Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquake in Japan and Asia Travel Plans

To complete our around-the-world exploration of 38th parallel water connections, we had planned to travel in Japan, China, and Turkmenistan in April and May, 2011.  The massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan was at 38°19''N, offshore from the city of Sendai on the east coast of Honshu, just 4 weeks before our trip was to begin.  Since then there have been hundreds of major aftershocks, including dozens greater than magnitude 6 and a few over 7. 

Our itinerary did not have us going to the east coast that was hit so hard by the tsunami and nuclear reactor leaks, but inland to mountainous Bandai-Asahi National Park, then to Niigata (just south of the latitude line), and then by ferry to Sado Island (west of the main island and intersected by the line).  We hope to learn about the captive breeding and release program for endangered Japanese crested ibis on Sado Island, whose success is closely tied to rice culture and forestry practices.

With food, water, and power shortages and an ever worsening nuclear reactor radiation leak situation, now is not the time to go to Japan. The estimated deaths from the tsunami keep growing, now almost 12,000 dead with another 15,000 missing.  What a sorrowful tragedy

We now hope Japan will be the final country visited on our around-the-world travels, and hope to go in September if the recovery has progressed. 

Our friend, Greg Reis, has a thoughtful blogpost about the on-going nuclear disaster:

Japanese Red Cross Society Online

International Red Cross Appeals for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief

American Red Cross via iTunes and