Japan quake live blog: Radiation level in food no cause for alarm, expert says
People wait in line for a supermarket to open as limited food continues to cause problems for people in the earthquake-affected areas Sunday in Ichinoseki, Japan.
March 20th, 2011
08:20 AM ET

Japan quake live blog: Radiation level in food no cause for alarm, expert says

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.

[10:20 p.m. Sunday ET, 11:20 a.m. Monday Tokyo] Stars and Stripes, the independent news organization covering the U. S. military, reports more than 7,900 U.S. residents at bases in northern and central Japan want to leave on military-sponsored flights.

[9:44 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:44 a.m. Monday Tokyo] National broadcaster NHK reports that Japan's Self-Defense Forces is once again spraying water on the No. 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

[8:52 p.m. Sunday ET, 9:52 a.m. Monday Tokyo] A few water samples taken in the area around the  Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant tested positive for iodine - although far below levels of concern under Japanese law, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency website.

[7:27 p.m. Sunday ET, 8:27 a.m. Monday Tokyo] Kyodo News reports that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has canceled a visit to one of the areas devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami because of bad weather.

Government officials said Kan had been scheduled to go Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture via helicopter.

[4:35 p.m. Sunday ET, 5:35 a.m. Monday Tokyo] A U.S. radiation expert has said there's not much reason to worry  despite restrictions on some food produced in two provinces around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  Japan slapped on the restrictions after high levels of radioactivity turned up in spinach and milk.

Dr. James Cox, professor of radiation oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said the reported levels posed little or no health concerns.

[10:40 a.m. Sunday, 11:50 p.m. Sunday Tokyo] Japan has restricted sales of vegetables from the prefecture surrounding the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a ban on the sale of raw milk from the same region, the country's Health Ministry announced late Sunday.

[7:22 a.m. Sunday ET, 8:05 p.m. Sunday Tokyo] CNN has confirmed with the Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital that two people, an 81 year old grandmother and her 16 year old grandson were rescued after being trapped inside their house for 9 days. Full story

[6:05 a.m. Sunday ET, 7:05 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said that 8,277 people are confirmed dead and 12,722 have been reported missing. The agency also said 2,619 people have been injured.

[3:54 a.m. Sunday ET, 4:54 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Japan's government hopes to decide Monday whether to ban consumption and shipment of agriculture products from the area near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, an official said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Sunday that authorities were analyzing data after finding radiation-contaminated milk and spinach near the plant. "We hope to reach a conclusion by tomorrow," he said.

[3:48 a.m. Sunday ET, 4:48 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Police in northeastern Japan's Miyagi prefecture said Sunday that up to 15,000 dead bodies may be found in that area alone.

Authorities have asked the national army for help, police in the prefecture said. More than 4,800 people have been confirmed dead in the prefecture.

[3:45 a.m. Sunday ET, 4:45 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The pressure in the containment vessel of reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has stabilized, officials said Sunday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials told reporters that pressure was higher than previous levels, but that they had no plans to immediately release gas to relieve the pressure.

"We will continue to monitor the situation while making the necessary preparations," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

Earlier Sunday, Japan's nuclear agency said officials were planning an operation to reduce pressure in the vessel by releasing gas containing radioactive material.

The No. 3 reactor is one of six at the nuclear plant, where workers have been struggling to stave off a full meltdown since a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami knocked out cooling systems.

In earlier operations, they have let out radioactive steam in order to alleviate growing pressure inside affected reactors.

[3:20 a.m. Sunday ET, 4:20 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] As of 3 p.m. Sunday (2 a.m. ET), Japan's National Police Agency said that 8,199 people are confirmed dead and 12,722 have been reported missing. The agency said 2,613 people have been injured.

[12:58 a.m. Sunday ET, 1:58 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] Japan's National Police Agency said Sunday that 8,133 people are confirmed dead and 12,272 have been reported missing following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck March 11. The agency said 2,612 people have been injured.

[12:15 a.m. Sunday ET, 1:15 p.m. Sunday in Tokyo] The pressure in the containment vessel of reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is increasing, Japan's nuclear safety agency said Sunday. The agency said officials are planning an operation to reduce pressure in the vessel - the steel and concrete shell that insulates radioactive material inside.

