Japanese people and their government, not to mention thousands of rescue workers from their own and other countries, continued to try to recover from the devastating 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that rocked the country a few days ago.
The death toll was expected to rise precipitously, as regional officials were reporting in from villages whose entire population was victimized by the massive waves, perhaps fatally so. One police chief estimated that his province alone would report 10,000 people dead.
The battered Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant reported another explosion, the third in four days, as workers there frantically tried to keep the nuclear reactor from melting down and releasing deadly radiation. Earlier explosions had leveled the building surrounding the reactor and weakened the stainless steel shell encasing the reactor, and injured several workers and exposed many others to radiation.
Officials at other nuclear plants reported problems as well all of which led to evacuation of thousands of people for miles around the nuclear power plants. Following on those initial evacuation orders, the government then ordered people to stay inside, to avoid possible radiation clouds in the surrounding areas.
Millions of people soldiered on without electricity and/or running water, struggling to stay warm in rapidly declining temperatures and housing options. Rescue workers numbered in the tens of thousands, but those needing assistance numbered much more than that. Along with food, water, and shelter, medicine was proving to be in short supply in many areas. All of this was leading to exhaustion for the survivors, for the rescue teams, and for the people trying to keep the government and the country together.
The Japanese economy was losing as well, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange reporting a tremendous selloff of stocks that ended with a 6.2 percent drop in the Nikkei average, one of the worst single-day declines in national stocks in recent years.
Another report out of the U.S. Geological Survey stated that the combination of earthquake which had been recently upgraded from 8.9 to 9.0 and tsunami had moved Japan's main island, Honshu, a full 13 feet further east, closer to the United States, and two feet further down into the Pacific Ocean. The USGS also reported that the powerful quake had had shifted Earth's axis by 6.5 inches and shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds.