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.
In an effort to expand upon the "Cool Japan" initiative, a program intended to broaden foreign tourists' knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and industries, a committee of specialists has submitted a proposal that includes establishing "special English zones" in large cities where English would be one of the officially spoken languages. (Japan Today)
The National Police Agency and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plan to assign an extra 3,000 officers over the next three years to deal with stalking and bank transfer fraud cases which are increasing. (Japan Today)
The death toll from landslides in Hiroshima increased to 70 on Wednesday, while 18 people remained missing after the first of the rain-induced landslides hit the northern part of the western Japan city on Aug. 20. (Jiji Press)
A Japanese district court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday to pay some 49 million yen in compensation over the suicide of an evacuee from the March 2011 nuclear accident at the company's Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Jiji Press)
Thai police said Monday (Aug 25) they have questioned five women who were paid up to US$12,500 each by a Japanese man known to them as "Jack" to act as surrogate mothers. The case emerged after nine babies were found with nannies in a Bangkok apartment. (channelnewsasia.com)