A crisis over contaminated water at Japan's stricken nuclear plant worsened on Saturday when the plant's operator said it had detected high radiation levels near storage tanks, a finding that raised the possibility of additional leaks.
The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, said it had found the high levels of radiation at four separate spots on the ground, near some of the hundreds of tanks used to store toxic water produced by makeshift efforts to cool the Fukushima Daiichi plant's three damaged reactors. The highest reading was 1,800 millisieverts per hour, or enough to give a lethal dose in about four hours, Tepco said.
The contaminated spots were found as Tepco employees checked the integrity of the tanks after a leak two weeks ago released 300 tons of toxic water into the Pacific. That leak prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to announce that the government would step in at the plant, which was crippled two years ago by a huge earthquake and tsunami, to help get it under control amid rising public fears of a second environmental disaster.
Saturday's discoveries suggested that there may have been other leaks from the tanks, many of which appear to have been shoddily built as Tepco has scrambled to find enough storage space for the contaminated water being produced by the plant. However, Tepco said that it had found no evidence of fallen water levels in nearby tanks, making it unclear how much water, if any, may have leaked out, and whether any reached the Pacific, about 1,500 feet away.
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Japan for three days from March 18, as part of her campaign to promote education for women and volunteer activities in developing countries, the White House announced Tuesday. (Jiji Press)
Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen said on Twitter Tuesday the Imperial Japanese Navy's World War II battleship Musashi has been found at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea off the central Philippines. (Jiji Press)
The Cabinet on Tuesday signed off on a bill that would revise the adult entertainment business law to enable discos and nightclubs that offer dancing to operate past midnight as long as they meet interior lighting criteria. (Japan Times)
In the latest allegations of questionable political donations now aimed at top party leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the main opposition party president are linked to contributions from companies after ministries awarded them subsidies, it was learned March 3. (Asahi)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday announced the arrest of a late-shift taxi driver from Joto Ward for allegedly raping a number of intoxicated female passengers, reports the Asahi Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
A 65-year-old man who was arrested and jailed for causing trouble at a gasoline station in Mitaka, Tokyo, was rearrested after he returned to the same gas station upon his release and threatened the owner, police said Monday. (Japan Today)