News & Press Release

Overview of Great East Japan Earthquake Survey

Reactions to Earthquake and Tsunami from 88,000 People Nationwide

Survey Overview

Survey Goals

On March 11th, Japan experienced the largest earthquake in its recorded history. In response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, we at Weathernews Inc, asked ourselves what we can do NOW. This stance has resulted in an effort to document and record the observations and experiences of people during this national crisis in order to mitigate the damage incurred both during the recent crisis and in the event of future natural disasters. Thanks to their support and cooperation, we have compiled the following body of information. The results of the survey published below are based on the responses of people all over Japan to the national emergency, including of course people in the areas affected by the earthquake and tsumami. Our goal is for the information shared to be used for developing disaster preparedness and post-disaster mitigation services in cooperation with disaster prevention agencies and individuals while promoting the concept of helping oneself transitioning to “shared help.”

Survey Period

March 14th to April 10th, 2011

Number of Survey Participants

88,604 people nationwide including 9,136 in the disaster areas
(Disaster areas: Coasts of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki Prefectures)

Survey Method

Survey conducted through Weathernews internet and mobile sites, and customers using our Smartphone application, Weathernews Touch.

For inquires about this survey, please contact: Weathernews Inc.

PR Officer:
Ryosuke Ueyama
+81-43-274-5525 FAX:+81-43-274-2130
Nakase 1-3 Techno Garden, Mihama Ward, Chiba
Postal code:

Survey Items & Results Analysis - Executive Summary

  1. Time from Earthquake to Receiving Tsunami Information

    • The national average time to receive tsunami information after the quake was 16.6 minutes.
    • The average time to receive tsunami information in disaster areas was 16.1 minutes.
  2. Media Sources for Tsunami Warning

    • Television was common for magnitude 6 or less. Radio for magnitude 6 and above was more common.
    • Information received via radio was most common in disaster areas (Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi Pref.)
  3. Actions in Response to Receiving Tsunami Warnings

    • 45% of people in coastal areas at risk of tsunami did not evacuate.
    • 33% of people in disaster areas receiving damage did not try to evacuate.
  4. Reactions to Initial Shaking

    • Most people indoors and outdoors waited to see what would happen, and then assess the situation.
    • In disaster areas, most people indoors evacuated while people outdoors assessed the situation.
  5. Personal Evaluation of Reactions to Shaking

    • More than half of the people surveyed felt their reaction to the earthquake was appropriate.
  6. Sources of Disaster Information

    • Most disaster information was received nationwide via television and mobile phones.
    • In disaster areas, information was most commonly obtained via radio broadcasts.
  7. Time Until Making Contact with Family/Friends after the Quake

    • The national average time until first contact with family/friends was 3 hours and 15 minutes.
    • Average time until contact with family/friends in the disaster area was 4 hours and 9 minutes.
  8. Content of Communications with Family/Friends after the Quake

    • Most people nationwide called to confirm their own safety and their family’s safety.
  9. Frequency of Personal Communication within 24 hours after the Quake

    • The national average number of calls/messages at the time of the disaster was 16.3 in 24/hr.
    • In the disaster area, the average number of personal calls/messages was 19.1 messages in 24/hrs.
  10. Trouble/Unresolved Issues

    • At the time the disaster struck, the biggest problem nationwide was suspended transportation.
    • In disaster areas, the biggest concern was obtaining food.
  11. People & Things That Were Unprepared

    • Most people nationwide lacked emergency supplies, survival kits, food rations, etc.
  12. Evaluation of Community Actions During the Emergency

    • During evacuations, more than half of people surveyed cooperated with people in the local area.
    • In disaster areas, more than 80% of people surveyed cooperated with people in the local area.

Please click here to see the detailed results of the survey.