Japan’s nuclear crisis has escalated to its worst level in two years. T
he country’s nuclear watchdog has said it fears more tanks are leaking contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
China has expressed “shock” and has asked Japan to provide information “in a timely, thorough and relevant way”.
China’s Foreign Ministry said “We hope the Japanese side can earnestly take effective steps to put an end to the negative impact of the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident.”
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has announced plans to upgrade the severity of the crisis from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level three “serious incident”. It also said the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant was unable to cope “in some respects” with the situation.
NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka likened the stricken nuclear plant to a house of horrors at an amusement park. “I don’t know if describing it this way is appropriate, but it’s like a haunted house and, as I’ve said, mishaps keep happening one after the other,” he told reporters. “We have to look into how we can reduce the risks and how to prevent it from becoming a fatal or serious incident.”
Medical examinations have shown that 18 children have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the crisis began.
A panel is examining the impact of radiation on the health of local residents, however they cannot determine if the accident has affected the incidence of cancer among children.