The Japanese government continued to call for calm and return of some confidence, despite raising the severity level of the March 11 earthquake to the highest possible level.
The prime minister, Naoto Kan, urged the Japanese people to return to their normal way of doing things as much as possible and not get into too much of a mood of self-restraint. The country's economy, already severed rocked by the 9.0-magnitude quake and resulting tsunami, needs money poured back into it, economic officials say.
Japanese people are worried, yes, and they are, in many cases, waiting to see what else is going to happen. The placement of the nuclear fallout from the Sendai Earthquake on par with the Chernobyl disaster didn't help ease any fears, inside or outside the country. The severity scale has 7 as its highest number. The government initially assigned a severity level of 5 to the breakdown of containment at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. However, based on the amount of radiation leaked overall, the government has raised that number to 7, which can be described as a "major accident" with "widespread health and environmental effects."
Officials were quick to point out that the Chernobyl meltdown released ten times as much radiation as the Fukushima disaster and required far more people to be relocated permanently.
Workers at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant continued to work tirelessly in an effort to restore cooling systems to the damaged reactor, without its protective walls since a hydrogen explosion not long after the quake. None of the deaths so far reported have been linked to radiation leaking from the plant. A total of 21 plant workers have suffered from minor radiation sickness.
The death toll has topped 13,000. The number of missing is still near 15,000. More than 150,000 people still huddle in emergency shelters.
Aftershocks continued to rattle nerves and businesses. The latest jolt was 6.3 on the Richter scale. Aftershocks higher than 5.0 have numbered 400.