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Tokyo tap water unsafe for infants

[ 2011-03-24 10:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tokyo on Wednesday warned that radioactive iodine over twice the safe level for infants had been detected in its tap water due to the disaster at a quake-hit nuclear plant northeast of Japan's capital.

The revelation came after a US ban on imports of dairy and other produce from areas near the crippled Fukushima power station following the natural disaster, which Japan's government said could cost more than $300 billion.

The confirmed death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that battered Japan's northeast coast on March 11 rose to 9,452, and Japan holds out little hope for 14,715 officially listed as missing.

Japan has already banned farm produce from areas near the plant, which has suffered a series of explosions and fires since Japan's worst natural disaster in nearly a century.

In one area of Tokyo, a water sample contained 210 becquerels of iodine per kg, a city official said. That is more than double Japan's legal limit. Tokyo's stock market dived 1.6 percent on the news.

The government advised residents throughout the city to avoid using tap water to make infant milk formula until further notice.

The nuclear emergency has also led 25 embassies to temporarily shut their doors in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said on Wednesday.

Matsumoto provided the figure in an appearance before the lower house's foreign affairs committee.

As of Tuesday, "eight of them had transferred their functions outside Tokyo or Japan", a foreign ministry spokesman said by e-mail.

"The rest have had their staff stay home. They have been changing their working arrangement day by day," he said.

The Cabinet Office said on Monday the cost of the disaster could hit 25 trillion yen ($309 billion). That figure is double the cost of the Kobe quake and nearly four times more than Hurricane Katrina.

The total cost from collapse or damage to houses, factories and infrastructure such as roads and bridges was estimated at 16 to 25 trillion yen over the next three fiscal years, the office said.

The estimate does not account for wider issues such as how radiation affects food and the water supply, amid a deepening food scare.


1. How much is the disaster expected to cost?

2. What is the confirmed death toll?

3. How many Becquerel per kg was discovered in the sample?


1. $300 billion.

2. 9,452.

3. 210.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Tokyo tap water unsafe for infants

About the broadcaster:

Tokyo tap water unsafe for infants

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.