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Lord Kelvin

1017 The federal consumer watchdog of Russia reported a radioactive cloud approaching the Kamchatka Peninsula. 28 on-shore measuring stations are doing hourly radiation checks. The cloud may reach inhabited areas within 24 hours.

(in Russian)

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #31
Bitter Sea Light

1103: Japan's Kyodo news is also reporting that the four people injured in the nuclear plant explosion are conscious and their injuries are not life-threatening.

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1110: An attempt to explain the risk to the Fukushima nuclear plants following the earthquake: The plants are designed to shut down automatically, which halts the main nuclear fission reaction, but there is a residual amount of intense heat within the system. Back-up generators should kick in to power the cooling mechanisms needed to dissipate that heat - but if they fail, as appears to have happened here, temperatures rise. If this isn't stopped, the reactor vessel itself could eventually melt and leak.

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1112: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says he has spoken to his Japanese counterpart and offered help with search and rescue, and victim identification. He says further details of the UK's assistance package will be announced later.

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1122: A full quote from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano's press conference: "As reported, we have been informed that there was some kind of an explosive phenomenon at Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant, although it has yet to be confirmed whether [the explosion] was that of a nuclear reactor itself. At present, after the talks among political party heads held a while ago, government officials including the prime minister and the minister of economy, trade, and industry, along with experts, are making all-out efforts to get hold of and analyse the situation, and to take measures."

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1125: Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano also said that the current level of radioactivity at the power plant was "within the range that was anticipated" when it was decided that steam would be vented from the reactor to release pressure.

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1128: Car manufacturer Toyota says it will suspend operations at all 12 of its factories in Japan on Monday while it confirms the safety of its employees. One of its subsidiaries, Central Motor Company, has a factory in Miyagi prefecture, near Sendai, which produces the Yaris model.

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1135: Alan Margerison, a British businessman living in Tokyo, describes the scene there as relatively calm. "I went out into Shibuya, one of the downtown areas, it's normally very busy on the weekend. Today there were not as many people around... there were people getting their hair done in the salons, I saw some people having their nails done. I think in Tokyo, people are trying to get back to life as it normally is, but they're also very worried about the news they're hearing."

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1138: From the BBC's Rachel Harvey: "Passing through outskirts of Yamagata. Long queues at petrol stations. Thick snow on the ground."

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1141: Prime Minister Naoto Kan urges people to take "responsible actions", to listen to the media.

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1142: Naoto Kan: "This is an unprecedented disaster that we are suffering."

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1143: Naoto Kan: More than 50-60 countries have expressed sympathies, US President Barack Obama has called.

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1147: Naoto Kan: Safety of people around the Fukushima nuclear plant is our number one priority - first we need to save lives, then we need to make it easier for people in shelters, based on experience from Kobe, he says. After that, reconstruction efforts.

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1151: Damian Grammaticus has just arrived in Sendai. He says there are truly astonishing scenes of devastation at the harbour there, there are shipping containers that have been swept inland and smashed against buildings and trees and rubble strewn across the streets.

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Japan's death toll is predicted to exceed 1300.

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1157: More from Damian Grammaticas in Sendai. "The streets are covered in mud that was swept inland. There are dozens and dozens of cars that were carried along, twisted and turned, and crushed by the wave. The gas and water have been cut off, fires burning are close to the seaside, and locals say hundreds of people died in this area."

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #32
Bitter Sea Light

1202: Government spokesman says the nuclear reactor container at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant has not been damaged, and the level of radiation has dropped following the explosion earlier on Saturday, AFP reports.

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1207: Voice of America's Steve Herman tweets: "In Fukushima-ken. We have 3G mobile sig but no internet access. Most places have no water. Electricity on however."

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1211: More from Japanese PM Naoto Kan. He says the government will do its best to make sure "not a single person will suffer health problems."

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1214: Nick Gentle in Tokyo writes: "I just got off the phone with a friend who lives in Ibaraki, thankfully away from the coast. He's about 150km from the power plant. He and his family are trying to follow the news and warnings on mobile phones as power has been cut so they cannot watch TV or check the internet. They have little water but feel safe because supply lines with Tokyo are still up and his town hasn't suffered too much physical damage."

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1216: Government spokesman Yukio Edano says the pressure as well as the radiation at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant has fallen following this afternoon's explosion.

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1218: It seems clear now from Mr Edano's comments that the nuclear plant building that was blown apart earlier did house a reactor, but the reactor was protected by its metal casing.

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1227: So, attention has focussed over the last few hours on the risk to two nuclear plants in north-eastern Japan, one of which was the site of a spectacular explosion that sent a cloud of dust and debris into the air. But officials say damage from the blast appears to be limited.

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1235: Meanwhile, a huge rescue and recovery operation is under way as Japan tries to deal with the aftermath of Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake, which has caused devastation in parts of the country.

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1252: Japan's Fuji TV has run a screen caption saying that as many as 10,000 people are missing in the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture.

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1254: And Kyodo news has published photos of Rikuzentakata, where hundreds of people are feared dead. They show houses smashed to fragments - a scene of total devastation.

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1257: Peter Old, of search and rescue charity RapidUK, told the BBC's World Service that while most people think of tsunamis as made of water, by the time the wave reaches inland, it is more like a mudslide. "Those people that would have been on the ground are likely not to have survived," he said.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #33
Bitter Sea Light

1305: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Japanese authorities are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the Fukushima nuclear plants. The IAEA has reiterated its offer of technical assistance to Japan, should the government request this.

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1316: Noriyuki Shikata, deputy cabinet secretary for public relations for the Japanese prime minister tweets: "Blast was caused by accumulated hydrogen combined with oxygen in the space between container and outer structure. No damage to container."

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1318: Newsreader on Japan's NHK says: "Right now we are feeling an aftershock."

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1320: Noriyuki Shikata, from Japanese PM's office tweets: "TEPCO's [Tokyo Electric Power Company] efforts to depressurize the container was successful. Additional measures are now taken tonight using sea water and boric acid. "

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1323: From Kyodo news: 9,500 people unaccounted for in Miyagi's Minamisanriku: local gov't.

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1326: The BBC's Rachel Harvey reports: "Have reached Sendai. Downtown looks OK. Power, traffic moving. Couple of patches of glass damage. Train station is closed - yellow tape across entrance. Stopped at petrol station about 40km outside city - rationing. 20 litres per vehicle."

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1330: A magnitude 6 earthquake hit Fukushima at 2215 (1315GMT) on Saturday, Japan's NHK reports.

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1335: Robert works in the Fukushima district. He contacted to the BBC describing his decision to leave the area: "We have heard that some areas of the prefecture have been evacuated, but we were not asked to leave. We were staying some 90km away from the power plant. But three friends and I decided we would feel a lot safer if we moved further away from the plant. So all four of us drove 45 minutes south, and are now staying in a hotel. I didn't see any sign of panic on the roads, there seemed to be as much traffic travelling in the opposite direction. Things are disturbing because there is a lack of information. And as a foreigner it's even harder to work out what is fact and what is hearsay."

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1341: A bit more from Japanese PM Naoto Kan. He says more than 3,000 people have so far been rescued following the quake.

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1344: The Washington Post's Chico Harlan tweets: "Big aftershock right now. Screen shaking as I type."

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1149: A team from the National Institute of Radiological Sciences has been despatched to Fukushima as a precaution, reports NHK. It is reportedly made up of doctors, nurses and other individuals with expertise in dealing with radiation exposure, and has been taken by helicopter to a base 5km from the nuclear plant.

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1355: At least 1.4m homes are without water following the quake, according to government officials. 59 water trucks have been sent to the worst-hit areas. Some 3m are without power and utility companies say it will take some time to restore supplies.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #34
Bitter Sea Light

1401: The BBC's Rachel Harvey reports: "Stopped at fire station on edge of Sendai. Group of fire fighters said they have been looking for people all day. One small team among many, they said."

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1416: In Fukushima residents are lining up in town centres to collect drinking water as helicopters airlift the injured to hospital, Reuters reports.

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1422: A US navy vessel is loading aid supplies in Singapore and will sail for Japan shortly, NHK reports.

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1427: More than 300,000 people have now been evacuated from homes in northern Japan and that number will rise as the government increases the exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Kyodo reports.

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1432: NHK shows images from the centre of Sendai city, which appears to have suffered far less damage than its coastal suburbs.

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1443: Kyodo News: The four workers injured in the blast at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are conscious and their injuries are not life-threatening.

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1450: Two bullet train lines have resumed operating, NHK reports, and local train lines in Tokyo are slowly returning to normal.

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1454: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos says America is "absolutely committed to helping Japan in any way possible". Air Force personnel and Marines based on the island of Okinawa will be sent to help with the rescue effort.