Late Saturday (early Sunday in Tokyo), the death toll was confirmed at 7,700 people, according to Japan's National Police Agency. An additional 11,651 people were missing and 2,612 were injured, the agency said.

The March 11 tremors shifted the Oshika Peninsula near the epicenter by just over 17 feet and dropped it by just over 4 feet, the Geospatial Information Authority in Tsukuba, Japan, reported Saturday. Those two land mass movements are records for Japan, according to government figures.

The global positioning system data from the Tsukuba University-based authority revealed the peninsula on the Pacific coast moved in an east-southeasterly direction toward the epicenter.

The quake also moved land masses in many areas ranging from the northeastern region of Tohoku to the Kanto region including Tokyo, the authority said.

Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by snowfall in the hardest-hit areas, said spokesman Patrick Fuller of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. martin zavala

    True it seems no one ever wants to help the u.s. Out but our honor and integrity keeps us going.we do what's right and wrong everyday.but no one deserves a life like that .they need help to many dead bodies.cause to many diseases.help them recover .who knows we can be next.and let's hope they help us out.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    Comparing Japan to Katrina is like comparing apples to oranges. Although Katrina was indeed devastating to those in her path, she crossed all economic lines, not just the poor. With the triple whammy Japan has just experienced, it would be inhumane not to send aid.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    Shooo cracks me up. Just saying.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    Look at the photos of the reactor number 3 and see if you think there is any way that the spent fuel rod pool is still intact. It looks like it was destroyed in the explosion! That means that their would be plutonium fuel rods scattered all over the ground, water, air and ocean!

    March 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |

      they need some big bags of kittie litter..

      March 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomas

      Um, no it doesn't nescisarily mean that... The physics of the explosion go against it actually. It may have damaged the containment vessel (the pressure cooker lookin' thing) but the blast occurred OUTSIDE the containment in the containment building, hydrogen blew up. Kinda like setting off a granade outside your car. It may mess the car up but won't spread bodies around.

      March 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dirtywhiteboy

    Does anyone have any information on the potential impact of radioactive fallout on the recent and near term harvest of tuna in the western Pacific Ocean? Will this impact the sushi industry here in the USA? How about canned tuna in the coming months?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |

      could be a good thing.. maybe the tuna will mutate and quadruple in size?

      March 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tilmeismoney

    I never saw of much fire wood in my life, the whole place must of been made out of wood. I don't under stand why the power plants had to be so close to sea level? Any buildings built at sea level will some day be gone, it's just a matter of time.

    March 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |

      most likely so they can have access to water... i dont think there is a bunch of rivers in ja-pan.. so they have to build them close to the sea..

      to bad they didnt build a big concrete retaining wall..

      just goes to show you that all sterio-types are not correct.. like a certain people are smarter than others..

      March 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tomas

    The ban is only on RAW milk? What they think pasturazation takes care of radiation? The fact is though, the trace amounts they ARE finding are not dangerous. Unless of course you drink gallons of milk per day. It is all exposure and concentration.

    March 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy

    Well, of course should help out, Ruffie, as I'm sure they are...I know for sure Chins is, so I have to assume everyone else is pitching in too...

    And you are spot on when you say the Japanese *are* a strong resourceful people. They'll pull through!

    March 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    Oh, boy, sorry about the typos!

    March 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ?????

    Tomas, how long is the area around the plant going to be contaminated? How many years? J apan is not that big...

    March 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |

      you might save that can of tuna... it might become a collectors item..

      March 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |

    I'M not against helping them... i just think that we should help a little bit and let some of the others help too..

    March 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy

    The control room guys are never in the same room as the equipment...at least in *my* area.

    March 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |

      every one knows that.. even i know that.. i watch the simpsons.. it clearly shows homer in a separate room..

      March 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    I agree, Ruffie. I agree. 🙂

    March 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy

    Lol, Ruffie. I was talking about the CT scan operators, though.

    Simpsons rock! 😉

    March 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |

    why cant they use that robot awesome-o to fix the core?

    March 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
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