A massive recovery effort is under way in Japan, as 25,000 soldiers lead a group of helicopters, planes, navy divers, coast guard, and police in an attempt to find the bodies of many people killed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. U.S. troops will aid in the efforts.
The Japanese government, which recently announced a ban on people re-entering the radiation evacuation zone, will allow a team of veterinarians into the zone to check on the large amount of livestock still there. In their rush to escape, farmers left behind an estimated 3,000 cows, 130,000 pigs, and nearly 700,000 chickens. The searchers hope to find the animals still alive, but recent contamination of water and the food supply could dim such hopes.
More than 14,000 people have been confirmed dead, and a further 12,000 people are missing and believed dead. The massive tsunami triggered by the 9.0-magnitude quake wiped away whole towns, buildings and factories and all.
The country's leading automakers have announced a steep drop in production, the lowest since they began keeping systematic records across the board, in 1976. Reports from Toyota, Nissan, and Honda echoed the downturn, due entirely to the tsunami's effects on not only cars and trucks already built and on show lots destroyed but also auto plants and factories that produced parts, extending the drop to other countries as well.
The reports come on the heels of the government's announcement of a $50 billion recovery plan to stem the tide of loss caused by the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.