News / Asia

Strong Quake Hits Japan on One-Month Anniversary of Disaster

A victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami rests at a shelter in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Displaced on the one-month anniversary of the deadly quake which triggered the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, April 11, 2011
A victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami rests at a shelter in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Displaced on the one-month anniversary of the deadly quake which triggered the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, April 11, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

A strong aftershock rattled northeastern Japan Monday, triggering new tsunami warnings and the evacuation of an already-crippled nuclear power plant.  Authorities also urged more people living near the plant to prepare to leave the area, citing concerns about long-term health risks from leaking radiation.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the magnitude of the aftershock at 7.1, the same strength as one that hit on Thursday.  But authorities later revised it downward to 6.6.  A tsunami warning was issued for portions of the northeast coast, but was lifted less than one hour later.

Monday's aftershock struck just hours after people across Japan bowed their heads in silence to mark the one-month anniversary of the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that killed up to 25,000 people and triggered the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant on the country's northeastern coast.

More than 13,000 bodies have been recovered and more than 14,000 remain missing, many still lying under the rubble or washed out to sea.

Officials at Japan's nuclear safety agency said workers were temporarily evacuated Monday from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation since the March 11 quake.  They said outside electrical power to three of the plant's units was cut off, disrupting the injection of cooling water into the reactor cores, but that the electricity was restored after less than an hour.  The officials said they had detected no change in radiation levels.

Authorities also announced preparations to expand the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said residents should prepare to evacuate from certain towns and villages outside the zone as soon as radiation levels exceed pre-determined levels.

He said the government will coordinate with municipal officials in those areas and that residents should wait for further instructions.

Edano also said residents living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima plant should be packed and ready to leave on short notice if the situation at the plant deteriorates. He said those who are ill or have small children should leave the zone in advance of any emergency.

Edano said the decision to evacuate specified communities outside the 20-kilometer radius is based on radiation concentrations caused by geological and weather factors. He said residents must also be prepared for a new emergency at the plant, even though the likelihood of that is considerably lower than before.

The Greenpeace environmental group issued a statement earlier Monday calling for the government to evacuate residents from several radiation hotspots and to remove the most vulnerable people from Fukushima city. It said its own monitoring showed residents of the city could receive the annual maximum dose of radiation within a few weeks.

Earlier Monday, repair crews at the Fukushima plant had begun using remote-controlled power shovels and bulldozers to clear rubble from two nuclear reactors that were damaged by hydrogen explosions.

Officials said they were also preparing to transfer highly radioactive water from a tunnel next to the plant's number two reactor into a condenser. Technicians have been pumping less radioactive water into the ocean since last week to make room in a temporary storage facility for the more dangerous water.

The crisis has made many Japanese distrustful of nuclear power. About 2,000 to 3,000 people took part in a protest march Sunday demanding that the government shut down all nuclear plants in the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid