News / Asia

Japan PM Says Nuclear Plant Stabilizing Despite Higher Crisis Rating

The heavily damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
The heavily damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

United Nations nuclear experts said Tuesday that Japan's decision to elevate its nuclear power accident to the highest level does not mean conditions have worsened or that Japanese authorities had earlier downplayed the seriousness of the disaster.

Japan Tuesday designated the accident as a level seven - the highest stage on the nuclear incident scale formulated by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency. That puts the crisis on the same level as the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, in Ukraine.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the situation is stabilizing at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was crippled after a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Denis Flory, the IAEA's head of nuclear safety and security, says Japanese data show that the Fukushima plant has released about 10 percent of the radioactive material that the Chernobyl plant did.

He also said Tuesday that tests of vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, and milk produced in eight prefectures around Fukushima found either no radioactive material or found small levels that are considered to be safe.

Japan raised the crisis from a five to a seven on the international scale, indicating a major accident with widespread health and environmental effects.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says that, unlike the Chernobyl calamity, there has so far been no "direct health hazard" from the Fukushima accident. The Chernobyl disaster is believed to have killed about two dozen people within days and thousands more over the ensuing years.

Safety agency officials also noted that, in Chernobyl, radiation spread over a wide area when a reactor exploded. So far at Fukushima, most of the radiation has been contained within large concrete chambers, though those chambers may be leaking.

Despite those assurances, China on Tuesday again voiced concern over Japan's move to discharge nuclear wastewater from Fukushima's crippled reactors into the Pacific.  China's official Xinhua news agency says Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talked Tuesday by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Kan, and demanded that the Japanese government "pay high attention" to the impact that such discharges have on the marine environment.  

The report said Mr. Wen also urged the Japanese leader to adhere to related international law, and to "promptly and accurately" inform China of new developments.

Prime Minister Kan used his news conference to stress that the levels of radiation leaking from the plant are now decreasing and that the situation is moving "one step at a time" toward stability.

He also said it is time for the country to turn to the task of reconstruction and said the Japanese people must regain the determination shown in rebuilding the country after World War II. He said Japan should not just restore things as they were, but use the twin disasters to build a better future.

Mr. Kan additionally urged citizens to abandon the consumer restraint shown out of respect for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, which has left about 28,000 people dead or missing. He said they should instead help survivors by buying goods from the areas most affected by the disasters.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid