[What happens whenever the next inevitable catastrophe occurs, the total collapse of the Japanese economy?]
* Beijing to closely monitor Japan’s nuclear actions
* China detects above-normal radiation in ships, aircraft, cargo
* Govt says economy in “severe condition”, no quick recovery
TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) – Japan expects to stop pumping radioactive water into the sea from a crippled nuclear plant on Saturday, a day after China expressed concern at the action, reflecting growing international unease at the month-long nuclear crisis.
“The emptying out of the relatively low radiation water is expected to finish tomorrow (Saturday),” a Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) official said late on Friday.
TEPCO is struggling to contain the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl, with its engineers pumping low-level radioactive seawater, used to cool overheated fuel rods, back into the sea for the past five days due to a lack of storage capacity.
China said it will closely monitor Japan’s actions to regain control of the plant and demanded Tokyo provide swift and accurate information on the crisis which began on March 11 when a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami struck.
“We hope that Japan will act in accordance with international law and adopt effective measures to protect the marine environment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement on Friday.
China said it had detected 10 cases of ships, aircraft or cargo arriving from Japan with higher than normal levels of radiation since mid-March. [ID:nL3E7F81JE]
It said traces of radioactivity had been found in spinach in three Chinese provinces, and state news agency Xinhua reported trace levels of radioactivity detected in 22 provinces.
Japan also faces calls to revive its disaster-hit economy to prevent a knock-on impact on the global economy.
G20 finance leaders will ask Tokyo for a plan to resuscitate its economy as they see the economic damage from the earthquake as a risk to global growth, Takatoshi Kato, a former IMF deputy managing director, told Reuters in an interview on Friday. [ID:nLME7DP00O].
The earthquake and tsunami left 28,000 people dead or missing, and damaged six nuclear reactors north of Tokyo.
The world’s third largest economy is now in a “severe condition”, the Japanese government said on Friday.
A major 7.1 aftershock on Thursday night rocked Japan’s east coast, killing three people, injuring 141 others, and leaving four million homes without power. It also prompted a brief evacuation of workers from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.