Japan consists of 47 prefectures.

[explanatory notes]

Japan consists of 47 prefectures.

The Tohoku region, the area hit hardest by the Tohoku Kanto great earthquake disaster, covers the prefectures of Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima.

Please refer to the following Google Maps link; http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=39.249271,140.603027&spn=4.780933,7.558594&z=7

The Meteorological Agency has named the earthquake “the Tohoku Pacific Offshore Earthquake.”


The central government is calling the disaster “the Tohoku Kanto Great Earthquake Disaster” (or Tohoku Kanto Daishinsai).

Media have begun to refer to it as simply “the East Japan Great Earthquake Disaster” (or Higashi Nihon Daishinsai).

The Japanese government does not yet have the whole picture of what happened. It is still obtaining basic information, beginning with how many people were evacuated to which places. Some town halls and city halls lost their offices.

As of February 2011, Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (or The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association) has a membership of 106 newspapers, four news agencies and 23 broadcasters.

Most, if not all, of NSK member newspapers publish both morning and evening editions on weekdays.

NHK (or the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is a member of NSK, as are some commercial broadcasters. All commercial broadcasters form the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan (NAM or Nihon Minkan Hoso Renmei).

Outside NSK are many small local newspapers, some of which have formed the Japan Local Newspaper Association (JNLA or Nihon Chiho Shimbun Kyokai).

After the Hanshin Awaji Great Earthquake Disaster in 1995, many newspapers reached partnership agreements with other papers in neighboring prefectures to try to maintain publication.

<some background data about newspapers appeared in the following story>

/The Kahoku Shimpo/
Headquarters in Sendai City, Miyagi Pref.
Circ.; morning 473,000, evening 100,000
No. of pages; morning 24 to 28 pages, evening 8-10 pages
Deadlines; morning 2, evening 1

/Yamagata Shimbun/
Headquarters in Yamagata City, Yamagata Pref.
Circ.; morning 201,000, evening 201,000
No. of pages; morning 28 pages, evening 8 pages

/The Niigata Nippo/
Headquarters in Niigata City, Niigata Pref.
Circ.; morning 485,000, evening 47,000
No. of pages; morning 28 pages for 6 days, 32 pages for 1 day of the week, evening 8 pages for 6 days
Deadlines; morning 3, evening 1

/Iwate Nippo/
Headquarters in Morioka City, Iwate Pref.
Circ.; morning 212,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 24 pages
Deadlines; 1

/The Daily Tohoku/
Headquarters in Hachinohe City, Aomori Pref.
Circ.; morning 105,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; morning 20 pages
Deadlines; 1

/Iwate Nichinichi Shimbun/
Headquarters in Ichinoseki City, Iwate Pref.
Circ.; morning 57,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 16 to 20 pages

/The Ibaraki Shimbun/
Headquarters in Mito City, Ibaragi Pref.
Circ.; morning 124,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 24 pages
Deadlines; 2

/Shimotsuke Shimbun/
Headquarters in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Pref.
Circ.; morning 318,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; up to 32 pages
Deadlines; 1

/Akita Sakigake Shimpo/
Headquarters in Akita City, Akita Pref.
Circ.; morning 254,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 28 pages

Headquarters in Fukushima City, Fukushima Pref.
Circ.; morning 300,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 24 pages

/The Fukushima Minyu/
Headquarters in Fukushima City, Fukushima Pref.
Circ.; morning 201,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 24 pages

/The Iwaki Pinpo/
Headquarters in Iwaki City, Fukushima Pref.
Circ.; (no morning edition) evening 15,000
No. of pages; 16 pages

/Joyo Shimbun/
Headquarters in Tsuchiura City, Ibaragi Pref.
Circ.; morning 85,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 8 to 12 pages
Deadlines; 1

/Hokuu Shimpo/
Headquarters in Noshiro City, Akita Pref.
Circ.; morning 26,000 (no evening edition)
No. of pages; 10 pages
Deadlines; 1

<<< The following is based on Shinbun Kyokai-ho (the organ weekly tabloid of NSK) No. 3944 dated Tuesday, March 15, 2011 (with some explanatory words inserted) >>>

The earthquake of magnitude 9.0 that hit at 14:46 on February 11 caused major difficulties for publishing newspapers the following morning of February 12.

“The Daily Tohoku” in Aomori Prefecture, “Iwate Nippo” in Iwate Prefecture, “Yamagata Shimbun” in Yamagata Prefecture, “The Kahoku Shimpo” in Miyagi Prefecture and “The Ibaraki-Shimbun” in Ibaragi Prefecture are being helped with page makeup and/or printing by newspaper companies in neighboring prefectures with whom they set up mutual anti-disaster agreements.

Other newspapers are utilizing back-up electric-power generators or have reduced the number of pages to keep publishing.

The supply of electric power has improved since the morning after the earthquake, but electric-power companies are implementing planned outages to reduce total demand. In addition, newspaper companies have suffered water and fuel outages.

Four newsprint manufacturing plants in the Tohoku region (the northeast part of the Honshu mainland) have stopped operations.

At the Kahoku Shimpo, the largest newspaper in the Tohoku region, which normally is circulated not only in Miyagi Prefecture but also in some neighboring prefectures, the editing system collapsed. Kahoku had previously set up a mutual assistance agreement with the Niigata Nippo.

