88,000 Missing in Japan?

The damage in Japan from today's quake is dramatic and heartbreaking.

That is what ABC New (Monster 8.9 Quake and Tsunami Slam Japan, Threaten Region) is reporting that the Kyodo News Service is reporting (I cannot find a direct reference to that story).

The confirmed numbers:

Japanese officials have already found 200 to 300 bodies in a northeastern coastal city of Sendai. Another 137 people have been confirmed dead and at least 627 people are injured, the Associated Press reported.

Kyodo does report a deal toll currently near 1,000:   Japan, triggers tsunami, fires: Over 1,000 feared killed as megaquake strikes

If, like me, you have only been hearing about this on the radio/reading about it today, I would recommend the following video:


Having been in smaller quakes in both California and Colombia, I cannot imagine the horror of a quake going on for ~5 minutes.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Natural Disasters, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    As callous as this might sound, one thousand victims or less from a magnitude 8.9 quake speaks wonders as to the effectiveness of Japanese building codes. In many countries the casualties would have run into the hundreds of thousands.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    The reports that I’m hearing suggest that the loss of life from the tsunami may be considerably greater than from the earthquake itself.

  3. RW Rogers says:

    FWIW, Kyodo News Service is reporting that a 6.6 quake hit Nagano and Niigata prefectures about 20 minutes ago, about 4AM local time.

  4. john personna says:

    It’s a reminder that just because we get fast reports in the internet age, they may not be good reports. Staggering photos here:


  5. JKB says:

    Although the waves outside of Japan haven’t been huge they are large compared to Tsunami we’ve seen. Chile and Peru are at the end of the energy blast in about 8 or 9 hours. It could be ugly there from a tsunami standpoint.

  6. Chile and Peru have had enough time to prepare for the tsunami to avoid all but property damage. Let’s hope they have used their time well.

    Probably best to avoid all damage and injury/death assessments for a few days. There’s no way to get accurate information before then.

    Condolences to all those lost and best wishes for all those remaining.

  7. ponce says:

    “the effectiveness of Japanese building codes”

    Another day for the Libertarians to keep quiet.

  8. tom p says:

    My niece is in Sendai (teaching english at a school there) She was talking to her step sister when the quake hit, was able to say she was OK, but nothing after the tsunami….

    For about 6 hrs we were all on pins and needles, then she texted/posted to facebook/ e-mailed that she survived the tsunami too. (her school is on high ground) via her “Kendall” (WTF… what is it with technology these days? A Kendall works??? A cell phone doesn’t???) I give up (ludite that I am) (I called my wife, a computer geek, at 5;45 am to say, “Hey, find out what you can.” cause I was going to be on a jobsite all day.

    “the effectiveness of Japanese building codes”

    Ponce, this is probably why I still have a neice, not to mention their disaster preparedness….

  9. tom p says:

    PS: I have not even looked at anything she has posted (because I am a ludite), so all I can say is “BETH IS ALIVE!!!!” and she is a ray of sunshine wherever she go’s. A buddy of mine was her biology teacher in high school and he went “above and beyond the call of duty” getting her scholarships….

    and THEN asked me if she was my niece.

    Some people are truly special, Bethany is one of them.

  10. ponce, way to use a human tragedy to reinforce your prejudiced — and wrong — bullshit. You are utterly disgusting. You really need to get a dictionary and stop confusing libertarianism with anarchy.

    tom p, I think you know better.

  11. tom p says:

    tom p, I think you know better.

    Just exactly what am I to know better Charles???

    My niece just went thru an 8.9 richter earthquake…. AND a tsunami of 20 to 30 feet…

    and you think the free market saved her????

    What world do you live in?

  12. Almost certainly, but what’s the point of arguing about it?

  13. michael reynolds says:


    On the contrary, Charles, I deeply deeply want you to explain.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    How is using this tragedy to reinforce one’s views against libertarianism any different than using this tragedy to reinforce one’s views for the free market…

  15. Franklin says:

    Way to come together folks. :/

    In defense of Charles, there’s certainly technology used to save lives (from building design to communication equipment) that was developed on the free market. But identifying a risk and enforcing usage of such technology to protect lives against said risk is, to me, a legitimate function of government.

    The fact that some Republicans want to cut tsunami warning funding in their current budget proposals is pure failure. I’m sure their counter-argument is that nobody should live anywhere near the coast. They probably also shouldn’t live in tornado alley. Or where lightning might strike. Or where snow may fall.

  16. Not interested in the usual banter here now. Can’t we just give it a rest?

    I’m happy for tom p that his niece is ok. I hope the days ahead aren’t too rough for her and all those around her as so much has been destroyed. Not that it matters, but my ties to Japan are probably closer than all but perhaps a couple of you. This is a difficult time and any help any of us can provide will surely be appreciated.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    Don’t worry, the government of the United States will provide help using the money it has stolen by means of taxation. Numerous other governments will also offer help. They get their money the same way, I believe.

    Had the Japanese government been a bit more libertarian the death toll would be far greater.

    And yes, in answer to the inevitable question, this is the time to make the point that government is vital, and that taxes paid to support government are not theft but the necessary price we pay for civilization.

    The Japanese people are strong. They’ll get through this. They’ve been through worse.

  18. tom p says:

    For the record: my niece continues to be OK, she is staying at the school she teaches at. I have no idea if she has enuf food, or water. I doubt she has had a bath or defecated in a working toilet

    I’m happy for tom p that his niece is ok. I hope the days ahead aren’t too rough for her and all those around her as so much has been destroyed.

    Charles, I appreciate the good thoughts

  19. tom p says:

    she has now been evauated to an Army base (trying to find out which) because of the Nuclear reactor situations….

    But hey, now she has hot water and electricity!!!!!

    Whooo hoooooo!!!!!