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1459: At least three residents evacuated from a town near quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 plant have been exposed to radiation, both Kyodo and NHK report.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #35
SeoulGamer

1501: Rachel in Narita airport, Tokyo writes: "Right now I'm sitting in Narita airport, where I'll be spending the night before catching my delayed plane back to Sydney. When the earthquake hit I was right in the middle of Shibuya. At first I thought I was going to faint until I sensed the hush that spread across the square, as all the usual music and traffic noise ceased. Despite my continued shock at the devastation, my overwhelming impression is of the admirable way in which the Japanese people have handled the aftermath."

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1511: All available personnel, vehicles, aircraft and vessels of Japan's Self Defence Force have been mobilised for relief efforts, up to a total deployment of 50,000, local media reports.

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1515: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will increase LNG supply from reserves on Sakhalin island to Japan if necessary: Reuters.

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1520: Journalist Mark MacKinnontweets: "Watching Japanese TV, automated alerts warning of yet more aftershocks a regular part of the experience..."

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1526: Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto to attend a G-8 ministers' summit in Paris next week but cancel trip to Britain: Kyodo.

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1531: Paul Ashton in Okayama City, Japan writes: "I have just returned from Kumamoto Island, in the south west of Japan by car. The journey was about 500 km. We passed 50 to 60 Japanese Self-Defence Force vehicles travelling in convoy in the direction of east Japan. The vehicles were carrying huge supplies of water, many large electricity generators, gasoline and large earth moving machinery. The whole country is in shock."

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1539: Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin says Japan has requested more deliveries of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to boost energy supplies: Reuters.

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1549: A five-member South Korean rescue team has touched down in Japan, Kyodo says; the first international team to arrive.

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1555: Andrew Coad in Tokyo writes: "A strange hush still hangs over Tokyo with noticeably fewer cars on the roads. Taxis are operating and trains are getting back to normal schedules. Not such a good story in the stores - shopping today for bread, milk and water in several stores and there was none. The shelves are barren of all the key essentials as well as snack foods. Plenty of beer still, though."

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1602: US nuclear expert Joseph Cirincione tells CNN the full picture of what it happening at the Fukushima No. 1 reactor has yet to emerge: "The big unanswered question here is whether there's structural damage to this facility now. We saw the explosion early this morning. Are there other structural damages that may make a meltdown all but inevitable? We don't have any information from the power company on that."

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1609: The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Sendai: It is a very patchy picture - in the centre of the city there is power, traffic on the streets, but the shops are mostly closed and the place feels eerily quiet. If you drive out of the centre, there are areas in complete darkness. There are huge queues at every petrol station that is operating. I spoke to one man who said he had been in that queue for five hours. Now the station is rationing fuel to 20 litres per vehicle.

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1615: Chris Hall in Tokyo writes: "I'm having trouble getting to sleep as there is an aftershock - small but big enough - every 10 minutes or so at the moment. The quake yesterday was the most frightening thing I have experienced. My partner and I ran out into the street and stood with other people from several buildings. Concrete walls bent and flexed as if they were made of rubber and I still can't believe they didn't snap or crumble. Near our flat there was a gas leak. My biggest worry is the nuclear plant. And it has been hard to get information."

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1617: AFP: Japan nuclear agency rates nuclear plant accident in Fukushima at 4 on 0-7 international scale.

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1622: More information on that figure: The 1986 Chernobyl disaster was rated 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale; the 1979 Three Mile Island accident was rated 5.

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1631: Some more: The International Nuclear Event Scale was developed in 1990 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The rating of 4 for the Fukushima plant incident comes from an as yet unidentified official at Japan's nuclear safety agency, news wires report.

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1640: kobutamama in Tokyo tweets: "My daughter was so calm and strong when the earthquake happened. But now she is so fragile. I am so worried."

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #36
Ten ways to spoil dinner

2352: The US navy's 7th Fleet is assisting with the rescue operation off the coast. A spokesman, Commander Jeff Davies, outlined the fleet's grim task for the BBC: "We have three destroyers that have joined the other two ships in (USS) Ronald Reagan's battle group and are conducting at-sea searches of the debris field. A tremendous amount of debris was washed out to sea following the tsunami and they're going to go through it very carefully and very methodically to make sure that if there are any survivors out there they are rescued, and likewise if there are any human remains that those are recovered."

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2357: That concludes our live coverage for day two. Join us shortly for our reporting on day three.

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0030: Nearly 900 people were killed as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, Japanese national police say.

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0046: A reminder of the situation at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant. The operator has said it is preparing to vent some steam to relieve pressure in the No 3 reactor. Earlier, there was an explosion and leak from the plant's No 1 reactor.

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0058: More on those casualty figures from national police: 642 people are also reported missing, with 1,570 injured. The death toll does not include up to 300 bodies found in Sendai, AFP news agency notes. 3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #37
Ten ways to spoil dinner

0106: The director general of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, says he hopes the actions taken by the Japanese authorities at the power plant will be successful: "The IAEA was informed by the Japanese authorities that the explosion occurred outside the primary containment vessel at unit one and the integrity of that vessel is confirmed. The IAEA has been informed that sea water with boron is being injected into the vessel as a counter-measure to prevent possible damage to the core. I hope that the sea water will be injected successfully and that the safety of unit one will be established as soon as possible."

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0109: Japan has doubled the number of soldiers being deployed to cope with the disaster to 100,00 - AFP.

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0115: Reporting live from Tokyo, the BBC's Chris Hogg says nuclear safety has always been a sensitive issue in a country so prone to earthquakes and the government is anxious not to cause unnecessary panic.

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0116: As you can see from Chris's report, it's broad daylight in Japan now, 1016 local time.

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0120: There are three US warships off the Japanese coast helping with the Japanese government's search and rescue effort, US 7th Fleet spokesman Lt Anthony Falvo says. One of their tasks is to search debris washed out to sea by the tsunami.

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0123: AFP has updated its story about the Japanese military deployment being doubled. It was quoting a government official on condition of anonymity. So that's not official yet.

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0133: If you're just joining us and need a catch-up on the alarming nuclear situation, the BBC website now has a timeline and explainer (

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0139: Thousands of people have spent another freezing night huddled over heaters in emergency shelters along the north-eastern coast. Aid has just begun to trickle into many areas. "All we have to eat are biscuits and rice balls," said Noboru Uehara, 24, a delivery truck driver who was wrapped in a blanket against the cold at a shelter in Iwake. "I'm worried that we will run out of food."

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0140: Robert, in Tokyo, writes: "Big aftershock felt in Tokyo just now. Contrasts with more bustling streets this morning where I live in Itabashi in the north-west of the city." Have Your Say

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0141: Verem11 tweets: "I would like to know the consequences to the world or the Pacific coast if #Fukushima had a nuclear accident type 7 from an expert...#Japan"

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0144: The government, which took power led by the Democratic Party of Japan for the first time less than two years ago, is already facing criticism. "Crisis management is incoherent," is a headline in the Asahi newspaper

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0147: The legal limit for radioactivity has been passed at the Fukushima plant, AFP says, quoting Japan's Kyodo news agency.

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0152: Yaroslav Shtrombakh, a Russian nuclear expert, has told the Associated Press that it is unlikely that the Japanese plant will suffer a meltdown like the one in 1986 at Chernobyl, when a reactor exploded and sent a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. That reactor, unlike the reactors at Fukushima, was not housed in a sealed container.

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0155: A strong earthquake occurred off Japan's eastern coast at 0126 GMT today, the US Geological Survey confirms. It was closer to Tokyo than Friday's quake. Buildings swayed in the capital, AP says

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0157: This new quake measured 6.2 and was centred about 179km (111 miles) east of the Japanese capital, at a depth of 24.5km.

3/12/2011 . Edited by Bitter Sea Light, 3/13/2011 #38
Ten ways to spoil dinner

0202: More on the higher radioactivity level at the nuclear plant. The Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has informed the government of an "emergency situation" but this does not mean an immediate threat to human health, the company adds. A similar rise in radiation levels occurred after the company released radioactive steam from another reactor to let go of pressure. On that occasion too, the company was obliged to inform the government of an "emergency situation".

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0210: Surveying the damage from a road in the north-east, the BBC's Alastair Leithead says the sea is so far away it is out of sight. It just shows how far the tsunami travelled inland, he adds

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0214: The number of people reported missing in Fukushima prefecture is now 1,167, AFP reports, quoting Kyodo

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0217: The latest from Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan: "We've been working overnight to try to recover from the situation. I'm about to board a helicopter to go to the affected areas, in particular the area around affected nuclear facilities. At the moment we have ordered a 10km exclusion zone around the facility. I'm going there with experts from the industry to talk with the people responsible on the ground, and to grasp how the situation is. On this basis we will make the necessary decisions."

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0221: This is probably the worst earthquake Japan has experienced in 1,000 years, the BBC's Chris Hogg reports from Tokyo.

