Post image for Japan estimates damage from quake to cost up to $308 billion

Japan estimates damage from quake to cost up to $308 billion

by Jorge Hernandez on March 23, 2011

This Wednesday, the Japanese government has issued an estimate for the damages from the 9.0 earthquake that reduced much of the northern part of the country to rubble, in addition to triggering massive floods and damaging a nuclear reactor. Officials expect the cost of the catastrophe to reach up to $308 billion. 

This calculation likely hasn't taken into account the possible damage to the economy if the radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant becomes even less stable. Workers have recently been evacuated from the area when black smoke began rising from one of the reactors, according to The Montreal Gazette.

So far, the effects of the fallout are uncertain. Tokyo has said that one of the city's major water purification plants had more than twice the level of radiation that is safe for infants. While it may not pose a risk for adults, officials have cautioned against giving tap water to babies.

Other countries have started to ban select imports from the island nation. Hong Kong has stopped shipping produce and milk from the region most affected by the radiation, because authorities had found radioactivity levels that were 10 times over the safety limit in both turnip and spinach samples.

The United States has taken the measures a bit farther, as the Food and Drug Administration has decided to halt all imports of vegetables, fruits and milk from the area. The news source reports that South Korea may be next to ban food imports.

"We have measures in place that keep products with radiation above a certain level out of circulation," chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said in a statement. "That means anything in circulation is safe. This is not necessarily well understood by other countries."  

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