Japan rocked by earthquake

Japan rocked by earthquake

By Rob Crossley

March 11th 2011 at 10:44AM

Games businesses seized by shock quake; buildings evacuated as trading falls

Japan is battling with a massive tsunami sweeping through the country after experiencing one of the biggest earthquakes in its history.

Last night an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck the north-east coast of Japan – it is the country’s biggest earthquake since records began, state officials said.

A tsunami warning has been issued to virtually the entirety of nations bordering the Pacific ocean, from the Philippines to Hawaii, the Pacific coast of Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand.

Over 20 countries are bracing for a possible tsunami.

In Japan, the Nikki 225 fell 1.725 per cent as trade seized. Nikkei futures fell 3 per cent.

Japan’s game development industry is centred at the south-east of the country, in cities such as Tokyo. These areas have not been affected by the engulfing tsunami, though the quake has sparked fires and has left buildings without power.

[Image – Earthquake epicentre / Japanese studios]

Many Japanese businesses ground to a halt after the destruction of the earthquake became apparent. Offices were evacuated.

Masahiro Sakurai, at Nintendo’s Project Sora outfit in Tokyo took images of a deserted business district in Tokyo.

Live updates of the story can be found on the BBC website, or Google News.

[Image – Tokyo, taken from Masahiro Sakurai in his Nintendo office]

Japanese developers such as Hideo Kojima, Goichi Suda and Fumito Ueda have issued messages to assure of their safety.

Phone and power lines have been cut in many areas across the country.

According to a report in news site Kotaku: “One Japanese game exec apparently rescued a helpless person”.

Suda, of Grasshopper Manufacture told his team to either take refuge or return to their homes, according to Kotaku.