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Japan | Quake Aftermath | Video Coverage

Japan continues to battle disaster and hardship after a ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed the eastern coast of Honshu on Friday. Thousands are feared dead, as the force of nature swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Powerful aftershocks continue to rock the island nation and the emerging threat of nuclear accidents from disaster-crippled reactors adds a fearsome new dimension to the situation.

  • Canadians in Japan who are in need of assistance are encouraged to contact the Embassy of Canada in Tokyo. Callers may experience difficulties reaching the Embassy due to problems with local infrastructure. In such cases, Canadians can contact the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at (613) 996-8885 or via e-mail at
    by Heather Loney edited by Global National 3/11/2011 2:52:31 PM
  • Over 21,000 dead or missing in quake-hit Japan: police

    TOKYO, March 21, Kyodo

    The death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan and the number of those reported missing came to a combined total of 21,911 as of noon Monday, the National Police Agency said.

    The number of deaths reported in a total of 12 prefectures came to 8,649, while people reported by their relatives to be missing climbed to 13,262 in six prefectures. Police have identified about 4,080 bodies, including 2,990 returned to their families, the agency said.

    A total of about 340,000 evacuees, including those who fled from the vicinity of the troubled nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture, are now staying at some 2,070 shelters set up by 16 prefectures.

    ''Until now, we have asked (relief workers) to prioritize rescuing afflicted people. We now want them to give priority to assisting people who are living in the shelters,'' Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai told reporters after calling at a Ground Self-Defense Force camp in Sendai, the local capital, to encourage troops on a disaster mission.
  • Radioactive materials detected in water

    Japan's health ministry is urging the people of a village in Fukushima Prefecture not to drink the tap water, in which higher levels of radioactive materials were detected on Sunday. The Ministry says, however, that drinking it does not pose any immediate health risk.

    Tap water tested at Iitate Village in Fukushima Prefecture showed more than triple the level of radiation allowed by the government.

    The health ministry says 965 becquerels of iodine-131 were detected in the water, which is 3.2 times the standard. The legal standard is 300 becquerels per kilogram.

    It says residents can use the water for washing and bathing, and that drinking it has no immediate effect on human health.

    But as a precaution, the ministry has urged about 3700 residents of the village to avoid drinking the tap water.

    On the matter of higher levels of radiation than the legal standard detected in vegetables produced in Gunma, Tochigi, and Chiba prefectures, the health ministry said these are not of levels that could affect one's health immediately.

  • A teen boy and his grandmother were recovering in a hospital in Japan after being rescued from their quake-damaged home. The pair had survived for nine days in the wreckage before being rescued. (Courtesy Associated Press)

  • Work to restore power halted as smoke seen at No. 3 reactor

    Work to connect power cables to the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors was temporarily halted Monday at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, after grayish and blackish smoke was billowing from the building of the No. 3 reactor, the plant operator said.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it had briefly evacuated its workers after the smoke was spotted at the southeast of the building around 3:55 p.m. The government's nuclear safety agency said no injuries were confirmed in the incident and that there have been no major changes in the radiation levels at the site.

    The amount of smoke later decreased, but it was still rising above a pool housing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 3 reactor as of 5:15 p.m., according to TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. The level of pressure in the No. 3 reactor's containment vessel also did not change dramatically, they added.
  • Spinach, milk may be restricted

    The government is considering restricting shipments of spinach and milk from certain areas near the quake-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant because radiation stronger than permissible standards has been detected in those products.

    Radioactive substances exceeding national standards have been detected in samples of spinach from Ibaraki Prefecture and of raw milk from Fukushima Prefecture, the government said late Saturday.

    If shipments of spinach from Ibaraki Prefecture are restricted, it could affect consumers in the Tokyo metropolitan area because the prefecture's spinach makes up about 30 percent of all spinach sold in Tokyo's major markets.

    Although the government has said that the detected levels of radiation do not pose any immediate risk to human health, the public strongly expects the government to keep it informed, to protect people's health and prevent groundless rumors from spreading.

