April 8, 2011

Japan's economy in "severe" condition after disaster

Japan's economy in "severe" condition after disaster

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's economy is in an exceedingly "severe condition" with no fast recovery in sight following a triple disaster triggered by the March eleven earthquake that has sent service-sector sentiment plummeting the foremost on record, the govt. said on Friday.While Japan confronts the economic impact of the disaster, it additionally faces increasing alarm from its neighbours with China expressing concern at the pumping of radioactive water into the ocean from a crippled nuclear plant.China's Foreign Ministry said it might "closely" monitor Japan's actions to finish the crisis at the plant, where engineers are battling to contain radiation leaks. It demanded correct data from Tokyo."As Japan's neighbour, we tend to naturally specific our concern regarding this," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an exceedingly statement.China is that the initial nation to publicly specific its concern over a crisis that has lasted near a month. alternative countries have banned or restricted food imports from Japan over radiation fears."We raise that Japan reports the relevant data to the Chinese aspect in an exceedingly swift, comprehensive and correct approach."Power blackouts and restrictions, factory shutdowns, and a pointy drop within the variety of tourists have left the world's third largest economy reeling. several economists expect it to slide into recession this year as factory output and exports suffer.

The crippled Fukushima Daiicho nuclear power plant north of Tokyo means that power shortages and provide disruptions which will leave the economy weak for a few time, Japan's central bank said on Friday.The Cabinet Office's assessment was equally bleak."Japan's economy is suddenly in an exceedingly severe condition thanks to the results of the earthquake," it said when releasing a monthly survey of hotel employees, restaurant workers and taxi drivers that showed a record fall in confidence to levels last seen throughout the depths of the worldwide monetary crisis.In a plain sign of the downturn; taxis park in long lines in central Tokyo every night, their drivers staying heat by idling the motor as they wait forlornly for a fare.Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War 2 when a nine.0 magnitude earthquake and an enormous tsunami battered its northeast coast, leaving nearly twenty eight,000 dead or missing and damaging six nuclear reactors north of Tokyo.

The Tokyo space and regions more north frame half Japan's economy, Nomura analysis shows.A strong 7.1 magnitude aftershock on Thursday night -- one in every of the most important of quite four hundred aftershocks higher than magnitude five.0 -- shook the already ravaged northeast.It forced 2 firms, together with electronics big Sony Corp, to prevent production thanks to power cuts. a minimum of 2 folks were killed when the tremor.There was a short scare when water leaks were found on Friday at a second nuclear plant, Onagawa, within the northeast, however Japan's nuclear safety agency said it had not detected any amendment in radiation levels.NO amendment IN RADIATIONA relieved Tokyo electrical Power Co (TEPCO), that operates Fukushima, said Thursday's quake had not caused any further injury. It briefly evacuated employees as a result of a tsunami alert, though that was later withdrawn.

The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog sounded an encouraging note when one in every of its officers said there have been signs of progress in stabilising the Fukushima plant, though true remained terribly serious.The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had not detected any amendment in radiation levels following Thursday night's quake."The scenario at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains terribly serious ... (but) there are early signs of recovery in some functions like electrical power and instrumentation," the IAEA's head of nuclear safety, Denis Flory, said.The agency said radiation within the region round the plant, as measured by gamma dose rates, had peaked within the early days of the crisis, and apart from an increase on March twenty two, had since fallen to "a level terribly near background".DISRUPTS BUSINESSJapan's neighbours have grown increasingly anxious at the danger of contamination from radiation, with some faculties in South Korea closing as a result of fears of toxic rain. officers there said the radiation levels within the atmosphere were harmless.China's health ministry said on traces of radioactivity had been found in spinach in 3 provinces and therefore the state news agency Xinhua reported trace levels of radioactivity detected in twenty two provinces.To address power shortages, Japan's government has asked major firms to chop electricity use within the peak summer months by up to 1 / 4 and therefore the Tokyo Stock Exchange said the facility cuts meant it might got to delay plans to increase trading hours.

The impact of the quake meant each output and exports, major pillars of the economy, would stay weak, the central bank said."Output can hover at a coffee level for the time being however then begin to extend as offer constraints are mitigated," the Bank of Japan said in its monthly report for April.Companies and households can have to be compelled to prune considerably on power usage this summer when demand is at its peak, Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said when a cupboard meeting. He urged major firms to chop electricity consumption by twenty five %.But some ministers at Friday's cupboard meeting required an finish to a campaign of "self restraint" by normal those that was adopted immediately when March eleven to chop fuel or electricity use and discourage stockpiling of requirements."Some cupboard ministers said excessive self-restraint may worsen the economy, weakening economic power for reconstruction," Chief cupboard Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.PREVENTING a lot of EXPLOSIONSUtility TEPCO said it had been continuing to inject nitrogen into one in every of its Fukushima reactors to stop a repeat of last month's hydrogen explosions.

The plant is way from beneath management and engineers are forced to pump in tonnes of water to cool down down reactors, within the method creating it radioactive. The water then needs to be stored, though some has been released into the ocean.Officials say it may take months to bring the reactors beneath management and years to clear up the toxic mess left behind.The government has found out a 20-km (12-mile) exclusion zone round the plant, banned fishing along abundant of the northeast coast and found out evacuation centres for the tens of thousands forced to go away their homes following the crisis.(Additional reporting by Mayumi Negishi, Chisa Fujioka, Yoko Nishikawa and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Ben Blanchard and Sui-lee Wee in Beijing, Jack Kim in Seoul; Writing by Jonathan Thatcher and Michael Perry; Editing by Neil Fullick)..

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