A Pretty Reliable Information Source: NHK World Japan (In English)

It 3:41am, I can’t sleep and this time it’s not because of aftershocks or jet lag. Truth be told I’ve been uneasy all evening. I just don’t think they’re going to be able to cool the reactors in-time to prevent a radioactive crisis. This is just my opinion of course, I’m not trying to add any more fuel to an already out-of-control media frenzy. I’m trying to reason it out, though. Even if it gets to that meltdown status, and it get to be as bad as a Hiroshima or Chernobyl, these nuclear disasters had a fallout range, right? I think if we’re able to get to places that are far enough away from the radiation zone, we should be okay. When then Hiroshima bombing happened it was a horrendous tragedy for the Japanese citizens, but the whole country didn’t leave. The people that were far away, weren’t affected.

The post I did on what’s real and what’s not sparked my interest in finding a reliable, up-to-date source of information that wasn’t fueled by so much of the pandemonium associated with everything that’s happening right now. So I wrote this to show you guys where I’m going to get some decent info about what’s happening. If you can get past the translators pausing to interpret what’s being said, it good. When events of this scale happen, especially in another country. So much get lost in translation. There is already the potential for misinformation between the Japanese government and its citizens, and when the news is picked up abroad (like in the U.S. for example) things can really get twisted and become the subject of all kinds of speculation, fear-journalism, and so much more. Some of this is unavoidable but, because NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Organization)) is a trusted, Japanese television station, they’ll more than likely get the first accounts of what’s happening. I have been using it to keep myself as informed as I possibly can. I hope it helps you, too:


For those reading this. How are you getting your earthquake information? Is it reliable? I’m not living in the U.S. right now, but how do you feel about the way the earthquake/tsunami/power plant news is being handled? Do you think America is handling the issue responsible in the media? If you’re not from America, do you think your country’s media is handling the story responsibly? Do you think Japan is handling this issue responsibly? Please feel free to be as honest as you like. You can use the comments section below.

Donald Ash

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  • Ryan McGuinness

    Here in England, NHK has a news channel on our satellite tv. So I’ve been watching that. It really is a good channel and they report in English and Japanese. So it’s helpful with learning new words.

  • Matt Fraser

    Dear Donald,

    Best wishes, Sir. I have just seen that there was a 6.1 quake ~40-50 miles north of Tsukuba. Are you guys OK? I have many friends in Tsukuba who work for Astellas research, I am worried for them. Was this something that caused more damage?

    • Donald Ash

      Hey Matt. Still okay here. I was a pretty big aftershock. Here in Tsukuba it registered as 5.0, I think everything is okay though. It’s hard to tell if anything was damaged or not. Astellas is definitely one of the big research companies here in Tsukuba, I understand your concern. Tsukuba’s held up really well, to be honest. The city looks like it hasn’t really changed (aside from the empty shelves at some of the convenience stores and gasoline lines).

      • Matt Fraser

        Thanks Sir. And thanks for this great website. We are in your debt. Be safe! Get some rest!

        • Donald Ash

          I appreciate that, Matt. Will do :)

  • Mony Nation

    Well, I’ve been looking at CNN and talking with friends on FB. I just stumbled across the site you posted the other day. It’s been very informative. I too have many friends and former classmates in Japan. I’ve been worried for them. Thank you for all of your posts and stay safe! :)

    • Donald Ash

      Thank you so much. It’s a tough situation, but I hope your friends and classmates are okay. I’ll try to stay as safe as I can.

  • I saw your comment on TIME online and found your blog. Great website!!

    I live in Tokyo, and have been following up on earthquake news mostly through Japanese TV(I have NHK on right now) and twitter. Freelance journalists and some influencers have been sending out very neutral and logical information on a timely basis through twitter. I also get information from foreign media, mostly American media like NYT and TIME.

    The gap between Japanese and foreign media, as well as the fact that a bunch of expats including my boss have fled Japan made me feel worried. But at this point, it seems like the nuclear power plant is starting to recover and Tokyo is safe. So I want to do what I can to help the victims and revitalize the country. I also think that as long as you live in Japan, you’re going to be living with earthquakes. So it’s really important to be prepared-keep an emergency kit in your home, make sure your house is earthquake resistant (built or reinforced after the most recent earthquake code revision which I think is 2000 as of today), know where your local evacuation center is, make sure there is elevated land nearby if you want to live near the ocean because tsunamis are scarier than quakes, etc. It’s really important to be able to remain as calm as possible and make well informed decisions.
    Didn’t mean to write so much, sorry!

    I hope your local convenience stores start to fill up their shelves again soon!

    • Donald Ash

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback, Yumiko. First, I’m happy that you wrote so much!! It makes for awesome dialogue. It’s good to hear that some news sources are still staying “level-headed.” Things do appear to be settling down, but that stuff with the nuclear power plant could be an issue for some time to come. With every aftershock, I run through my plan in my mind (knowing where supplies and flashlights are, etc.). I am happy that I live in a sturdy apartment.

      Oh and the convenience stores have food!!! HOORAY!

  • Kay

    Hello, Donald. I came to this website from your comment on Time Magazine.
    I am Japanese living in Western Japan. I just wanted to give you a link to the info on radiation exposure at Fukushima nuclear power plant written by a radiation oncology group at Tokyo University Hospital. I won’t give you a direct link since it’s a PDF file. Just click the English title on the following page:
    I find their information reliable and objective. I think they help eliminate unnecessary panicky worries.
    Best wishes,

    • Donald Ash

      Hi Kay!

      Thank you so much for being helpful. I appreciate you providing me information during a time when it was difficult to get access to clear info from here. I’m still a little nervous, but not panicky (anymore). Hoping this ends soon…

  • Matt Fraser

    Hi Donald,

    Can’t seem to find the University of Tsukuba’s radiation readings (were posted to the web on a daily (?) basis) up to the 17 or 19th. Any news about how much you guys are getting, especially as we hear of a spike just recently in Western news sources.

    Take Care,


  • Franl

    Hi Matt , is the power co. So dead set against receiving international.help from well experience. Nuclear engineering response teams ?
    Or is it.a case their are no volunteers because of the danger?

    • Matt Fraser

      Hi Franl,

      Sorry, I was not asking this time about the “big scene”. I am asking about the University of Tsukuba Science Center’s radiation monitoring system. I am concerned about my several friends who live there, including Donald. This system had been reporting radiation levels at Tsukuba, where my friends live. I also monitor the news for the “big picture”, just want to know as much as I can about about my friends.



      • Matt Fraser

        I finally found it. This website gives historical and real time data:


        Happily, things look good!

        • Donald Ash

          Cool, thanks for sharing, Matt!

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