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0225: The unsafe level of radioactivity at the Fukushima plant is being created by the plant's No 3 reactor, AFP says, quoting the Japanese government.

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0228: Just a reminder: cooling systems failed at the No 3 reactor hours after the explosion at the No 1 reactor.

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0232: The plant operator says the top of the fuel rods is 3 metres above water - AFP, quoting Kyodo.

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0235: More than 200 bodies found at Higashimatsushima, police say - AFP. First time I've seen that placename mentioned.

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0248: For those of you with Google Earth capability, there's a new website ( with high-definition satellite images of the affected areas.

3/12/2011 . Edited by Bitter Sea Light, 3/13/2011 #39
Ten ways to spoil dinner

0302: The Japan Times has sobering piece ( on the sheer force unleashed by the quake, with the claim that the event tilted the Earth's axis by 10cm.

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0308: American journalist and Japan crime expert Jake Adelstein has a useful piece on the Japan Subculture website ( detailing the measure people can take to protect from radiation.

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0314: Tepco, which runs the stricken nuclear power plans, is updating its website regularly with technical briefings ( on the status of the reactors.

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0315: In its latest update ( Tepco clarifies the problem with Reactor 3: "High Pressure Coolant Injection System of Unit 3 automatically stopped. We endeavoured to restart the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System but failed."

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0317: The Tepco statement adds: "In order to fully secure safety, we operated the vent valve to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessels (partial release of air containing radioactive materials) and completed the procedure at 8:41AM."

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0321: Robert Murphy in Fukushima City writes: "I feel sure people around us are feeling and reacting the same as we are. They are resilient here, and used to earthquakes, but I have to say that this one, and the tsunami and nuclear incidents, have startled people far more than usual. We are all unnerved, but holding on for fear of making everything worse. That's where the authorities should be stepping in to reassure people that the situation can be kept under control, barring further massive quakes, which we would all accept as none of the government's fault. "

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0323: Patrick Fuller from Red Cross tells the BBC: "The priority is to get medical help to people, but also to continue the flow of relief materials."

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0325: Mr Fuller adds: "You simply can't get into many of these places. It's still early days in judging the scope of this disaster. Every day we're hearing reports of many people still missing. Based on past experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, this doesn't bode well."

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0330: With all the focus shifting to the nuclear crisis and the rescue mission, it's worth remembering that Japan is still experiencing powerful aftershocks. Hirofumi Yokoyama from Japan's meteorological agency says: "Aftershocks are following, one after another, and in places that were hit hard by the earthquake, please be careful of aftershocks because there are dangers of further deterioration of the conditions of houses."

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0335: China says it has carried out checks on its nuclear facilities in the wake of Japan's troubles, the environment ministry saying: "Our ministry is paying a great deal of attention to this huge earthquake in Japan, and has already confirmed that it has had no impact at all on our nuclear plants' safety."

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0336: It may seem slightly immaterial given what has followed, but Japanese officials have revised up the strength of Friday's quake from 8.8-magnitude to 9.0. US officials had measured it at 8.9.

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0342: The Huffington Post ( tries to get to the bottom of the geological impact of the quake, quoting seismologist Daniel McNamara as saying the quake caused the land to sink: "You see cities still underwater; the reason is subsidence. The land actually dropped, so when the tsunami came in, [the water is] just staying."

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0349: CNN presenter Piers Morgan tweets: "Nuclear expert Bill Nye just said situation at Japan plants sounds 'way more serious' than authorities saying. Deeply worrying."

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0352: The news coming from Japan remains bleak. Government spokesman Yukio Edano: "We do believe that there is a possibility that meltdown has occurred - it is inside the reactor, we can't see. However, we are acting, assuming that a meltdown has occurred and with reactor number 3 we are also assuming the possibility of a meltdown as we carry out measures."

3/12/2011 . Edited by Bitter Sea Light, 3/13/2011 #40
Ten ways to spoil dinner

0406: More on the specific dangers of Fukushima 1 plant's reactor 3: The BBC's Chris Hogg in Toky says the reactor is fuelled with uranium and plutonium, meaning the consequences of a meltdown are much more severe than at the other reactors.

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0411: Shaun Bernie, from lobby group Greenpeace, tells the BBC that using plutonium as fuel increases the risk that something could go wrong because plutonium-fuelled plants operate at a higher level. He also says plutonium is far more dangerous if it's released into the environment.

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0419: Possible fusion in two reactors - AFP, quoting government

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0421: If you've just joined us, here are a few pointers about the nuclear crisis now unfolding as a result of Friday's earthquake. The problem centres on one of two nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture, which stand 11.5km (7.1 miles) apart. The plant, Fukushima 1, has six reactors. On Saturday afternoon local time, a hydrogen explosion reportedly hit the building housing the No 1 reactor but the container of the reactor remained intact. Early today local time, it was reported that the emergency cooling system of Reactor 3 had failed. The reactor's fuel rods were reportedly exposed and a partial meltdown was believed to be under way. 3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #41
Pure Evil Breed

0426: Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano says radioactive meltdowns may have occurred in two reactors at the plant - AFP.

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0436: Amid the anxiety over the power plant, the search for survivors goes on. According to Japanese media, in the small port town of Minamisanriku alone, some 10,000 people remain unaccounted for.

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0448: No change has been detected in radiation levels in the Russian far east, which borders Japan, the country's top health inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, tells Interfax news agency. The situation is being monitored around the clock, with experts who tracked the Chernobyl disaster on stand-by if the situation deteriorates.

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0449: Grant Jenkins in Fukushima-Ken writes: "Currently deciding whether to move to a safer distance from the power plant, just to be safe.

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0452: Stephen Swain in Kawasaki writes: "Very quiet in the suburbs. The weather is beautiful and the plum blossom is out - normally one would expect to see many people taking a walk. Today no-one has passed by - perhaps, like my wife, they are worried about radioactive pollution from the Fukushima power plant. Extreme feeling of frustration and powerlessness.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #42
Pure Evil Breed

0517: One of the biggest problems for the authorities is just reaching everyone affected, particularly in remoter regions, the BBC's Chris Hogg reports from Tokyo.

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0521: Photos coming from the news agencies this morning show an oil refinery still on fire in Tagajo, near Sendai.

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0524: Workers are clearing up at an air force base in Miyagi prefecture, after the tsunami coursed through it, smashing up fighter jets and covering buildings and equipment in thick in layers of mud.

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0539: A before-and-after photo gallery on Australia's ABC News shows just how badly areas of the north-eastern coast were affected by the tsunami.

(

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0545: The situation at the damaged Fukushima plant is still developing but Malcolm Grimston, an expert on the nuclear industry from Imperial College London, argues that the Japanese authorities should be proud of their foresight. "Given the circumstances, I think this is an extraordinary tribute to those scientists and engineers and designers who built these plants in the 1960s. I'm enormously impressed at the way in which these reactors have withstood the largest earthquake ever in Japan and one of the 10 largest that we've ever recorded on earth".

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0554: Food, water and fuel are running out in the centre of Sendai, the BBC's Rachel Harvey reports from the city. Long lines of people wait outside any shop that opens its doors. Even longer lines of vehicles block the roads leading to petrol stations.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #43
Pure Evil Breed

0603: Prime Minister Naoto Kan tells Toshiba Corp president Norio Sasaki to take "firm action" in dealing with the possible meltdown at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear plant, Japan's Nikkei reports. Toshiba constructed the facility for Tepco.

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0606: Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker, speaking to AP from an emergency centre in Koriyama: "First I was worried about the quake, now I'm worried about radiation. I live near the plants, so I came here to find out if I'm okay. I tested negative, but I don't know what to do next."

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0628: An elderly woman wrapped in a blanket tearfully tells Japanese broadcaster NHK how she and her husband survived the tsunami in Kesennuma: "I was trying to escape with my husband, but water quickly emerged against us and forced us to run up to the second storey of a house of people we don't even know at all. Water still came up to the second floor and, before our eyes, the house's owner and his daughter were flushed away. We couldn't do anything. Nothing."

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0631: Martin Woodall writes from Saitama, Japan: "There is no gasoline now in our area. I saw one petrol station open but with a very long queue - I have pumped the tyres up on my bicycle. Some heating oil is available which is good as kerosene heaters are a major way of heating especially if the electricity fails. The supermarket is very busy too with many things sold out. I guess no petrol, no deliveries?"

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0638: The Japanese government is warning of the risk of another reactor explosion at the Fukushima plant - AFP.

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0640: That's the No 3 reactor at risk of an explosion, AFP makes clear in an update.

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0650: Despite that risk of a second explosion, the government spokesman says reactor No 3 could withstand a blast in the same way that reactor No 1 did.

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0656: Yukio Edano, the government spokesman who's been giving regular updates to the press, tries to provide further reassurance by saying that the radioactivity so far released into the environment does not pose a threat to human health.

