On the one-month anniversary of the worst natural disaster to ever hit Japan, yet another magnitude 7.1 earthquake has hit northeast Japan prompting the government to issue a tsunami warning, although theheight of the waves are estimated to be no more than 50cm.
According to reports, the ground was shaking up and down as well side to side, as the earthquake hit on Monday. It is unclear if the latest earthquake has caused further damage to the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukoshima, although workers there have been temporaritly evacuated.
It’s been a month since a magnitude 9.0 quake hit Japan’s northeast region, sending a roiling tsunami – a tower of waves measuring as high as 23 m in some areas – crashing into coastal towns and killing thousands of people.
[From Japan marks one month since quake – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English]
This one was much closer, much shallower, on land and felt very much stronger than the other 7.1 that struck on Saturday night. That one was 40km underwater. Electricity to the Fukushima reactors has been lost and the cooling water pumps are down.
Sunday a quake struck the Tokyo area, but it was only a baby 5.0. Looking round my local shops today there is still no water available. A new change is that now there is also not even Coca-Cola which had been in supply up until last Friday. I ventured out to Omote-Sando yesterday and was heartened and impressed at the energy conservation efforts. The escalators are off. Over half of the lighting is also off everywhere. The passageways, the train stations, the restaurants, and even the shops are dimmed. No more flashing signs. For now, neon Tokyo is in indefinite hibernation.
Also yesterday, in what the government says will pose no major health risk:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Monday began releasing 10,000 tons of low-level radioactive water from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Monday evening to help accelerate the process of bringing the crippled complex under control.
[From Tepco dumps toxic water into sea | The Japan Times Online]
Today in the Washington Post:
In order for the workers at Fukushima Daiichi to resume trying to cool the damaged reactors, Japan’s health and welfare minister had to waive the nation’s standard of radiation exposure, increasing the level of acceptable exposure from 100 millisieverts to 250 — five times the level allowed in the United States.
Wednesday night, the State Department announced that it would send charter flights to Japan to assist any of the about 600 American family members of its officials who wished to leave Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama.
Kennedy said the charter flights may also be made available to private U.S. citizens who are unable to get flights out of the country.
The National Police Agency released updated numbers Thursday morning: 5,176 people dead and 8,606 missing. But the list of casualties is expected to reach far higher.