A group of experts convened by the agency assessed the risk of various cancers based on estimates of how much radiation people at the epicenter of the nuclear disaster received, namely those directly under the plumes of radiation in the most affected communities in Fukushima, a rural agricultural area about 150 miles north of Tokyo.
Some 110,000 people living around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant were evacuated after the big March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s power and cooling systems, causing meltdowns in three reactors and spewing radiation into the surrounding air, soil and water.
Experts calculated that people in the most affected regions had an additional 4 to 7 percent overall risk of developing cancers, including leukemia and breast cancer. In Japan, men have about a 41 percent lifetime risk of developing cancer of an organ, while a woman’s lifetime risk is about 29 percent. For those most hit by the radiation after Fukushima, their chances of cancer would rise by about 1 percent.
Read the rest of the story: Only slight risk of cancer after Japan tsunami, WHO says.
Seismologists said Wednesday they have found clues as to why Japan’s 2011 mega-earthquake occurred on a fault previously deemed to be of little threat.
The findings have repercussions for the country’s earthquake strategy and for other locations, including California’s notorious San Andreas fault, with a similar seismic profile, they said.
Hiroyuki Noda of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Nadia Lapusta of the California Institute of Technology based their findings on a computer model of the March 11, 2011 quake, which triggered a tsunami that killed about 19,000 people and wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sparking the world’s worst atomic crisis in a generation.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off northeastern Japan in part of the so-called Japan Trench, where the Pacific plate ducks beneath the Okhotsk plate, on which the Japanese archipelago lies.
Read the rest of the story: Japan quake study sounds alarm at ‘creeping fault’ doctrine.
Wide swaths of the Pacific coastline stretching from Honshu to Shikoku may be hit by tsunami over 20 meters high if a newly feared megaquake occurs in the Nankai Trough, a Cabinet Office panel warned Saturday.
The new warning comes after the panel revised its 2003 estimate to reflect new findings from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region’s coastline last year.
The 2003 report said no areas would see tsunami higher than 20 meters. The updated report is based on the assumption that the earthquake will have a magnitude of 9.0.
Read the rest of the story: Nankai quake scenario menaces Pacific coast.
Children in a tsunami-devastated town in northeast Japan lit 10,000 candles and banged taiko drums Friday on the eve of "obon," a Buddhist ceremony to honor the dead, as residents struggle to rebuild lives five months after the disaster.
Kesennuma, a scenic fishing town some 400 km 248 miles northeast of Tokyo, was engulfed by fire after it was struck by a magnitude 9.0 quake and a huge tsunami on March 11. The disaster left more than 20,400 dead or missing in Japan, and triggered the worlds worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at Fukushima.
In Kesennuma, about 1,000 out of 73,500 residents died and more than 400 are missing, presumed dead. While police still search, some survivors who lost their loved ones or have waited for their return are now trying to move on.
Read the rest of the story: Candles flicker, mourners drum for dead in Japan tsunami town.
Rescuers struggled to reach survivors on Saturday morning as Japan reeled after an earthquake and a tsunami struck in deadly tandem. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan, set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water washing over coastal cities in the north. Concerns mounted over possible radiation leaks from two nuclear plants near the earthquake zone.
The death toll was in the hundreds, but Japanese media quoted government officials as saying that it would almost certainly rise to more than 1,000. About 200 to 300 bodies were found along the waterline in Sendai, a port city in the northeastern part of the country and the closest major city to the epicenter.
Thousands of homes were destroyed, many roads were impassible, trains and buses were not running, and power and cellphones remained down in the region. Japanese officials on Saturday issued broad evacuation orders for people living in the vicinity of two separate nuclear power plants that had experienced breakdowns in their cooling systems as a result of the earthquake, and they warned that small amounts of radiation could leak from both plants.
While the loss of life and property may yet be considerable, many lives were certainly saved by Japan’s extensive disaster preparedness and strict construction codes. Japan’s economy was spared a more devastating blow because the earthquake hit far from its industrial heartland.
Read the rest of the story: Quake and Tsunami Leave Wake of Destruction Across Northern Japan.