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0658: But the government warns that the shutdown of several reactors may lead to an electricity shortage and force power outages.

3/12/2011 . Edited 3/12/2011 #44
Pure Evil Breed

0702: Nicole Fall in Tokyo writes: "Last night a group of my husband's colleagues panicked about the nuclear reactor situation and decided to head out of Tokyo by train. Some have gone to Kyoto, others Osaka with the intent of being closer to an international airport should the situation with the nuclear reactor grow worse and we need to evacuate from Tokyo too. We are now heading to the gas station to fill up the car, and already have our passports in a bag close to the door."

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0710: Chris Hogg in Tokyo says that among the extraordinary stories to emerge from Friday's earthquake and tsunami is one of a man who was washed 15km out to sea. Japanese authorities are scaling up their rescue operation and helicopters are still managing to find people.

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0713: The BBC's Nick Ravenscroft in Sendai says people are queueing to buy in bulk, but that shortages could be compounded by logistical problems in delivering supplies.

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0720: Kenji Rikitake tweets: "Miyagi Police Dept Chief said the death in the prefecture will exceed 10,000; 379 bodies are recovered as of noon (NHK "

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0730: The overall population for Miyagi province is about two million, with some one million in Sendai. And the population of Minamisanriku, where thousands are missing, is thought to be about 17,000.

3/12/2011 . Edited by Bitter Sea Light, 3/13/2011 #45
Bitter Sea Light

0814: Friday's earthquake is likely to have a "considerable" impact on the economy, the government spokesman says.

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0815: Journalist Mark MacKinnon tweets: "All hotels in Fukushima prefecture have been ordered closed because of water shortages."

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0817: David Samworth, Nagoya, Japan writes: "I am disappointed to read of foreign businesspeople who are readying to flee the country at the first sight of trouble; if you come to Japan to make your livelihood then that comes with a responsibility to your hosts to help in their time of need - and if ever there was one, this is now."

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0821: The BBC's Rachel Harvey has got to within 1km of Minamisanriku, the north-eastern town that was devastated by the tsunami. She says she can't get any further because there are huge piles of rubble that rescue workers are trying to clear.

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0827: The BBC's Rachel Harvey also reported on the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004. She says that the Japanese are much better prepared - they have very experienced search and rescue teams, good public address systems, and there are heavy diggers already working. She says there isn't the same mass of littered dead bodies that was seen in Aceh.

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0837: Noriyuki Shikata, from the Japanese PM's office tweets: "Intentional venting of the air was carried out for Unit 3 of Fukushima Plant I as well to lower the pressure inside the containment vessel"

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0847: The New York Times has a piece on doubts about nuclear energy ( in light of the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

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0856: Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are all halting some production at least until Monday. Honda is stopping production in two prefectures because it says it is unable to source the auto parts it needs, Japan's NHK TV reports.

3/13/2011 #46
Bitter Sea Light

0902: The BBC's Nick Ravenscroft in Sendai says fires are still burning in the waterfront neighbourhoods, mud and silt everywhere. But he says people are beginning to start a clean-up operation, distributing water and looking after the elderly. They're also putting up signs up to try to find out about people who are missing.

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0907: There is a high risk of severe aftershocks and more tsunamis, Japan's Meteorolgical Agency has warned. Spokesman Takashi Yokota said that for the next few days Japan should brace itself for aftershocks of a magnitude of up to seven and be prepared for tsunami warnings.

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0910: Bank of Japan provides 55bn yen ($670m) to 13 banks in quake-hit areas - Kyodo news.

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0914: Colin Walker, Nagoya, Japan writes: "Regarding business people thinking about leaving. If we are talking about the earthquake and tsunami then yes, people should stay to offer help. However, the government and Tepco [the Tokyo Electric Power Co] have been very weak with their info about the nuclear reactors. If they are in a meltdown situation then as many people as can should prepare to leave Japan. Period. This is not a joke."

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0923: The president of Toshiba Corp - which made the damaged reactors at the Japanese nuclear plants - says he has been asked by Prime Minister Naoto Kan to do everything he can to contain the problems there.

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0927: Japanese authorities have lifted all tsunami advisories for Pacific coastal areas, but warn that caution is still needed for any tsunamis caused by aftershocks, Japan's NHK reports.

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0930: Briton Michael Tonge in Sendai says he has seen queues at petrol stations of up to two miles. "People are still shocked but are just getting on with things. The biggest concerns are finding food and fuel," he said.

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0934: An updated picture gallery ( with some of the most recent striking images from Japan.

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0936: Machiko in Mitaka, Tokyo writes: "The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that Tokyo Electric Power company will have power off from tomorrow. One area is supposed to have three hours of power off. We should save power in order to send it to the north of Japan."

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0944: Time for a recap. Attention is directed once more at the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant put at risk by Friday's earthquake. Authorities say attempts to cool the No 3 reactor there have failed, so there is a risk of an explosion. But they're hopeful that if there was a blast, the reactor would be protected by its casing, as they say the No 1 reactor was during an explosion on Saturday.

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0948: Authorities say they think that there wasn't a meltdown at the no 3 reactor - as previously thought - only at the no 1 reactor (see an explainer of meltdown here: In any case, officials are insisting that there is no significant risk to human health at present.

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0951: Despite repeated statements from Japanese authorities, the BBC's Chris Hogg reports from Tokyo that people don't seem very reassured. They're not panicking but they're very worried and anxious.

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0958: Gennaro in Tokyo writes: "My family has bought me a flight out of Tokyo on Tuesday, when the wind will be blowing in this direction, along with rain - the worst combination for the spread of nuclear particles. I would feel guilty about leaving others behind without lending a hand but, like in Haiti, it would mean one less mouth to feed. Unfortunately, apart from offering donations, there really isn't much we can do from the capital."

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #47
Bitter Sea Light

1002: Here's a quote from Naoto Takeuchi, head of the Miyagi prefecture police, carried on Kyodo: ''We have no choice but to deal with the situation on the premise that it [the death toll] will undoubtedly be numbered in the ten thousands.''

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1006: The BBC's Piers Scholfield tweets: "Near yamagata. Queue 2km long outside only petrol station we've seen open."

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1009: Japan's DPJ, LDP parties to discuss tax hike to secure funds for quake relief, Kyodo reports.

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1016: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking after a large anti-nuclear demonstration, has said safety at all the country's nuclear plants will be reviewed in the light of problems with the reactors in Japan.

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1018: Germany, clearly, does not have the same concerns as Japan because it is not prone to earthquakes. But she faces strong opposition from the Green party, and the BBC's Stephen Evans reports from Berlin that this is the first indication of the way in which the whole nuclear debate may be re-framed in many countries.

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1025: The Red Cross/Red Crescent movement has set up a webpage ( to help people locate family members missing following the earthquake and tsunami.

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1032: Japan's NHK TV shows people at a shelter outside a gymnasium in Nyagi prefecture sitting round wood fires to try to keep warm. There are also people checking memos with lists of names on the wall of the gym. Officials say some 10,000 people are unaccounted for in the area.

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1040: A total of some 310,000 have been evacuated to emergency shelters, according to NHK.

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1043: Jackie in Tokyo writes: "The problem I see is confusion about nuclear meltdowns. The media is scaring people, and causing some panic. There's about 50 plus articles, with each and every one of them contradicting one another. If you're not educated about nuclear facilities and meltdowns, please do not make uneducated guesses. The problem here is the people who need to be rescued and the deaths following the quake. I'm 100% positive Japan is doing all they can to stop the meltdown. It's scary yes, but nonetheless we need to stay focused and calm."

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1048: Japan's biggest instant noodle maker, Nissin, says it will distribute more than one million packets of noodles to earthquake and tsunami victims in the north-east, AP reports.

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1052: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is making an announcement: We have been able to rescue 12,000 people, he says.

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1054: Naoto Kan: 50,000 personnel preparing to increase to 100,000.

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1056: Naoto Kan: No prospect of restoring lost power supplies over next few days, and there's possibility of large-scale cuts. Authorities will be rotating electricity stoppages which may affect medical facilities and other services.

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1057: Naoto Kan: Japan undergoing hardest experience of last 50 years.

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1058: Naoto Kan appeals to Japanese people to help create a "new Japan".

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #48
SeoulGamer

1358: The Onagawa nuclear power plant is located near the town of Onagawa and the city of Ishinomaki city, in Miyagi prefecture, which was the region hardest hit by the earthquake. A fire broke out in the turbine building of one the reactors at Onagawa on Friday, but was put out. A water leak was also reported at another reactor on the site.

