Currently, I am in contact with several individuals near the Fukushima Prefect, including citizens as near as 25 km from Fukushima proper. They report that there are gasoline shortages. Some gasoline vendors have completely ran out of fuel.
One Japanese citizen expressed gratitude for the aid of US Marines, saying "Many lives have been lost. Many Japanese are grateful for the rescue by U.S. forces and for the unity of the hearts of people worldwide."
Another remarked that she felt safe, even though she was located just 38 km from the Fukushima power plant, because it was confirmed that Fukushima 1 and 3 had not achieved complete meltdown. She went on to say that she still wondered if she needed to leave the area and "escape."
Yet another Japanese citizen praised the Self-defense forces saying that they have saved 10,000 lives that would have otherwise been lost.
I also spoke with a student from Kamaishi high school who has information from a friend directly in the disaster area. He will forward the story from his friend when he again achieves communication.
NOTE: I will update this article periodically over the next 24 hours, so please check back for further updates directly from Japan.
UPDATE #1 3/14 2:34 am - Many of the schools being used for shelters are full. They are looking for shelters to house the displaced. Additionally, fresh water supplies are very low in some areas. The local authorities are doing a good job of getting information out to citizens, showing them how to flush toilets and conserve water supplies.
I spoke with a Japanese citizen who is frustrated the US media is focused on the negative aspects of the disaster, but is not emphasizing the positive rescues, evacuations and life-saving actions.
I have a lot of conversations saved at this point and hope to report more positive results tomorrow morning.
UPDATE #2 3/14 11:37 AM - I have had the privilege of speaking with a gentleman named Yuki who has been frantically searching for his daughter. She was able to reconnect with him after gaining access to a cell phone with twitter capabilities. THis is further evidence that many positive rescues and reunions are going on this very minute.
Here is an update from the young Japanese citizen I spoke of last night: (I have tried to leave this letter as unedited as possible, to preserve the author's original intent.)
"We three seek persons who live in Kamaishi where massive Tsunami attacked in 2011-03-11. One is my High school classmate @takako_shimizu and anoter is Kotoe and the other is me.We are from same high school named South-Kamaishi High School there is in Kamaishi. And we have the same aim of finding our precious person.
I recorded missing and safety informations of my friends on the site "person finder." Google provided and tweeted it. Soon, Takako Shimizu followed me and she said she recorded the site, too. It's been a long time since we talked with our missing friends. At the same time, Kotoe mailed me for asking tell more information about Kamaishi. And she said she was going to the disaster zone Kamaishi from Tokyo on 2011/03/13 in the early morning. I can't help admiring her bravery.
Kotoe emailed me about the report of the Kamaishi situation and asked me to spread her report. I twittered her brave action and the report. The information is very useful for everyone who seek missing person in Kamaishi. So, my follower gradualy increased and became almost doubled. Many followers looks like new comer in twitter. We japanese wanted to get more and more information so we try to any kind of methods. I got good news of someone's safety information. Many followers put missing person informations to me and cooperate with finding people, you know.
And finally, precious person of mine was found (Kazuteru Yamamoto and his family: they treat me as family in Kamaishi). I talk with my missing person via mobilephone. I was crying with joy! Good news continues as takako shimizu found loved missing persons, too. One is her childhood friend and the other is her High school friend. But Kotoe's familiy is still missing.
We pray for her family's safety harder and harder."
In this disaster, I am proud of the Japanese people. Now, Japanese have stood strong, overcoming the worst disaster in the world. All Japanese appreciate your supports in the US and are encouraged by your admiration of us."
UPDATE #3: My twitter contact nearest Fukushima is no longer posting.
More to follow