Japan’s Official Death Toll Rises, a ‘Partial Meltdown’ Occurs [Updated]

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Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images

As Japanese officials continue to assess the country after last Thursday's earthquake and tsunami, the death toll has grown exponentially. As of Sunday, 1,500 are confirmed dead and thousands are missing. But police in the port city of Minamisanriku now report that the number of dead in that city alone will “certainly be more than 10,000." And overall, said Prime Minister Naoto Kan, “I think that the earthquake, tsunami and the situation at our nuclear reactors makes up the worst crisis in the 65 years since the war."

The quake's magnitude has also been reassessed. On Sunday, the Japanese Meteorological Agency upgraded the quake from 8.8 to 9.0, an effective doubling of its magnitude. To put it in perspective, even the struggling Afghan city of Kandahar is donating $50,000 to its "poor brothers and sisters in Japan."

Three days after the quake and tsunami, 1.4 million homes were without electricity across Japan. And in Sendai, the closest major city to the offshore epicenter of the quake, 500,000 homes were without water.

At the Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, officials successfully flooded the Daiichi nuclear reactor, but announced that cooling had failed at the number three reactor. Japanese officials at the plant reported that partial meltdowns had occurred at two damaged reactors, and that radiation had leaked out of a fourth. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, officials declared a state of emergency at the plant.

And if all of that wasn't bad enough, the Japanese stock market is expected to take a hard hit on Monday, as investors struggle to assess the damage done to the Japanese economy. Some market watchers are concerned that the Nikkei Stock Average may fall below 10,000.


Latest Updates on Earthquake Aftermath in Japan
[Lede/NYT]
Death Toll Estimate in Japan Soars as Relief Efforts Intensify [NYT]
Tokyo Markets Face Tough Open [WSJ]
Partial Meltdowns Presumed at Crippled Reactors [NYT]