Timeline of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and Japan Post’s response

11.03.2019 - Out of all natural disasters that have occurred since the Meiji period, the Great East Japan Earthquake, which struck on March 11, 2011, caused a scale of damage, second only to the Great Kanto Earthquake. Earthquakes occurred one after the other in the short space of 30 minutes in three different areas, producing severe shaking and large tsunamis.

11 March

  • An undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0-9.1 occurs at 14:46 (Japanese Standard Time). The following tsunami, reaching heights of 40 metres, struck against Japan’s northeastern coastline inundating towns and cities causing damage and huge loss of life.

12 March

  • People living within 3km of Fukushima II and 10km of Fukushima I are evacuated, and there are fears of a possible nuclear reactor meltdown. There is an explosion in Unit 1 containing a nuclear reactor. 

13 March

  • Between 13 March and 24 April, a total of 65 branches conducted extra service on weekends and national holidays.

14 March

  • An assessment carried out by Japan Post found that of the 1,103 directly-managed post offices and the 319 contracted post offices within the three prefectures of Tohoku (Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures), 583 directly-managed post offices and 100 contracted post offices had suspended work.

20 March

  • Mobile post office services are put into operation to serve the devastated communities.

26 April

  • In Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, the first temporary office after the disaster is established (substituting Rikuzentakata Post Office) and begins operating normal over-the-counter services and ATMs.

10 June

  • Ofunato Post Office and Kamaishi Post Office, which both sustained severe damages, begin over-the-counter services and ATMs.


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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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