The situation with the nuclear reactor in Fukushima continues to roll on. TEPCO and the government have some control mechanisms in place but the threat from radiation remains in the area. Elsewhere, we are beginning to get news about how relief efforts are going (or not) in tsunami-affected regions, while the economy changes gear and Tokyo adapts to life after the quake.
This week’s top stories:
TEPCO has announced that there will be no rolling blackouts over the weekend. The combined energy saving of businesses and individuals in the Tokyo area is keeping the electric power usage below the available total.
The largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party in a policy shift is considering an idea sounded out by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan to form a grand coalition government following the calamitous March 11 earthquake and tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis, LDP lawmakers said Thursday.
An unemployed man from Tokyo was arrested Thursday after allegedly intruding by car into the Fukushima Daiichii nuclear power plant premises, near the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi plant in Fukushima Prefecture, police said.
This comes after…
More signs of serious radiation contamination in and near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were detected Thursday, with the latest data finding groundwater containing radioactive iodine 10,000 times the legal threshold and the concentration of radioactive iodine-131 in nearby seawater rising to the highest level yet.
Yesterday President Sarkozy of France was in Tokyo. As the Asahi Shinbum reports, A host of countries have offered their expertise and technology to Japan to assist the continuing struggle to contain the Fukushima nuclear crisis, which has raised concerns over the safety of nuclear power.
Graduates, destined for corporate life, have also found purpose volunteering to work at nonprofit groups shuttling aid to the newly destitute in the prefectures north. Many Japanese students, due to start work today, have found their lives irrevocably changed.
On the economic front…
Economists expect Japan’s economy to shrink in the April-June quarter in the aftermath of the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a Reuters poll taken last week showed, but most economists see a return to growth in the July-September quarter.
Japanese business morale improved slightly in the three months to March, the Bank of Japan’s closely watched tankan survey showed, but the devastating earthquake earlier this month and a subsequent nuclear crisis are seen hurting confidence in coming months.
United and Continental airlines are reducing flights between the U.S. and Japan because of a drop in demand since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The sister airlines will cut their combined passenger-carrying capacity on U.S.-Japan flights by 10 percent in April and 14 percent in May.
In other news
A pair of giant pandas leased from China was shown to th e public Friday at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, marking the first public viewing of pandas there in three years.
And more worryingly…
Japan’s major beer makers may not be able to meet demand for suds this summer after breweries in northern and eastern Japan suffered major damage in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The above pic comes from Google, who have just released some updated imagery of affected areas here.