Japan quake live blog: Death toll rises as scattered reconstruction efforts begin
A shopper looks over nearly empty shelves Saturday at a grocery store in Senmaya, Japan.
March 19th, 2011
10:45 PM ET

Japan quake live blog: Death toll rises as scattered reconstruction efforts begin

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan on March 11, triggering tsunamis that caused widespread devastation and crippled a nuclear power plant. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on the quake's aftermath and check out our interactive explainer on Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.

[10:45 p.m. Saturday, 11:45 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Construction of temporary housing for displaced people began this weekend with 200 units destined for the devastated coastal city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, The Japan Times reported. The prefabricated houses can accommodate two to three people and will be built on the grounds of a junior high school.

[10:40 p.m. Saturday, 11:40 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The death toll has reached 7,700, according to Japan National Police. At least 11,651 are missing and 2,612 are injured.

[9:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Water spraying at Fukushima's number 4 reactor has ended, Kyodo News reports.

[8:25 p.m. Saturday, 9:25 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Self-defense forces have begun water spraying at Fukushima's number 4 reactor, Kyodo News reports.

[7:18 p.m. Saturday, 8:18 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] As Japan starts its day Sunday, concerns remain on the impact of radiation after trace amounts were found in spinach and milk near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Meanwhile, searches continue for nearly 12,000 missing, and more than 7,600 people have been confirmed dead.

[5:24 p.m. Saturday, 6:34 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The water temperature is dropping in the spent fuel rod pool of the number 5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, NHK reports. Tokyo Electric Power Company restored a power generator at the number 6 reactor on Saturday morning. One of the two generators at the number 6 reactor has been used since the quake to cool the spent fuel rod pools of the number 5 and number 6 reactors.

[2:24 p.m. Saturday, 3:34 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Six members of the emergency crew at the plant have been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation per hour, the equivalent of getting 10 chest x-rays per hour, plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company said. The utility said the workers were exposed when trying to restore electricity to the stricken reactors in hopes of using the cooling systems again.

[11:22 a.m. ET Saturday, 12:22 a.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The March 11 earthquake shifted Japan's Oshika Peninsula near the epicenter by 17 feet and dropped it by 4 feet, the Geospatial Information Authority in Tsukuba, Japan, reported Saturday. Those two land mass movements are records for Japan, according to government figures.

[10:19 a.m. Saturday, 11:19 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] The Japanese government halted the sale of all food from farms near a tsunami-affected nuclear plant Saturday after abnormally high levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach.

[6:48 a.m. ET Saturday, 7:48 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said Saturday evening that 7,348 people are confirmed dead, 10,947 have been reported missing and 2,603 were injured.

[6 a.m. ET Saturday, 7 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] CNN crews in Tokyo report feeling strong aftershocks.

[5:50 a.m. ET Saturday, 6:50 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said Saturday afternoon that 7,320 people are confirmed dead and 11,370 have been reported missing following last week's earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The agency also  said 2,618 people have been injured.

[3:41 a.m. ET Saturday, 4:41 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Abnormally high levels of radiation have been detected in samples of spinach and milk from Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Saturday afternoon.

The recorded levels in the milk and spinach, both of which came from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima and Ibaraki, were over the limit stipulated in Japan's food safety law, according to Edano.

However, he stressed the levels were not extremely high: A person who consumed these products continuously for a year, Edano said, would take in the same amount of radiation as that of a single CT scan.

[1:53 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:53 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Tokyo's fire department is spraying seawater in and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No. 3 unit using a self-operating, long-running new system, authorities said Saturday.

The unmanned system, which began working for the first time around 2 p.m. Saturday, can spray seawater for up to seven hours at a time to aid the ongoing effort to cool the reactor's spent nuclear pool.

Previously, firefighters, soldiers and power company workers have made several missions - in abbreviated intervals to guard against individuals' prolonged exposure to radiation - for this same purpose.

[1:32 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:32 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Workers at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant can be exposed to up to 250 millisieverts of radiation before they'd have to leave the facility, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. official told CNN on Saturday afternoon, more than double the allowed reading in place earlier day.

An individual in a developed country is naturally exposed to about 3 millisieverts of radiation a year.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends no more than 50 millisieverts exposure in a given year for nuclear rescue and recovery workers. It offers no restriction in a crisis when "the benefit to others clearly outweighs the rescuer's risk."

Tokyo Electric had originally set a maximum radiation exposure threshold of 100 millisieverts before raising that level to 150 millisieverts, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

[1:10 a.m. ET Saturday, 2:10 p.m. Saturday in Tokyo] Workers have drilled three holes apiece in the ceilings of the Nos. 5 and 6 nuclear reactors at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in order to alleviate pressure, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. official said.

