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Japan Update

11:48 AM, Mar 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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According to CNN, "Japan's national police say 8,928 people are confirmed dead after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami March 11 pulverized entire towns, leaving broken wood beams and massive piles of rubble where organized neighborhoods once stood."

Japan Update

Unimaginably, it appears that the death toll will rise dramatically: "By 9 a.m. Tuesday, officials said they still had not accounted for 12,664 people, and police say they fear at least half of those are dead." The Guardian says that police estimate 18,000 are dead.

On the nuclear front, CNN reports that "Japan's earthquake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered more damage from seawater than originally believed and will take more time to repair."

The Los Angeles Times reports that power cables are being reconnected to the nuclear power plant:

Power cables have been reconnected to all six reactors in Japan's quake-crippled nuclear complex, the plant's operator said Tuesday, in what was hailed as possible turning point in the struggle to bring dangerous overheating under control and avert a large-scale release of radiation.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, tempered that news with warnings that various pieces of equipment must be checked before the restored electricity can be used to operate cooling systems at the plant 150 miles north of Tokyo.

And Reuters says it could be a long, hot summer in Japan:

Japan's economy may not feel the harshest blow from this month's disasters until summer, when surging power demand could spark a new round of power blackouts in Tokyo and its neighbouring prefectures which account for 40 percent of the country's GDP.

Tokyo Electric Power Co , Asia's biggest power utility, lost about 20 percent of its operating thermal and nuclear power generation in the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11, and is unlikely to get enough back online to meet its usual levels of peak demand in the summer.

More outages, following the rolling blackouts in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, would force factories, shops and offices to close, while making it difficult for many workers to commute and keeping would-be consumers at home.

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