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Japan Pleads for Patience over Radiation
March 30, 2011

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The problem keeps getting worse for Japan, as the country is now asking other countries not to overreact in the wake of higher-than-normal radiation levels found in food and water, even as reports are coming in from other countries of either radioactive food or fears of such.

Singapore reported that cabbages from Japan contained levels of radiation that were nine times higher than normal. Other countries have warned against receiving vegetables and milk from Japan, voicing fears along similar lines. Japan itself has banned the export of food grown too close to the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Workers continue to struggle to contain the damage at the plant, which has seen a wide variety of problems since the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Fires, explosions, and leaking radiation have created a nightmarish scenario that has resulted in a set of problems far wider than first expected, including reports of plutonium being found in nearby soil and of massively high levels of radioactive iodine being found in seawater near the plant.

Arriving in Tokyo was Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, which had already sent to Japan several representatives of Areva, its government-owned nuclear reactor manufacturer. France has a large number of nuclear reactors.

In the wake of the twin disaster and a few investigations since, Japan has ordered a safety upgrade of all of its nuclear power plants. The Daini plant, not far from Dai-ichi, was put into cold shutdown while officials there worked to keep it safe.

Meanwhile, recovery operations continued across the region, with the number of dead and/or missing still close to 28,000. Power and running water have been restored to many areas, but hundreds of thousands of people still are living in temporary shelters.



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