tour proceeds we ask that everyone understand that the itinerary may be adjusted in order to compensate these things.
We want to let you know that we are hopeful, as Tokyo is built to withstand such events and we feel it will bounce back quickly. However we can’t continue just on assumption and are waiting to see more evidence that we can still provide everyone the PJT touring experience they’ve signed up for.
For all future tours:
All other tours are set to depart after April. The US Government advisory against travel to Japan ends April 1st, so it would be safe to travel to an unaffected area of Japan. Of course safety is our top priority, so we are still closely monitoring all news to all tour locations. If anything changes, we will update all parties involved.
We thank everyone for their patience and kind understanding at this time.