    The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said the value of agricultural production in Ibaraki Prefecture stood at 417 billion yen, second behind Hokkaido.

    Daily Yomiuri Online

  • A train car remains over a graveyard in Onagawa, northern Japan, Monday, March 21, 2011, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

  • The breakwater, center, at Kamaishi port remains broken after the March 11 earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the east coast in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaname Yoneyama)

  • Workers repair the railway tracks damaged by the March 11 earthquake in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Yukie Nomura)

  • Factbox: Japan disaster in figures

    The following is a list of the likely impact of and response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, and subsequent crisis at nuclear power plants.


    * The death toll is difficult to forecast.

    A total of 8,805 people were confirmed dead by Japan's National Police Agency as of evening on Monday, while 12,654 were reported missing.


    * A total of 319,121 people are in shelters around the country as of Monday evening after being evacuated, the National Police Agency of Japan said.

    The government expanded the evacuation area around a quake-stricken nuclear plant in northeastern Japan to a 20-km radius from 10 km on March 12. Since then, around 177,500 residents have evacuated from the zone.

    The government has also told people within 30 km of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, some 240 km north of Tokyo, to stay indoors.


    * A total of 220,871 households in the north were without electricity as of Monday evening, Tohuku Electric Power Co. says, down from 242,927 on Sunday.


    * At least 880,000 households in 11 prefectures were without running water as of Monday, the Health Ministry says, down from 1.02 million on Sunday.


    * At least 14,697 buildings have been completely destroyed, the National Police Agency of Japan says on Monday.

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  • Just as Japan shows more signs of averting a nuclear meltdown, there are new concerns over food contamination. Global National's Jas Johal reports from Tokyo.

  • RT @rwesthead: RT @nprnews: Radioactive Milk Only A Danger After 58,000 Glasses
  • Gov't orders 4 prefectures to suspend some food shipments

    The government ordered Fukushima and three other prefectures Monday to suspend shipments of spinach and another leaf vegetable following the detection of radioactive substances in the produce at levels beyond legal limits, while trace amounts of radioactive substances were detected in tap water samples collected Sunday and Monday in nine prefectures.

    High levels of radioactive substances were also detected in seawater near a troubled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. The company said it is too early to assess the impact on fishery products.

    While issuing the orders to Fukushima and its surrounding prefectures -- Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma -- in accordance with a nuclear disaster law, the government's nuclear disaster countermeasure headquarters also asked Fukushima to refrain from shipping raw milk.

    Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said the readings for radioactive substances found in the farm produce were at levels exceeding provisional limits set under the Food Sanitation Law but ''aren't readings that would affect humans.''
  • Gov't has yet to determine radiation impact on seafood products: Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary (11:20 JST)
  • Work to restore power delayed as smoke seen at Fukushima reactors

    Work to restore power and key cooling functions to the troubled reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was marred Monday by smoke that rose from the buildings housing the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, the plant operator said.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government's nuclear safety agency said operations to revive power systems and spray massive coolant water onto overheating spent nuclear fuel pools will likely resume Tuesday after the utility observes the situation at the site.

    TEPCO said it had briefly evacuated its workers after grayish and blackish smoke was seen at the southeast of the No. 3 reactor building around 3:55 p.m. above a pool storing spent nuclear fuel, though a blast was not heard.

    The smoke stopped after 6 p.m., but TEPCO subsequently found that white smoke was rising through a crack in the roof of the building that houses the No. 2 reactor at around 6:20 p.m. The utility said later the smoke was believed to be steam, not from the reactor's core or spent fuel pool.
  • In Ishinomaki, news comes old-fashioned way: Via paper

    ISHINOMAKI, Japan — Nobody tweeted or blogged or e-mailed. They didn’t telephone either. Bereft of electricity, gasoline and gas, this tsunami-traumatized city did things the really old-fashioned way — with pen and paper.

    Unable to operate its 20th-century printing press — never mind its computers, Web site or 3G mobile phones — the city’s only newspaper, the Ishinomaki Hibi Shinbun, wrote its articles by hand with black felt-tip pens on big sheets of white paper.

