The exact moment the Big Quake struck, I myself was lazing on our sofa reading “Kindred” by Octavia Butler on the Kindle my husband had given to me the previous the Christmas. In hindsight, I am really happy I was home at that moment. (Since it meant that I could immediately run to my son’s elementary school and check to make sure the kids were okay. They were, at least physically.)
But what was the prime minister of Japan doing that afternoon?
First of all, it was a different prime minister than the one Japan has now (Prime Minister Abe–2019.) In 2011, it was Prime Minister Kan.
Prime Minister Kan was in a Diet Meeting in Tokyo.
Cameras were on (filming the meeting) and it was caught on video. Keep in mind that this is Tokyo. And the actual epicenter was closer to the Sendai City area. (The epicenter was in the ocean floor which is the reason there was such a huge tsunami.) Sendai City is far north of Tokyo, about two hours away…on bullet train! It’s a several hour car ride from Tokyo to the Sendai area. So you can imagine how much worse the shaking worse for people in the Sendai City area. The city in which I live is north of Tokyo, and Sendai City is north of ME!
There is a warning at the beginning of the video…but I think the video is okay for older (mature) kids. It shows shaking, but does not show tsunami or fire. Everybody is very confused, but nobody appears to get physcially hurt.
At the beginning, immediately after the woman runs to the fountain with her camera, the video switches to Prime Minister Kan. He’s sitting in a chair, apparently waiting, looking at the chandelier.
To be honest, that’s pretty normal behavior for all of us in Japan. Anybody who lives here in Japan experiences quakes. They are part of life. When a quake happens, what most people do (me, too) is just sort of wait—because the quake (until this one!) always goes away after a few seconds. A man like Kan (or any Japanese person his age) has probably experienced hundreds, possibly thousands, of quakes–none of which were dangerous.
Also, because he’s in Tokyo, I doubt he’s feeling it as hard as what I felt. The 3/11 quake was very, very long–it crescendoed. You can see in the video that–instead of dissipating–the shaking increases and the people in the room realize it’s stronger than a regular quake, not the normal kind that everybody has felt many times during their lives.
It appears to me that slightly after the one minute mark is when everybody in the room realize it’s a very serious, dangerous quake.
The video stops in mid-quake at exactly 1:25, then continues after the quake is over. Obviously it’s been editted. I guess maybe people in the room were embarrassed that they acted like wusses, so that part was cut out? I don’t know. I acted like a wuss, too. Not embarrassed to say that.
Then I don’t know…more shaking or something? An aftershock? I don’t know. Or maybe it was the camera shaking. LOL. Because of the break in footage, it’s hard for me to know the timeline.
Prime Minister Kan leaves the room. The video ends.
A word of warning. Do NOT go looking for footage yourself on youtube. Youtube is NOT a child-friendly place, and you don’t want to see things that really you (or I) should not see………