The Latest News From Japan

Another explosion hit the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, injuring six as authorities scramble to cool the nuclear reactors and contain a partial meltdown three days after the facility was devastated in a massive earthquake and resultant tsunami. Elsewhere in the northeast, thousands of bodies were found washed up on shore. Here's a roundup of the latest news.

  • Despite the explosion, which could be felt 25 miles away and injured seven workers, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. maintained that radiation levels were "still within legal limits" and say they believe that a worst-case scenario of a full meltdown is avoidable. Nonetheless, The New York Times reports that the radioactive contamination may be widening past a 60-mile radius, and periodic releases of radioactive steam (a byproduct of the seawater cooling process) will likely last months and prevent evacuees from moving home. In any event, no one seems to agree on the extent of the damage or the likelihood of any one outcome, so feel free to be a pretend nuclear expert for the next few days. [AP; NYT] Here's video of the explosion:
  • Kyodo News reports that 2,000 bodies were found on two shores in the hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture, which could more than double the official death toll of 1,597. [Kyodo News]
  • Authorities announced another tsunami warning and issued evacuation orders in the Iwate and Aomori prefectures, but cancelled them quickly after determining that no tsunami would hit the shore. [Herald Sun]
  • The Bank of Japan attempted to grease the country's financial markets to the tune of 15 trillion Yen ($183 billion); the Nikkei fell six percent and the economy could "lose as much as a percentage point in growth this year." We also wouldn't invest in nuclear stocks for short-term gains right now. [BBC]
  • Though Tokyo is avoiding rolling blackouts for the time being, authorities are asking people to stay at home and conserve energy. Several multiplayer video game servers are being taken down as part of that effort; you may have to play video games by yourself, as God intended. [Kotaku; WaPo]
  • Tokyo Disneyland is closed for the next ten days, so don't bother going. [THR]
  • Also: The Shinmoedake volcano on the southern island of Kyushu erupted, causing "widespread destruction and panic," which Japan has had plenty of already, thank you very much. [LAT]

More coverage of the crisis in Japan

[image via AP/The Yumiuri Shimbun]