TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Following are main developments after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and crippled a nuclear power station, raising the risk of an uncontrolled radiation leak.
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* Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the evacuation of residents near the country’s stricken nuclear plant will be “long-term”.
* Japan will take control of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of the plant, in the face of mounting public concerns over the crisis and a huge potential compensation bill, a domestic newspaper reported on Friday.
- Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the country needed to debate its energy policy based on studies of the Fukushima plant disaster, as anger grows at the ongoing crisis.
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the first foreign leader in Japan since the tsunami, said on Thursday that the world should aim to set out new nuclear industry standards by the end of the year in the wake of Japan’s disaster.
- Radiation in water at underground tunnel near reactor 10,000 times above normal. Abnormal level of radioactive caesium found in beef from the area, Kyodo reports.
- UN watchdog suggests widening of the exclusion zone around Fukushima nuclear power station after radiation measured at a village 40 km from the facility exceeded a criterion for evacuation.
- The consistently high levels of radiation found in the sea outside the plant complex may mean that radiation is leaking out continuously, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said early Thursday.
- Japan’s government may need to spend over 10 trillion yen ($120 billion) in emergency budgets for disaster relief and reconstruction, the country’s deputy finance minister, Mitsuru Sakurai, signalled on Thursday. [ID:nL3E7EV0H6]
- Japanese manufacturing activity slumped to a two-year low in March and posted the sharpest monthly fall on record as the quake and tsunami hit supply chains and output. [ID:nLHE7EO00C]
- France also flew in two experts from state-owned nuclear reactor maker Areva and its nuclear research body to assist Japan’s heavily criticised plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) .
- Japan says comprehensive rules will be drawn up for power plant operators in light of the accident that ripped apart the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. It was the first acknowledgment that norms were insufficient when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the facility.
- More than 27,500 people dead or missing from the earthquake and tsunami. About 173,600 living in shelters on high ground above the vast plains of mud-covered debris.
- Estimated cost of damage to top $300 billion, making it the world’s costliest natural disaster. The 1995 Kobe quake cost $100 billion while Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused $81 billion in damage.
(Tokyo bureau; Compiled by World Desk Asia)