As Japan scrambles to pick up the pieces from Friday’s magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami, the Kyodo news agency is reporting that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude-7 or greater quake taking place in the next three days.
Kyodo also reports that there is a 50% chance of one hitting in the three days after that.
Japan’s largest earthquake on record may have knocked the planet 3.9 inches off its axis as one crustal plate slid beneath another, Eric Fielding, a principal scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told Bloomberg news agency.
There are just too many bodies. Hundreds of dead have washed ashore on Japan’s devastated northeast coast since last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Others were dug out of the debris Monday by firefighters using pickaxes and chain saws.
Funeral homes and crematoriums are overwhelmed, and officials have run out of body bags and coffins.
Compounding the disaster, water levels dropped precipitously inside a Japanese nuclear reactor, twice leaving the uranium fuel rods completely exposed and raising the threat of a meltdown, hours after a hydrogen explosion tore through the building housing a different reactor.
On the economic front, Japan’s stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.
While the official death toll rose to nearly 1,900, the discovery of the washed-up bodies and other reports of deaths suggest the true number is much higher. In Miyagi, the police chief has estimated 10,000 deaths in his province alone.