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1400: Kendra Barua in Yokohama writes:"We are more than 275 kms south of Fukushima but the panic has already started to happen. Gas stations are out of gas, stores are running out of food, emergency supplies have virtually run out and people are evacuating to the south. Aftershocks still continue and the meteorological center still sends strong earthquake warnings to our cell phones. They have also said there is more than 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7 earthquake happening in the next three days. Addition to that, the nuclear fallout is very serious. The PM was almost in tears and we could see fear in his eyes. We aren't even sure if the gov is telling all the truth about the radiation extent. Power cuts will start tommorow until the end of April in most central Japan. Anywhere from 3-6 hours per day is expected. People are in need of true information and the steps they should take without causing panic. Since the Japanese government does not seem to be capable of making critical decisions, foreign help is critical in the decision making process as well."

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1404: As the Japanese prime minister said earlier, the earthquake is a disaster the likes of which Japan has not see for decades. But BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson has made the point that the timing of the quake is a big stroke of luck for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is currently trying to crush a rebellion against his rule. The Libyan story was at the top of the international news agenda until Friday, and Libyans opposed to the Gaddafi regime and calling for international intervention will be worried about people forgetting them.

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1408: The earthquake in Japan is likely to have caused between $14.5bn and $34.6bn damage to property in the country, a risk analysis firm AIR Worldwide has said. Its estimate did not, however, cover the effects of the subsequent tsunami. There would be a "significant increase in the damage estimate", it added.

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1411: The BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo says the rescue operation in north-east Japan is proving difficult. "Some of the worst affected areas are hard to reach. In some villages and towns, many of the buildings appear have been washed away," he says. "The earthquake was the largest anyone here can remember but it was the giant wave of water that followed that caused so much of the devastation. The prime minister has told his people they need to pull together if they are to survive the biggest challenge Japan's faced since the end of World War II."

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1419: The governor of the Bank of Japan has said it will provide 2 trillion ($24bn) to 3 trillion ($37bn) yen of liquidity to the banking system on Monday to keep markets stable in the wake of the disaster and keep short-term borrowing costs down. "We will monitor market conditions and plan to provide markets with a lot of liquidity first thing tomorrow morning," Masaaki Shirakawa said. He added that the bank would also thoroughly consider the economic impact of the earthquake when the board meets for an interest rate review on Monday.

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1424: The BBC's Alastair Leithead has been travelling around Miyagi prefecture. He says: "In one cove along the Pacific coast, everything has been destroyed or swept away. I saw the roof of a factory on the roadside. Its girders were bent like coat-hangers. All around here, there is thick mud. There are piles of chopped-up wood that once formed houses. Cars have been crushed as if they were smashed into a wall. The extent of damage is incredible. There is nothing really left here at all."

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1437: Patrick Fuller of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who is Ishinomaki, one of the worst affected cities, tells the BBC: "I'm at the hospital in Ishinomaki and the situation is dire. This is a town of about 130,000 people. Half the town was engulfed by the tsunami and the scene of devastation is absolute. There are pockets of people who are still stranded. There are others limping into the hospital as I speak. Just five minutes ago I witnessed an elderly lady die before she could get through the doors. The Red Cross is doing an incredible job here. They have had volunteers coming in from all over the country."

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1444: Mr Fuller says some of the local roads are open, but helicopters are still the main way to get to inaccessible areas: "Five miles down the road from here, a bridge was washed away. There are about 700 people in an evacuation centre on the other side. One of our medical teams had to get over there by helicopter to take them three days' food and water, and evacuate the seriously injured. It is a desperate situation here. You don't really get a picture if you are sitting in Tokyo, or even if you are in Sendai. Yes, the power's off and people are facing difficulties, but compared with here it is nothing."

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1447: He adds: "There is a real threat, particularly amongst the elderly here, many of whom are suffering from hypothermia. They were caught in the tsunami, they were in the water, and it is bitterly cold here at night. It is a very worrying situation. Hopefully it will stabilise in the coming days if the power comes back on and food starts coming into the shops. But people are in a deep state of shock here."

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1456: Radiation levels at the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi prefecture are about 700 times higher than normal but are still low, the Tohoku Electric Power Company has said, according to the Maichi Shinbum website. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency dismissed the possibility that the Onagawa plant was to blame, saying it was likely caused by the radioactive substances that scattered when a hydrogen explosion hit the troubled Fukushima plant on Saturday.

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1458: Meanwhile, Japan's meteorological agency has said the wind that is blowing over the Fukushima-Daiichi plant will blow from the west during Sunday night, pushing any radioactivity towards the Pacific Ocean, the Reuters news agency reports. Earlier, the wind was blowing from the south, raising concerns radioactivity could affect residential areas.

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1501: More than 1,300 people are now confirmed to have been killed by the earthquake and tsunami which hit north-eastern Japan on Friday, state broadcaster NHK says.

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1507: NHK reports that the death toll now stands at 1,351. In Miyagi prefecture, 515 deaths have been confirmed in the cities of Higashimatsushima, Kesennuma and Sendai. The bodies of between 200 and 300 people swept away by the tsunami were discovered on beaches near Sendai. In Minamisanriku, most buildings have been washed away and about 10,000 people remain missing, NHK adds. Police in Miyagi say the death toll is almost certain to exceed 10,000.

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1510: Wesley Julian from Tokyo writes: "I was in Osato in Miyagi prefecture when the earthquake happened. I spent three days there before leaving at 0400 this morning to try to reach Tokyo. We drove to Yamagata airport in the next prefecture, waited for 12 hours, got a flight to Haneda, and then took the train to Tokyo. I am now waiting at Narita airport, trying to get a flight back to Richmond, Virginia. I have no idea how long I will be here. All the businesses based at the airport are shut. I am very worried about my best friend. She flew into Minamisanriku just before the earthquake. The town has been almost completely destroyed and I haven't been able to contact her."

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1514: Meanwhile, the Shinmoedake volcano in southern Japan has resumed eruptions of ash and rocks after a couple of weeks of inactivity, Japan's meteorological agency has said. It is unclear if the eruptions are linked to Friday's earthquake.

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1521: The US state department is now urging all non-essential government personnel to defer travel to Japan. It also says Americans should avoid tourism and other unnecessary visits to Japan for now.

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1527: Daniel Millichip, a British student in Tokyo, tells the BBC that supplies are running low in the capital. "Yesterday there were problems with water. There were also problems with getting hold of basic essentials like bread and that's continuing today. I haven't seen any bread in any shops. I've been in about 10 or 15. People are stocking up. They about worried about the nuclear problems, the power shortages. They believe the shops will be closed."

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1532: Japan's meteorological agency has lifted all tsunami warnings for the country's Pacific coast, NHK television reports. The agency has gradually downgraded its warnings since Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake. However, it is warning residents of Pacific coastal areas to remain alert because of the threat arising from aftershocks.

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1534: Byron Kidd in Tokyo tweets: "Can't buy bread anywhere, but we have Mr Donuts lined up for breakfast tomorrow."

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1541: A former nuclear power plant designer has said Japan is facing an extremely grave crisis and called on the government to release more information, which he said was being suppressed. Masashi Goto told a news conference in Tokyo that one of the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was "highly unstable", and that if there was a meltdown the "consequences would be tremendous". He said such an event might be very likely indeed. So far, the government has said a meltdown would not lead to a sizeable leak of radioactive materials.

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1548: Mr Goto said the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were suffering pressure build-ups way beyond that for which they were designed. There was a severe risk of an explosion, with radioactive material being strewn over a very wide area - beyond the 20km evacuation zone set up by the authorities - he added. Mr Goto calculated that because Reactor No 3 at Fukushima-Daiichi - where pressure is rising and there is a risk of an explosion - used a type of fuel known as Mox, a mixture of plutonium oxide and uranium oxide, the radioactive fallout from any meltdown might be twice as bad.

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1553: He accused the government of deliberately withholding vital information that would allow outside experts help solve the problems. "For example, there has not been enough information about the hydrogen being vented. We don't know how much was vented and how radioactive it was." He also described the use of sea water to cool the cores of the reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi as highly unusual and dangerous.

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1558: He described the worst-case scenario: "It is difficult to say, but that would be a core meltdown. If the rods fall and mix with water, the result would be an explosion of solid material like a volcano spreading radioactive material. Steam or a hydrogen explosion caused by the mix would spread radioactive waste more than 50km. Also, this would be multiplied. There are many reactors in the area so there would be many Chernobyls."

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #49
SeoulGamer

1600: At the same time, Malcolm Crick, the secretary of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has told the Reuters news agency: "This is not a serious public health issue at the moment. It won't be anything like Chernobyl. There the reactor was operating at full power when it exploded and it had no containment."

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1606: A pump within the cooling system of one of the reactors at the Tokai nuclear power plant has stopped working, according to the Kyodo news agency. The plant is located in the Naka district of the central prefecture of Ibaraki, and is operated by the Japan Atomic Power Company.

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1609: The 1,100MW Tokai plant, about 120km (75 miles) north of Tokyo, was automatically shut down after Friday's earthquake.