Story texts are being sent to the Niigata Nippo, page makeup was also requested and two make-up editors sent there. The morning edition had eight pages. The pagination was done by editors of Niigata. After the Kahoku editors checked the pages, page data were transmitted to the printing factory for Kahoku. Using back-up power generators, 472,000 copies were printed and sent even to places to which people had temporarily evacuated. The copies did not reach some areas because of, among other reasons, traffic restrictions and damaged offices of distributers.

Kahoku also managed to publish an extra before 21:00 on February 11. The two-page extra had a print run of 10,000 copies but no color.
On Saturdays, Kahoku normally publishes only an evening edition. The paper’s editing system had returned and they did page makeup with their own system, publishing 35,000 copies of a four-page evening edition.
On Sundays, Kahoku publishes only a morning edition. They printed an extra of four-color pages with a print run of 35,000 copies.

Yamagata Shimbun asked the Niigata Nippo to print their morning edition on the 12th and part of the evening edition. The morning edition of 200,000 copies had eight pages but no color. Niigata provided trucks and took printed copies to Yamagata’s printing plant. The newspapers were further distributed from there.

Niigata also printed 100,000 non-color copies for the Yamagata’s evening edition. As the electric-power supply at Yamagata had come back earlier, Yamagata could print the remaining 100,000 copies with color. The black-and-white version and the color version each carried different notices.

Daily Tohoku was helped by Iwate Nichinichi.
Iwate Nichinichi received page data from Daily Tohoku, and for the 12th printed a four-page edition of 30,000 copies. A paper manufacturing company provided the transportation and at 6:20 the printed papers reached Hachinohe City, where the headquarters of Daily Tohoku are located.
On the next day, telecommunication at Daily Tohoku went down, the page data were stored in a USB memory and taken by a technician driving to Iwate Nichinichi. Trucks for transportation of printed papers also came from Daily Tohoku. The Daily Tohoku’s electric power came back at 22:30, and they printed the edition of the 13th with their own print facilities.
Daily Tohoku sent heavy oil for electric-power generation to Iwate Nichinichi.

The Ibaraki-Shimbun for the 12th was printed in Tokyo, at one of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s satellite printing factories. The Ibaraki is normally printed at another Yomiuri plant in Ibaragi Prefecture, which was affected by the electric outage and could not operate. The Ibaraki for that day had four pages, and the usual number of 123,000 copies was printed. Transportation was supplied by the Yomiuri, the world’s largest commercial newspaper publisher.

The Ibaraki’s headquarters building had cracks in its walls.
Later on, back-up electric power at Ibaraki went off, and the Ibaraki became incapable of running the editing system or transmitting data to the Yomiuri. They then asked help from Shimotsuke Shimbun, published in Tochigi Prefecture in the Kanto region (i.e., outside of Tohoku). The Ibaraki has a mutual assistance agreement with that paper for page makeup and printing. The Ibaraki sent makeup editors and sales department staff to Shimotsuke. The editions for both the 13th and the 14th were edited and printed at Shimotsuke. About 140,000 copies were printed on both days.

Akita Sakigake Shimpo used their own power generator to run their printing machines. The edition for the 12th had eight pages. The paper set three deadlines instead of the usual one deadline.

Fukushima-Minpo, published in Fukushima Prefecture, suffered from a water outage and could not run their printing facility at full capacity. They set an earlier deadline, and the editions for the 12th through the 14th had only 16 pages.

The Fukushima Minyu, another newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture, also set an earlier deadline. The edition for the 12th had eight pages, while those for the 13th and the 14th had 16 pages.

Both the Minpo and Minyu published extras at noon on the 12th, both with four color pages.

The Iwaki Minpo, yet another newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture, was in the middle of printing when the earthquake hit. They stopped the printing machines, causing a delay of three hours for delivery to readers.

Joyo Newspaper, published in Ibaragi Prefecture, could not operate their printing facilities because of an electricity outage. Their headquarters building had cracks in the walls. They used A3 copiers to produce a four-page newspaper. Some 1,000 copies were made and sent to an evacuation center in Tsuchiura City. Some copies were distributed to readers’ households.
From the 13th, Joyo has published a four-page newspaper on their printing machines.

Hokuu Shimpo, published in Akita Prefecture, produced a one-page monochrome newspaper using printing machines for insert ads and distributing papers to readers’ households on the morning of the 12th.
After the electric power came back, Hokuu printed at noon a four-page edition for the day.

<<more excerpts from the same issue of Shinbun Kyokai Ho>>
The Japan Paper Association (or Seishi Rengoukai, the trade association of Japanese paper manufacturers, which includes six newsprint manufacturers) asked the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (or Nihon Shinbun Kyokai) on Monday, February 14, to limit the consumption of newsprint and to try to use a limited number of specifications for such things as thickness of paper, width, etc.

<<still more>>
Newspapers in Tokyo published special editions on the evening of Sunday, the 13th. Normally they do not have evening editions on Sundays.
Also, they have used Twitter to reach readers and to facilitate assistance.
Mainichi uploaded PDFs of their newspaper pages on their website.
Nikkei allowed people to view news about the earthquake for free on their otherwise pay-for-view website.

<<still more>>
NHK and key broadcasters in Tokyo suspended normal programming.
Commercial broadcasters stopped inserting advertisements.
Some broadcasters are broadcasting their live programs simultaneously on movie-sharing sites like “Ustream” and “Nico Nico Doouga.”

<<still more>>
The government announced on Sunday, March 13th, that 117 TV-repeating facilities in seven prefectures and one radio repeater in Fukushima Prefecture are down. The seven prefectures are Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima and Ibaragi.