On a recent trip to Tokyo I asked all my friends about their experience on 3/11 ( that is the same code system we use for 9/11).
None of them had significant damage in their home or office. A few described bookshelves that fell over and bottles of wine that fell.
Some friends were in tall skyscrapers others were in midsized concrete re-bar buildings still others were in wooden frame suburban style homes.
To me the most astounding reality is that every building in Tokyo is still standing and none of them had any real earthquake damage (parts of a ceiling fell in a 120 year old auditorium). This Tohoku earthquake was 100 times more powerful than the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, which destroyed houses, several freeways and a section of major bridge. The epicenter of the Tohoku quake was about 160 miles away ( based on the hypotenuse) from Tokyo, a little further away than the San Francisco earthquake (120 miles).
I looked at the skyline of Tokyo, rode the subways and saw the vast expanse of the city from tall buildings. I could only marvel at the genius of Japanese engineering that protected this enormous densely populated area.
(I deal with the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors elsewhere).