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1618: Laura Shimazato in Fuchu city, Tokyo, writes: "We had an announcement this evening that our power will be cut from 0900-1300 and from 1800-2200. Apparently, this will be happening in all the cities around Tokyo. We tried to buy candles and bottled water at the supermarket but there is nothing left. We are boiling lots of water and preparing food for our seven-month-old baby. We don't know how long these power cuts will last."

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1627: A British search-and-rescue team has arrived in Japan to help find survivors. Peter Crook of the International Search and Rescue Centre told the BBC that the aftermath of a tsunami presented a different challenge to that an earthquake. "Anything that has already been underwater is not going to be survivable, so we will be looking really for the structures on the edge of that damage," he said. "That's a significant difference for us. The tsunami damage is massively widespread as well, so covering those wide areas is also going to be a challenge."

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1633: The International Skating Union is considering cancelling next week's world figure skating championships in Tokyo, saying the nuclear crisis in Japan is "very worrisome", according to the Associated Press.

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1640: The UK Foreign Office says the British ambassador and a team of consular staff are in Sendai, the city closest to the epicentre, to assess the level of damage and to help locate British nationals. They are currently visiting evacuation centres and hospitals. Forty-five additional consular staff are also being deployed to Japan, a statement says. More teams are on standby. "We are working with the Japanese authorities to establish whether any British nationals have been involved," the statement adds.

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1643: The Foreign Office says a dedicated crisis unit has been established, and that its travel advice now recommends against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and North East Japan.

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1646: Takehiro from the Kanto region of Japan writes: "I am 19, a student and living in Japan. When the earthquake occurred, I was in a building on the 4th floor. We hid under our desks and waited until the shaking stopped. Some girls of the girls were crying and I thought about the earthquake in New Zealand. The sides of the building were shaking, for a minute. Most of the metropolitan trains stopped running, so people had to stay at the station or in office buildings overnight. Now, there are still some tremors in Japan. We are facing food shortages. Many shops are closed and people are rushing to convenience stores. Our town and others in Kanto plain are going to have the power cut tomorrow to save electricity. The nightmare is not over yet."

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1651: The BBC's Rachel Harvey has reached the outskirts of the coastal town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture. She sent this report: "All day long the sound of helicopters filled the air as they ferried up and down the north-east coast. At ground level, progress was slower. Patches of main road remain impassable. We were aiming for the town of Minamisanriku, one of the areas worst affected by this unfolding disaster. There were bits of wood, twisted wood and car tires littering the road."

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1656: Our correspondent adds: "We came across some survivors. Yasuchi Sato saw the massive wave building out at sea. He saw it gather speed and smash through the concrete breakwater that was supposed to protect the town. Then, from the safety of high ground, he watched as a torrent of water washed away his home. 'There were about 150 houses down there,' he said. 'Now there are only two or three left.' Tonight, Mr Sato is one of about 250 evacuees sleeping on the floor of a school sports hall. There is no mains electricity or running water. But a generator is powering portable heaters, and volunteers have provided blankets and food. It is not much, but with powerful aftershocks continuing it is a very welcome refuge."

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1702: The Japan Atomic Power Company has said the cooling system of a reactor at its Tokai nuclear power plant is working, although two of the three diesel power generators used for cooling are out of order, the Reuters news agency reports. The plant, about 120km (75 miles) north of Tokyo in Ibaraki prefecture, was automatically shut down after Friday's earthquake.

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #50
Yggdra

0000: Welcome to the fourth day of our live coverage of Japan's earthquake disaster.

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0004: tokyobybike tweets: "Transport chaos in Tokyo this morning as train services interrupted. Despite this few people cycling to work. #japan #cycling"

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0010: Steve Lowe, in Stafford, UK, writes: "I have friends who work at Tokyo Disneyland. I would hope you will publish this as they are going through living hell at the moment. The park itself is closed until 23rd of March, and they were in rehearsals for a new parade. I know that at least one of my friends is ok, as he has posted pictures on his facebook account. But I don't know for others. The roads are all covered in a grey sludge, and cracks are everywhere in the ground. The pictures of devastation are terrible. I just hope my friends are alright."

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0011: It's 0911 local time and thousands of people are waking up after another freezing night spent huddled in blankets over heaters in emergency shelters. The search for survivors - and the bodies of the dead - is continuing along the north-eastern coast.----- 0021: The stock market in Japan has just opened. A few moments ago the Nikkei was down more than 5% or 500 points, dipping below the 10,000-point level. The Bank of Japan has just announced it is pumping in 7tn yen ($85.5bn) of emergency liquidity into the financial system.

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0024: US search and rescue teams are "on the ground" in Misawa, northern Japan, the White House says. They number 144 people and 12 dogs trained to detect survivors trapped under rubble, and have 45 metric tonnes of rescue equipment with them, AFP reports.

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0035: So Japanese shares have plummeted on the first trading day since the earthquake, with the long-term impact of the disaster still uncertain.

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0038: Roy Wilshere, a team leader in the UK International Search and Rescue Team, is in Japan and he and his team are about to join the search for survivors in Ofunato: "We will segregate the area into different zones or sectors as we call them, and go house by house, edging a ready assessment, and just to see if there's anyone there who still needs help. We have been told there's hundreds of people missing in the area - we'll be looking as quick as we can and as fast as we can to help people. But it's been a couple of days already so we do need to get down there - time is of the essence, the longer you leave it the less chance of survival. So that's why we're really in the planning stage now to get down there and start searching."

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0043: Shares in Japan's top car-makers have plunged by more than 10% as investors react to plant shutdowns after the quake - AFP.

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0046: Guy Middleton, in Tokyo, writes: "I think it would be helpful if the British Embassy could provide an up-to-date news page on their website for those of us not competent in Japanese. People require essential information updates on the power cuts that will start, about trains and transport, food shortages, and about the threat from the nuclear power stations. It would also be useful to have translations of announcements made by Japanese authorities. At the moment, it's a question of piecing things together from rumour, English language media in Japan, and overseas media."

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0058: The US Treasury says it's watching markets closely in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami - Reuters.

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0059: Simon Williams writes: "I am from Wales and living in Osaka. I feel bad because we haven't really been affected down here. When I watch the television it is like watching another country, it's hard to believe that it's really happening. After living here for 6 years I know that the Japanese are a strong people. I am positive that they will come back stronger than before."

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0101: The US Treasury says it has been assured by Japanese counterparts that transactions and settlement systems are operating normally - Reuters.

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0102: Sena Sato, in San Jose, writes: "All my relatives live in Japan and they are all right. However, my cousin's house has been severely damaged, yet they continue to occupy it because there is nowhere else to go."

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0105: A damaged nuclear power plant is still in an "alarming" state, Prime Minister Naoto Kan says.

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0108: Just a reminder that Google has a page of useful links for anyone caught in the disaster zone or trying to contact people there.

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0110: Strong tremor felt in Tokyo - AFP.

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0112: The new tremor was magnitude 6.2, according to Japanese monitors.

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0114: The latest after-shock would probably have been felt by many people in their homes as the government advised people not to go to school or work today due to transport disruption and power cuts.

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0134: The tremor struck off-shore 140km (87 miles) north-east of Tokyo, shaking tall buildings in the capital but the authorities did not issue a tsunami alert, AFP reports. It had a depth of 18km, the US Geological Survey says.

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0139: Wa-L Masri in Tokyo, tweets: "I think cellphone's down again. My Japanese friend joined FB yday coz her family decided it's more reliable in such times #japan#earthquake"

3/13/2011 #51
Pure Evil Breed

0149: ?? tweets: "The lucky ones outside of the #tsunami zones are back at their desks this morning in #Japan. This is a resilient nation. We'll be OK."

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0200: Police have confirmed 1,597 deaths to date, not including between 200 and 300 bodies in Sendai which recovery teams have so far been unable to reach, Japan's Kyodo news agency reports. At the same time, some hopeful news has come out of Minamisanriku, the town where 10,000 people were believed to be missing. Kyodo says it has unverified information that "many" residents were evacuated to the neighbouring town of Tome.

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0201: dlefevre23 in Kobe, tweets: "people are basically living on Cup-o-noodle right now. Only 3 stores open in Sendai. #japan"

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0208: Even if the better news about the missing people of Minamisanriku is confirmed it is sobering to read on Kyodo this morning that "tens of thousands" of people remain unaccounted for.

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0210: North-eastern coast on the alert for a 3-metre tsunami - Japan's Jiji news agency.

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0212: Tsunami feared to reach north-eastern coast "in minutes" - Kyodo.

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0214:Evacuation order issued in the city of Hachinohe in the north-east - Kyodo

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0216: Grimmer news on the recovery operation in Minamisanriku: about 1,000 bodies found there, according to Kyodo.

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0218: Column of smoke escaping from Reactor 3 at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant - Japanese TV.

