Japan: 5,178 people dead, 8,606 missing


Japan’s devastating earthquake and deepening nuclear crisis could result in losses of up to $200 billion, according to Reuters. Still the impact for the world’s third largest economy remains hard to gauge only five days after a massive tsunami battered the northeast coast.

According to the AFP, the earthquake and tsunami death toll stood at 5,178, while the missing people at 8,606.

Efforts to extinguish smoldering spent fuel were thwarted Wednesday, after high radiation levels forced the cancellation of a plan to dump water from a helicopter on the power plant at the center of Japan’s escalating nuclear crisis.

Japan’s emperor Wednesday addressed the nation on television, expressing deep sorrow about the “dire state” of northern Japan in the wake of last week’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake, devastating tsunami, and subsequent problems at a nuclear facility.

Food and gas supplies are rapidly running out in parts of Japan, leaving people not only in the earthquake-stricken northeast, but also in Tokyo scrambling to grab what’s left on the emptying shelves at groceries and convenience stores.

France called Wednesday for a meeting of finance ministers of the Group of Seven leading nations to assess the consequences of the Japanese crisis on markets, as well as a meeting of energy and economy ministers of the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations , to foster international cooperation on energy.


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