    But unlike modern media, the method worked.

    “People who suffer a tragedy like this need food, water and, also, information,” said Hiroyuki Takeuchi, chief reporter at the Hibi Shinbun, an afternoon daily. “People used to get their news from television and the Internet. But when there is no light and no electricity, the only thing they have is our newspaper.”

    While recent political ferment across the Arab world has trumpeted the power of new media, the misery in Japan, one of the world’s most wired nations, has rolled back the clock. For a few days at least, the printed and handwritten word were in the ascendant.

    After writing and editing articles, Takeuchi and others on staff copied their work onto sheets by hand for distribution to emergency relief centers housing survivors of Japan’s worst-ever earthquake and deadly tsunami that followed.

    Washington Post
  • The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, says he is starting to see positive developments in Japan's efforts to stabilize a crippled nuclear power plant.               

    Tokyo Electric Power Company says its nuclear power plants in Fukushima were hit by a 14-meter-high tsunami. That was more than double the maximum expectation.  
  • People gathered next to the body of a boy in Takata Junior High School, in Rikuzentakata.
    (Shinjo Fukada/International Herald Tribune)

  • Japanese Town Holds On to Hope

    RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan — On the afternoon of Friday, March 11, the Takata High School swim team walked a half-mile to practice at the city’s nearly new natatorium, overlooking the broad sand beach of Hirota Bay.

    Japanese evacuees checked a board with names of the missing inside a shelter in the town of Rikuzentakata, where 775 people were killed, officials said Monday.

    That was the last anyone saw of them. But that is not unusual: in this town of 23,000, more than one in 10 people is either dead or has not been seen since that afternoon, now 10 days ago, when a tsunami flattened three-quarters of the city in minutes.

    Twenty-nine of Takata High’s 540 students are still missing. So is Takata’s swimming coach, 29-year-old Motoko Mori. So is Monty Dickson, a 26-year-old American from Anchorage who taught English to elementary and junior-high students.

    Life goes on here, as much as life can go on in a place where 4 in 10 people live in camps, their old lives gone forever. But many in Rikuzentakata seem to exist in suspended animation, clinging to fantasies of a family-reuniting miracle, but bracing for the worst.
  • Below the waves, you can see the wreckage of an uprooted truck destroyed by the earthquake minutes earlier. (The Independent/AP Photo)

  • 21 March 2011, IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, today reported to the Agency's Board of Governors, following his trip to Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and other senior officials, to discuss the current nuclear safety emergency. The Director General also held meetings with senior executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi. A team of IAEA radiation monitoring experts travelled to Japan with Director General Amano. (Courtesy IAEAVideo)

    21 March 2011, IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, today reported to the Agency's Board of Governors, following his trip to Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and other senior officials, to discuss the current nuclear safety emergency.
    The Director General also held meetings with senior executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi.
    A team of IAEA radiation monitoring experts travelled to Japan with Director General Amano. (Courtesy IAEAVideo)

  • Charity knows no limits when disaster strikes

    The disaster that struck northeastern Japan on March 11 shook members of the nation's foreign community in different ways.

    Some booked seats on the next flight out; others decided to stay put.

    Mako Hayashi was immediately on the phone, frantic to find a community where hot food was needed. She planned to deliver stir-fried vermicelli rice noodles and "mabo-dofu" tofu in chili-spiced sauce to needy people.

    A long-time Tokyo resident, Hayashi hails from Taiwan. Her Chinese name is Rin Jyu-zu. She is a volunteer for the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist charity organization based in Hualien, Taiwan.

    The organization claims 30,000 members in 40 countries, the majority distributed in Chinese-speaking nations. Almost 90 percent of the group's members are women, as is their spiritual leader, the nun Cheng Yen, who founded the Buddhist Compassion Relief Foundation in 1966.

    Nearly 200 members make up the Japan chapter, almost all of whom are married to Japanese.

    "This country has supported us, and we've been able to build lives here," says Hayashi. "At a time like this we're desperate to give something back."

    Asahi Shimbun

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