This was done to release hydrogen gas and steam, whose buildup contributed to explosions at the plants Nos. 1, 2 and 3 units. Experts say the emission of hydrogen gas may be an indication of a partial nuclear meltdown, which may happen when nuclear fuel rods inside are not fully covered by water.

There have been no such explosions at the plant's Nos. 5 and 6 units.

Japanese authorities have said that a diesel generator is now powering a cooling system for those two reactors.

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Survivor Man 54


    March 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eve

    half a million people need your $$ help now. There's time to discuss nuclear policy and energy issues later. Tsunami survivors have lost everything.. their homes, and they're barely surviving in freezing cold with no heat in winter weather, dangerously little food, water and supplies. Why isn't support getting to these shelters?!!


    March 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shantala

    Why hasn't anyone said anything about reactor 4 in a while? They keep reporting out on numbers 1,2,3,5, and 6 but not number 4... whats going on in there? does anyone know?

    March 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yoko kobayashi

    Regarding the food contamination in Fukushima & Ibaraki: According to my information, the test so far done only includes the areas in the vicinity of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, 20 miles radius or so. Ibaraki's northern part adjacent to Fukushima is the part included in this first study. The authority hasn't done any testing on wider areas of Fukushima and Ibaraki. From where the Power Plant is to the central portion of Tokyo, the distance is approximately 180 miles. From the PP to Mito, Ibaraki's prefectural capital, is approx. 120 miles.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. arlo

    In the future, hopefully, they'll have designed robots to do this work.

    March 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilo, HI


      March 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel

    A chest X-ray carries a dose of approximately 0.02 to 0.2 mSv. Get your facts straight, and start providing people with the truth

    March 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nancy in Canada

    Canada is part of the United Nations response today in Libya. Nowhere on CNN is this mentioned. Credit is given to Great Britain, France, United States, Italy, Arab countries in the gulf and even Spain.....but no mention of Canada. Canada has sent CF 18's to the mediterranean. It's like we don't even exist.

    March 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • king

      hello nancy, i know canada i a great nation. but on my opinion waging war with the lebyan well couse more damage to the nation and to the people of lebya. many other option but not war. we can put presure on gadafi but not war. lets, see clearly what the motivation for the US and other nation for that war. people are not stupid, thay make war coz of oil in lebya. lets just pray that they really take the right action wtih gadhafi. if not manny nation well suffer the consequence on the war.

      March 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      If it works, Canada should take credit, but if it doesn't work, be glad that Canada is keeping a low profile, even if by mistake. The difference between Canada and the U.S. is you have a great healthcare plan, and don't let the rich destroy your country. All the news media in the U.S. try to keep that out of the news.

      March 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Whatever Works

    "spinach the leafy stuff growing in the field" really? No, really? Thank you CNN! I wasn't sure what spinach was. [eyeroll]

    March 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    @HiloHi...true. All of the oversight is smoke and mirrors. example: faulty B.O.P. cited for the gulf disaster. US Navy x-rays revealed two 30 ft. joints of drillpipe sandwiched inside the preventer. The well was over 18,000 ft. deep. It would take tremendous bottom hole pressure to lift an entire drill-string like that. All that pressure as NOT shown on TV coming from the well camera'd wellhead. It WAS filmed by one of this guys kids: Jauque Cousteu, spewing from the ocean floor 6 miles from the well! And for about 12 hrs., his footage was shown on national TV! then wham! it was gone. And the feds imposed a sixty-mile "no private research vessels" ban around the well. So, things are not as they seem even down to the slightest detail. Our entire system has inherited and has nourished crooked and devious energy programs ran and policed by the same people. Foreign and domestic.The same people who run the energy corporations. The same people you vote for. (this croap is gettin old)

    March 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    To admit that oil was leaking 6 miles away from the wellbore would finger one outfit: Halliburton and a faulty cement job. (interestingly, even as the talking heads were considering what would happen if Halliburton were faulted, BP had already indemnified(held harmless) Halliburton. YOU would pay for the gulf cleanup if it were to ever happen.

    March 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ChiCity007

    都市災害で存続する方法: http://ruppe1.wordpress.com/post-disaster-urban-city/

    Urban Survival Field Manual – Share this All picture guide to Survive an Urban Disaster, viewable from even mobile browser: http://ruppe1.wordpress.com/post-disaster-urban-city/

    March 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    @chi city ought 7...is that you Donna? If not, explain. I'm the sheriff 'round heaww...don't cha know?

    March 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    Cuzz if that:s you, i'm gonna tan yer hinde. 'A loveable hind and a charming mountain goat" as we say who read. (the word)

    March 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    (shrug) gettin' sore shoulders peeps.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gmoore

    How about those harmful effects of nuclear energy? How many know someone effected?
    How about getting on the bandwagon against something that kills thousands every year, drunks.

    March 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
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