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0220: Sea level has dropped five metres off Fukushima, confirming imminent arrival of tsunami - Japanese TV.

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0221: Urgent: Explosion at Reactor 3 - AFP.

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0224: "Hydrogen blast occurs at Fukushima nuke plant's No 3 reactor" - Kyodo.

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0225: Just to remind you: there were fears of a meltdown at Reactor 3 on Sunday. Also: an explosion occurred at Reactor 1 on Saturday but the core was reportedly not exposed.

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0227: There were two explosions at Reactor 3, the operator Tepco says - AFP.

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0229: An ashen-faced Japanese quake monitor is live on Japanese TV right now saying no tsunami has been detected.

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0231: No data to suggest a tsunami several metres in height, the monitor adds.

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0232: Update on the explosion(s) at Reactor 3: "We believe it was a hydrogen explosion. It is not immediately known if it affected the reactor" - nuclear safety agency spokesman Ryo Miyake.

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0234: Some 2,000 bodies were found today on two shores in Miyagi Prefecture, 1,000 on the Ojika Peninsula and 1,000 at Minamisanriku - Japanese news agency Kyodo.

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0236: The wall of a building collapsed as a result of the blast(s) at Reactor 3 - Japanese TV

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0239: The 600 people still living within 20km of the plant where the explosion(s) occurred are ordered to get inside buildings - Kyodo.

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0240: The governor of Tokyo orders radioactivity levels in the city to be measured - Kyodo.

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0242: Reactor 3 withstood the explosion(s), its operator says - Japanese news agency Jiji.

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0243: Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano has just spoken on TV. Says that water injection at Reactor 3 seems to be continuing, and the containment vessel is still safe.

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #52
Yggdra

0236: The wall of a building collapsed as a result of the blast(s) at Reactor 3 - Japanese TV.

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0239: The 600 people still living within 20km of the plant where the explosion(s) occurred are ordered to get inside buildings - Kyodo.

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0240: The governor of Tokyo orders radioactivity levels in the city to be measured - Kyodo.

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0242: Reactor 3 withstood the explosion(s), its operator says - Japanese news agency Jiji.

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0243: Japanese government spokesman Yukio Edano has just spoken on TV. Says that water injection at Reactor 3 seems to be continuing, and the containment vessel is still safe.

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0247: Mr Edano said major radiation leaks were unlikely from Reactor 3.

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0254: To recap, in the past hour we have had reports of a new tsunami which appears to have been a false alarm, and a blast has wrecked a wall at a nuclear reactor but its containment vessel withstood the impact. We also had reports of 2,000 bodies found on the tsunami-ravaged north-eastern coast. 3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #53
Pure Evil Breed

0328: Seven people are missing and three people have been injured by the explosion at the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant, the AFP news agency reports, quoting an official from Tepco, the company which operates the plant.

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0333: Japan central bank doubles the amount of money it's ploughing into the economy to 15 trillion yen ($183.8bn), according to AP news agency.

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0334:AP quotes the bank as saying in a statement: "The bank will continue to grasp the situation of the financial markets and business operations of financial institutions, and to stand ready to respond and act as necessary."

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0339: USAID tweets: "USAID's Search&Rescue teams from Fairfax County and LA arrived in Misawa #Japan."

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0340: USAID explains what it has sent to Japan in another tweet: "Our teams include 144 personnel,12 canines trained to detect live victims,&more than 85 tons of equipment. #Japan"

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0345: AP reports that Tokyo Electric Power has postponed imposing rolling blackouts, but is calling for all to try to limit electricity use. This tallies with the BBC's Mariko Oi reported earlier, that there had been no shutdown in Tokyo.

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0347: Kyodo news agency reports that Tokyo Electric Power - the firm that operates the stricken power station - faces massive selling orders.

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0351: Full quotes from Yukio Edano on the explosion: "We believe that there is a low possibility that a massive amount of radiation has been leaked. But it is similar to the time when the hydrogen explosion took place in number 1 reactor (which exploded on Saturday). In the case of number 3 reactor, we can see higher level of radiation. We are now collecting information for the concentration of the radiation and the dose."

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0400: Ben Sugiyama, in Tsuyama, writes: "I live in western Japan, very far away from all the devestation but still close enough to be feeling the effects and witnessing the amazing fighting spirit of the Japanese. I just want to say thank you for allowing your live coverage to be shown on the internet here, It has been very comforting for me to be able to follow the news in English. However, I think there is a slight error in your article today - I quote: 'The authorities ordered nationwide power outages after being forced to close all the country's nuclear plants.' This isn't true, in fact the power outages are only affecting the northern part of Japan. We have been asked to conserve as much energy as possible down here but we aren't experiencing any black outs."Have Your Say

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #54
wach

0402: Jane, in Tokyo, writes: "We are still feeling some powerful aftershocks in Tokyo and everyone is on high alert as government warns there is 70% chance of another powerful aftershock happening in capital in the next few days. The commuter trains were completely full and people were being pushed onto the trains by conductors due to the reduced number of trains running from the scheduled power cuts. More people than usual are also choosing to cycle to work if they can. Restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores are low on stock as deliveries are slow, if any. Though there is a strong sense that people are trying to get on with their lives in any way they can."

0405: The central control room of Reactor 3 remains intact after the blast, the Japanese government says.

0405: The central control room of Reactor 3 remains intact after the blast, the Japanese government says.

0409: The Japanese government has just said there was no marked change in the radiation level after the blast at Reactor 3. According to an article in the New York Times, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which is sailing in the Pacific, passed through a radioactive cloud from Japan's stricken reactors on Sunday. Crew members received a month's worth of radiation in about an hour, government officials were quoted as saying.

0411: A tsunami alert along the north-east coast has been lifted, AFP reports, quoting officials...

0414: So what was the origin of those reports about a 3-metre (10-foot) tsunami? It seems the crew of a fire department helicopter reported spotting the wave off Fukushima Prefecture.

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #55
wach

0420: Number of injured in the nuclear plant blast is now known to be 11, the operator Tepco reports - Kyodo.

0427: Officials in Iwate, one of the three prefectures hardest hit by the quake and tsunami, are appealing for funeral homes nationwide to send body bags and coffins. "We simply don't have enough," Hajime Sato tells the Associated Press news agency. "We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It's just overwhelming."

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #56
wach

0441: The BBC's Rachel Harvey is in the devastated port of Minamisanriku, where up to 10,000 people are unaccounted for. A strong wind has been blowing, making the effort to find survivors and retrieve bodies from the rubble hazardous, she reports. There is anxiety in the region, she adds, after government warnings that a strong after-shock, or new earthquake, is possible in the next few days.

0450: Toyota is to halt production at all domestic plants through to Wednesday - Kyodo.

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #57
Pure Evil Breed

0453: John Keeley from the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington has told the BBC the hydrogen explosion was similar to the first blast at the plant: "Japanese officials to their credit have come out here quite quickly and suggested that at least at this moment they don't believe there has been any significant radiological release - we will cross our fingers and hope that's the case. It appears that was the case with Unit 1's explosion, we'll hope that's certainly the case with Unit 3."

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0455: A spokesperson for Toyota says the suspension of work will result in a production loss of 40,000 vehicles - Japan's Nikkei news website.

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0500: Singapore will be testing imported Japanese produce for possible radiation, officials say - Reuters.

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0508: Japanese officials have been reassuring the public that radiation levels at the Fukushima 1 are within legal limits. It was certainly a massive blast, a ball of flame and a plume of grey smoke.

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0521: China's Premier, Wen Jiabao, has sent his condolences to Japan. Usually little love is lost between the two Asian giants, locked in territorial disputes and embittered by wartime memories, but all of that was set aside when the premier spoke in Beijing. "I want to use today's opportunity to extend our deep condolences for the loss of lives in this disaster and to express our sincere sympathy to the Japanese people," he said. "China is also a country that is prone to earthquake disasters and we fully empathise with how the Japanese people feel now. When the massive Wenchuan [Sichuan] earthquake hit [in 2008], the Japanese government sent a rescue team to China and also offered supplies." A Chinese rescue team arrived in Japan on Sunday.

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0524: A Malaysian newspaper has apologised for printing a caricature of Japanese cartoon superhero Ultraman comically trying to outrun a tsunami. Malaysians reacted with a tirade of anger after the Malay-language Berita Harian daily newspaper published the cartoon on Sunday, AP reports.

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0535: Like China, Russia has had difficult relations with Japan at times but it, too, is helping out now. A transport plane carrying 50 rescue workers and equipment has departed Moscow and, closer to Japan, a helicopter carrying a further 25 rescuers has left Khabarovsk.

