Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Quake Update: Nuke Rods melting, Tide Of Bodies Washed Ashore

Japanese officials confirmed Monday that nuclear fuel rods appear to be melting inside the three reactors whose cooling systems were damaged by Friday’s earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday that "although we cannot directly check it, it's highly likely happening."

There was a huge explosion at Unit 3 in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in northeastern Japan; it had been under emergency status since the hydrogen blast at Unit 1 at the plant on Saturday. Edano repeated that the Unit 3 reactor’s inner containment vessel was intact, and that a Chernobyl-style meltdown was unlikely.

Over 500,000 people have been evacuated from the area, and the Japanese government has been issuing iodine tablets as a preventative against radiation sickness.

The death toll is officially at 10,000 and could go considerably higher. Many of the casualties came not from the earthquake itself, but from the subsequent tsunami.On the coastline of Miyagi prefecture, which which was essentially Ground Zero for the tsunami, a Japanese police official said 1,000 bodies were found scattered across the coastline that returned to shore with the tide. The Kyodo wire ,reported that 2,000 bodies washed up on two shorelines in Miyagi.

In a macabre twist, funeral homes in the area have run out of caskets and body bags, and crematoriums are unable to handle the large number of bodies being brought in for funerals.

"We have already begun cremations, but we can only handle 18 bodies a day. We are overwhelmed and are asking other cites to help us deal with bodies. We only have one crematorium in town," Katsuhiko Abe, an official in Soma, told The Associated Press.

In response, the Japanese government on waived a rule requiring permission first from local authorities before cremation or burial to speed up funerals, according to Health Ministry official Yukio Okuda.

"The current situation is so extraordinary, and it is very likely that crematoriums are running beyond capacity," said Okuda. "This is an emergency measure. We want to help quake-hit people as much as we can."

Millions are still without power for the fourth day.According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, over 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives, while another estimated 24,000 people are still stranded.There are major shortages of foodstuffs and supplies not seen in Japan since the end of WWII.

It is remarkable ( but not to those whom know the Japanese) that with all the devastation and disruption, the bonds of Japanese society and civility still are holding together. People are pitching in to help out as they can, sharing what they have and working to survive together as a community.

There has been little if any looting or criminals attempting to take advantage of a situation like this for their own profit when law enforcement is stretched thin and people are vulnerable, and it amazes people. British journalist Ed West actually 'went there' and asked the question outright...why no looting?

It's actually quite simple, to my mind. In the end, culture matters.

Living together on an island with a largely homogeneous population, the Japanese over the centuries have evolved cultural norms that prize civility, cohesiveness and group co-operation. Simple decency is an admired trait and honor, shame and personal responsibility for one's actions - the concept of 'giri', duty to oneself and to society - are still pervasive forces.

It's why the crime rate in Japan ( and even among Japanese communities abroad) is ridiculously low comparatively, although Japan definitely has its criminal class.

And it's also why the Japanese will pull together and get through this.

please helps me write more gooder!

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