News / Asia

    Japan Finds Radioactive Water Leaking into Ocean

    Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is seen from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel off Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken on March 31 and released by Japan Defense Ministry April 1, 2011
    Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is seen from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel off Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken on March 31 and released by Japan Defense Ministry April 1, 2011

    Nuclear safety officials say a newly discovered crack in Japan's damaged nuclear plant could be the source of radioactive water that is leaking into the ocean.

    Nuclear safety spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama told reporters Saturday that the water could be leaking into the Pacific Ocean from a 20-centimeter crack in a maintenance pit on the edge of the Fukushima nuclear site. He said there could be other similar cracks and "we must find them as quickly as possible."

    Tokyo Electric Power Company is starting to pour concrete into the pit in an attempt to seal the crack.

    Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan set foot in the tsunami-devastated region for the first time, meeting workers in the nuclear exclusion zone and talking to residents made homeless by the March 11 disaster. Kan stopped in the fishing village of Rikuzentakata, where the town hall is one of the few buildings that was not leveled by the tsunami. He met with the town's mayor, whose wife was swept away in the disaster and is still missing.

    At a school-turned-evacuation center, Kan told evacuees that the government "fully supports you until the end" of the recovery process. But some displaced residents criticized Kan for taking three weeks to personally visit the devastated region. He had flown over the decimated area shortly after the wave hit.

    The Japanese leader also visited a village serving as the headquarters for emergency teams trying to cool reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Nairobi Friday that the situation at the plant "remains very serious."  Workers have been struggling to bring the damaged plant under control.  Ban said the U.N. is ready to work "very closely" with Japan in overcoming the nuclear crisis as well as in its reconstruction efforts.  He also called on the international community to reassess and strengthen nuclear safety guidelines and disaster response frameworks.

    The U.N.'s atomic energy agency has warned that high concentrations of radioactive particles have spread outside the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the nuclear plant.  The agency reported Friday that in one village, Litate, some 40 kilometers from the plant, radiation levels are decreasing after spiking at levels substantially above the level at which they normally recommend evacuations.

    Japan's says it will be a "reasonably long" period of time before those evacuated from the nuclear-threat zone would be allowed back to their homes.  Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano confirmed reports that the groundwater around the plant is contaminated with radiation many times higher than normal, and that testing on cattle had turned up a low-level sample of radioactive-contaminated beef.

    Thousands of Japanese and American military personnel joined together Friday in a final three-day sweep to search for those still missing from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  More than 11,000 people are confirmed dead, with more than 16,500 still missing.  But the search teams will stay out of the evacuation zone around the damaged plant.

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

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs Tackle Sexual Harassment, Rural Health Care at Global Summit

    VOA talks to enterprising business people from India, Nigeria, Myanmar about their programs to help their respective countries overcome obstacles

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    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.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora