Norwich man tells of Japan earthquake trauma

A Norwich man has told how he feared he would die during the devastating earthquake in Japan.

Geoffrey Tudor, 67, was on an underground train stopped at a station in Tokyo when the first earthquake of the day hit on Friday, at 2.48pm Japanese time.

He said: 'I was aware of an alarm buzzing and then the train started rocking like a ship in a gale. Everybody got off the train, but the platform was vibrating. I thought that the underground station was about to collapse and that we would all die.

'I decided to get out of station and get into the open air. Hundreds of people in nearby offices did the same. With the subway stopped I didn't know what to do. My mobile phone did not work, but my wife was working at the local town hall so I knew she would be okay.'

Mr Tudor, who attended City of Norwich School and lived in Norwich until his early 20s, said there were two massive after-shocks in the next 45 minutes. He took a taxi to the Press Club building, which was a more secure building, and stayed there until the subways re-opened about six hours later.

Mr Tudor, who works as an aviation consultant and writes for a transport industry magazine, said: 'With no trains, Tokyo's commuters were stuck. Hotels were suddenly fully booked and the waiting time at central Tokyo taxi stands was about five hours.'

He added: 'The major damage is to the north-east of Tokyo and we are safe. But there are many communities that have suffered tremendously.'

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Duncan Walsh, 29, moved to Japan from Swanton Novers, near Fakenham, in 2004, and was in his Tokyo apartment when the massive quake hit. He and his brother Selwyn, who also lives in Tokyo, are well-known in Norfolk for being in the indie-rock group The Watanabes. They were due to release their new album on Saturday before heading on a tour around the country, but all plans have been put on hold.

He said: 'It got bigger and bigger and it lasted a really long time. I have never felt an earthquake of that magnitude or duration.'

Do you know anyone who has been affected by the disaster in Japan? Phone the newsdesk on 01603 772443 or email