Friday, March 11, 2011

"Kitaku Nanmin" in Tokyo after Earthquake

Tens of thousands of "kitaku nanmin" (帰宅難民 literally "going home refugee") - a catchy word for people stranded in Tokyo without means of transportation to go home - are resigned to spend the night in city halls, train stations, and schools. They cannot go home as subways, trains, and buses have stopped after the earthquake, and taxis are impossible to get.

Most are office workers who work in the Tokyo metropolitan area and commute using public transportation. For many, their homes are just too far away to walk back (20-40km away or more). Some cannot figure out the way as they usually rely on the maps for the trains and buses. (That would be me.)

The picture is from Asahi Shinbun: Shibuya train (JR) station at 6PM Local Japan Time. JR Trains are not running.

This one is Shinjuku station, one of the busiest train station in Tokyo, at 3:34PM.

Japanese newspaper sites don't show many photos of extensive damages from the earthquake. The Tokyo Stock Exchange didn't halt trading after the earthquake. Cellphones and landlines, hard to connect sometimes, but they continued to work. Trains may resume operation within today.


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