Wed Mar 23, 2011
* Rush for bottled water after radiation warning
* Japan disaster damage estimated at $300 bln
* U.S., Hong Kong, Australia restrict some food imports
* Engineers battle to stabilise Fukushima reactors (Adds new details
By Shinichi Saoshiro and Kazunori Takada
TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Many shops in Tokyo ran out of bottled
water on Thursday after radiation from a damaged nuclear plant made
tap water unsafe for babies, while more countries imposed curbs on
imports of Japanese food.
Engineers are trying to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear facility
nearly two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami battered the complex
and devastated northeast Japan.
Tokyo's 13 million people have been told not to give infants tap water
because of contamination twice the safety level.
The government urged residents not to panic and hoard bottled water --
but many shops quickly sold out.
"If this is long term, I think we have a lot to worry about," said
Riku Kato, father of a one-year-old baby.
Radiation above safety levels has also been found in milk and
vegetables from the area around Fukushima, 250 km (150 miles) north of
Tokyo, and in Saitama prefecture next to the capital, according to
Kyodo news agency.
Singapore and Australia joined the United States and Hong Kong in
restricting food and milk imports from the zone, while Canada became
the latest among many nations to tighten screening as a result of the
world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
Radiation particles have been found as far away as Iceland, although
Japan insists levels are not dangerous to adults.
The contamination scare is adding to Japan's most testing moment since
World War Two after the catastrophe of March 11.
The estimated $300 billion damage makes it the world's costliest
natural disaster, dwarfing Japan's 1995 Kobe quake and Hurricane
Katrina that swept through New Orleans in 2005.
Some 25,600 people are dead or missing from the 9.0 magnitude
earthquake and ensuing tsunami waves that swept away whole towns on
the Pacific coast.
Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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