Sure, there was no hope for any type of early warning system, since this looks again like one of my 'super quakes' with a punching rupture, right under peoples' feet. There was an observation that the ground motion in some areas was almost totally vertical. So much for the old '2/3 of horizontal' rule!
The good news is that modern buildings stood up very well. They probably had a decent rock foundation in this mountainous country. You can see the pictures of all the rock landslide damage. At least Japan usually has some decent seismic monitoring, and we'll learn something, if they decide to tell anybody anything. Unlike that last earthquake that hit the nuclear station!
But once again, I think these 'early warning systems' are a pipe-dream.