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0542: Toshi in Kobe, tweets: "We seriously need more help. The real is much worse than reporting. #earthquake#Japan"

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0543: Kyodo is carrying the text of the Malaysian newspaper apology over its tsunami cartoon: "'We have no intention of making fun or to show our insensitivity towards last Friday disaster. We feel sad for the Japanese people who have lost their family members and properties. Our illustrator would also like to apologise for the caricature that has created a controversy. We truly sympathise with the tragedy and once again would like to apologise for the grievances that arise from the publication of the caricature.''

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0555: Going Forward in Kobe, tweets: "Handful of Irish living in worst-hit region 'safe and well' - Frontpage - Independent.ie: #japan"

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0557: Emiko Ohtaki, in Tokyo, writes: "Almost three days have passed since the earthquake happened, but we are still experiencing aftershocks sometimes. Japanese media says that the probability of another quake (magnitude 7.0) to happen within a few days is as high as 70%, so we are all terrified with aftershocks here. The biggest problem in Tokyo is shortage of power. We are having power cuts all around the Kanto area. Transportation services are very limited even in the central Tokyo. Food shortage is a serious problem as well. People are all preparing for future emergencies and buying food, beverage and other living materials. Almost all the shelves in grocery stores are empty... It is my first time to see such situations." Have Your Say

3/13/2011 . Edited 3/13/2011 #58
Pure Evil Breed

0609: The Nikkei index has closed down 6.18%, or 633.94 points, at 9,620.49 - AFP.

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0617: Francis Markus, spokesman for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Tokyo, describes for the BBC the daunting task facing relief workers in the north-east: "The areas which are still under water are very difficult to reach. There are areas which are still cut off, so there are big logistical difficulties. There will be ongoing needs for food and water and sanitation facilities over the next few days and obviously we will have to work very hard to meet the challenge of providing that assistance to those people, very large numbers of people who are in need. It is quite an extensive area along the coast of northeastern Japan and there is an area in which the tsunami alert was only lifted relatively recently so prior to that humanitarian aid workers were not able to get into that whole area. So whole new vistas of devastation and humanitarian disaster, if you like, are being uncovered in those areas."

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0619: Japan's central bank is easing monetary policy in response to the earthquake - AP.

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0625: A fuel tank at Tohoku Electric's thermal plant in Fukushima has exploded - Kyoto.

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0629: Urgent news: Cooling functions have stopped and water levels are falling in Reactor 2 at the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant - Jiji news agency, quoted by Reuters.

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0631: This is the first time today that we are hearing of problems in Reactor 2. This morning, there was a huge explosion at Reactor 3, and there was a blast at Reactor 1 on Saturday. But both of those reactors are said to be intact.

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0640: Miki Otomo, who survived the tsunami near the city of Sendai, tells AFP: "My older sister was in a bus when the wave came behind them. The bus driver told everybody to get out of the bus and run. My sister was able to get away but some people just couldn't run fast enough."

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0636: AFP news agency has just run the same story from Jiji - this is definitely Reactor 2 we are talking about.

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0643: Reactor 3's primary containment vessel was not damaged in today's explosion, the UN's nuclear watchdog says.

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0646: Martin, from Tokyo, writes: "Rather chaotic in central Tokyo. The trains aren't running as normal and despite the authorities asking people to only travel if they really have to, many are still trying to get to work and adding to the chaos. There's talk of fuel rationing, the supermarkets are running out of stock and the electric is going to be cut which will mean no running water. All this, the aftershocks and the threat of a nuclear disaster. It's all a bit nerve-wracking!"Have Your Say

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0650: Japan's government is insisting that radiation levels across the country are safe, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo, but a German businessman has told our correspondent that some foreign firms are starting to move their expatriate staff south - or out of the country altogether- because they don't have confidence in what the government is saying any more.

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0654: Tokyo is open for business as usual, our correspondent adds, but there's a real sense of concern: Shop shelves are empty, and there's lots of rumour and speculation about latest developments at the Fukushima power complex.

3/14/2011 . Edited 3/14/2011 #59
Pure Evil Breed

0700: Thanks for following the latest developments from Japan with the BBC. If you're just joining us, here's a quick summary: About 2,000 bodies have been found in two coastal districts of the Miyagi region of north-east Japan, the country's Kyodo news agency reports. Some 1,000 bodies were found on the Ojika peninsula and another 1,000 were found in the town of Minamisanriku, which was flattened by a tsunami caused by Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake. Many remote towns and villages in the region remain cut off and have had no help since the quake.

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0702: A new tsunami alert was issued by the army on Monday after a large wave was reported offshore, but the country's meteorological agency later said it was a false alarm.

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0704: Technicians have been battling to cool three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant complex - some 250km north of the capital Tokyo - since Friday, when the quake and tsunami combined to knock out the cooling system, prompting an explosion at one of the reactors on Saturday. The government said an operation pumping seawater into the reactors to help lower the temperature was still going on despite the explosion.

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0707: Early on Monday, there was another explosion at the number three reactor, sending a column of smoke into the air. Japan's cabinet secretary said the risk the hydrogen blast had caused an uncontrolled leak of radiation was low.

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0710: Engineers have been working to stabilise two reactors at the plant which lost their cooling systems for a time after the quake and tsunami, leading to what officials believe was a partial nuclear meltdown. Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the nuclear plant, says the reactor container was not damaged by the blast. It says says six people were injured, and 22 have been treated for the effects of radiation.

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0713: Dan Cervi, from Tokyo, writes: "It is right that the power outages are not national but neither are they only restricted to northern Japan. The 23 main districts of Tokyo are not to receive power cuts. But, some places on the edge of Tokyo will do. As well as this, prefectures including Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama and Ibaraki amongst others will receive power cuts. Areas were assigned numbers and each number was given a scheduled power cut time for today. As a result some train lines have stopped or are planning to during certain times. The power cut timetables are daily at the moment so we don't know what to expect for the following day."Have Your Say

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0715: Have you been affected by events in Japan? What do you think of the government's response, and is the wider international community doing enough to help? Do get in touch with your thoughts and reaction by text, email or twitter - we'll publish what we can.Have Your Say

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0718: The business world has been shaken by the earthquake and ensuing nuclear alarms in japan. Japan's benchmark Nikkei share index fell sharply on Monday, ending the day's trading more than 6% down. The Bank of Japan says it is pumping a record $180bn of emergency funds into the country's financial system to try to provide stability - more than double the amount it had announced earlier on Monday. Most of the money will be injected immediately, it says.

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0723: The US Seventh Fleet has moved its ships and aircraft away from the stricken Fukushima plant after discovering low-level radioactive contamination, Reuters reports. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was some 160km offshore when its instruments detected the radiation in a plume of smoke and steam released from the crippled plant. But officials said the dose of radiation was about the same as one month's normal exposure to natural background radiation in the environment.

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0729: Japan's government has confirmed 11 people were injured in the latest blast at the Fukushima plant's number three reactor. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, says the reactor container was not damaged by the blast.

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0736: In the Miyagi port of Minami Sanriku alone, some 10,000 people are still missing - more than half the population - after the massive tidal wave tore through the town. The BBC's Rachel Harvey paints a picture of the devastation from a hillside overlooking the town, describing a scene of total devastation for about 2km inland from the coastline. Part of a hospital can be seen, as well as a government building, where the lowest three floors are all showing signs of the tsunami's impact. Other than that, she says, the whole area is just flattened.

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0738: Blaise Planttweets: "Everyone here is getting ready to evacuate Sendai."

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0744: Japanese police have so far confirmed 1,597 deaths from Friday's quake and tsunami, but the final toll is expected to be much higher. Our correspondent in Minami Sanriku says it looks unlikely that many survivors will be found there. Kyodo news agency reported that 2,000 bodies had been found on the shores of Miyagi region of north-east Japan earlier on Monday. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the area around Fukushima nuclear plant.

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0746: Stephanie Leung in Hamamatsu writes: "I'm an English teacher in Japan from Scotland. Sitting in the staffroom at school and just a minute ago, several Japanese teachers' mobile phones all start to sound an alarm simultaneously. There are alerts and warnings for an earthquake in Nagano."Have Your Say

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0751: Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has described the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant as alarming, saying Friday's earthquake had thrown Japan into "the most severe crisis since World War II". Government spokesman Yukio Edano said there was a low possibility of radioactive contamination from the latest explosion at the plant, but added that the reactor's containment vessel had resisted the explosion. Experts say a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl in the 1980s is highly unlikely because the reactors are built to a much higher standard and have more rigorous safety measures.

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0759: Dr Peter Westaway, an economist with Nomura says the response from the equity markets is in line with what the Japanese financial firm had been expecting, and is similar to the effect of the Kobe earthquake of 1995, which killed 6,000 people. He tells BBC Breakfast the short and medium term impact on Japan's economy - which had been slowly pulling out of recession - is likely to be a drop in GDP of up to 1% by the end of the second quarter, but adds that this is likely to be recoveered by the end of the year.

3/14/2011 #60
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