Major developments after Friday's quake
Death toll to exceed 10,000, nuclear situation worrisome. -Reuters
TOKYO- Following are main developments after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northeast Japan on Friday and set off a tsunami.
*Death toll expected to exceed 10,000 from the quake and tsunami, public broadcaster NHK says. About 2,000 bodies found on two shores of Miyagi prefecture, Kyodo reports.
-Japan battles to prevent nuclear catastrophe as there is a hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor of the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
*Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the core container at the reactor is intact after the fresh explosion which is unlikely to have led to a large escape of radioactivity.
-Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the situation at the nuclear power plant remains worrisome and authorities are doing their utmost to precent damage from spreading.
-Earlier, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, had risen above the safety limit but this posed no "immediate threat" to human health. An explosion blew the roof off at reactor No. 1.
-International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the lowest state of emergency had been declared at a separate nuclear power plant north of the town of Sendai. But Japan's nuclear safety agency says there has been a rise in radiation at the Onagawa facility due to leakage from the Fukushima plant and there was no problem with the cooling process there.
-Authorities have set up a 20-km (12-mile) exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and a 10 km (6 miles) zone around another nuclear facility close by.
-Strong aftershocks persisting in the stricken area. About 300,000 people evacuated nationwide and almost 2 million households without power in the freezing north.
-The Nikkei plunges around 5 percent; yen falls against the dollar.
-The Bank of Japan offers to pump a record $85 billion into the banking system to soothe market jitters.
-TEPCO says rolling blackout to affect 3 million customers, including large factories, buildings and households.
-Nuclear safety agency rates the incident a 4 on the 1 to 7. International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, less serious than Three Mile Island, which was a 5, and Chernobyl at 7.
-Quake triggered tsunami up to 10 metres (30 feet). Waves swept away homes, crops, vehicles and submerged farmland.
-Total insured loss could be up to $15 billion, equity analysts covering the industry say. Disaster-modeling company AIR Worldwide estimates the insured losses from the Japan earthquake at between $14.5 billion (S$18.4 billion) and $34.6 billion.
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