Despite reassurances to the contrary, the Japanese nuclear crisis took on a new dimension yesterday when experts admitted that radiation levels from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have now been recorded at 1,250 times higher than the safety threshold in the sea located close to the exclusion zone. This news comes as the Japanese population become increasingly frustrated that they are not being given the whole story as to the serious long-term effects of the leaks.
Warnings have already been issued to Japanese people not to eat certain vegetables and food produced in the region and six foreign governments have now banned imports of certain products from Japan until future notice as a precaution.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has described the scenario as ‘unpredictable’, while also praising the tremendous bravery of those workers who have been working close to the reactors to try and restart cooling pumps and contain the situation.
Meanwhile, the extent of the disaster remains extremely serious with conflicting stories as to the real damage caused to the four main reactors and what options are genuinely left open to the government to shut them down safely.
While this plays out in front of the world’s media, Japan is bracing itself for the long haul in terms of rebuilding those areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. It estimates the cost of rebuilding towns and infrastructure in the decimated area at more than $300bn.
While the human cost is incalculable, the cost to Japan in terms of lost business, food exports and tourism business will be immense. In addition, more than 10,000 people are now known to have died, nearly 17,500 are said to be unaccounted for and the government is estimating that around 250,000 citizens have now been forced into temporary emergency accommodation.
Asia & Pacific,