Nightly News | March 11, 2011
>> japanese television news are anchoring their broadcasts wearing hard hats because of falling debris in their newsrooms and studios. but japanese television also played a crucial role in this disaster, broadcasting 30 seconds advance warning and blanket coverage since the opening moments of the quake. our nbc news tokyo bureau chief continues our coverage. i heard you in the middle of the night u.s. time on msnbc's live coverage say you were watching television, you got notice, which is very rare, enough time, 30 seconds, to take cover or leave structures for some people.
>> reporter: that's right, brian. we were watching the parliamentary session and on the screen flashed a warning saying a big earthquake was hitting japan. shortly after that, 30 seconds afterwards, we started to feel the shake. the shake was so -- got to be so big that you couldn't stand without losing your balance.
>> it's hard to see a beautiful sunny day on the side street where we've set up shop, but is the rest of the country in kind of a state of suspended animation? i've seen pictures of the bullet train just frozen in place on its tracks.
>> reporter: yeah, that's correct. people are still stranded in train stations , even here in tokyo . people are still dazed. especially since we don't know the full scale of the damage that the tsunami earthquake has caused.
>> and in tokyo itself, we saw buildings absolutely swaying back and forth. the damage, of course, much less in the city than it is in the agricultural zone to the north, correct?
>> reporter: that's correct, that's correct. but the buildings did shake quite a bit here.
>> our long-time bureau chief in tokyo , we'll be relying on you as part of our coverage in the days and weeks. thank you very much after a long night for being with us.