Just a short note to update on the rescue efforts and death toll following Friday’s earthquake, which has apparently been upgraded to a 9.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Tokyo Notes’ Andy Sharp will be writing shortly on the developing situation with the country’s nuclear reactors.
The official death toll has now risen to 801, with 678 missing. This could rise significantly, especially with reports from the town of Minamisanriku that as many as 9,500 people are missing. Tokyo Notes’ David McNeill is trying to get to the town as we write, but has warned that access into the area is extremely limited.
Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa has said that 100,000 personnel from the country’s Self-Defence Forces will be dispatched to Sendai to assist with search and rescue efforts, up from the 50,000 discussed yesterday. Numerous countries have pledged or are sending search and rescue teams to assist with relief efforts following the massive quake.
Reports suggest that as many as 400,000 people have evacuated the area, including about 100,000 who have been evacuated over concerns about a possible meltdown at least one of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima.