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Disaster in Japan; Devastating Scene; Libya Uprising; Counting the Cost of the Earthquake; Radiation Threat; Nothing Left after Devastation; Survivor Search in Japan

Aired March 14, 2011 - 05:00   ET


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. It is 9:00 a.m. in London, 6:00 p.m. in Tokyo. I'm

We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to our special coverage of the disaster in Japan.

There are new reports. A third reactor at Japan's hardest hit nuclear plants in Fukushima may now be in trouble. Authorities say the cooling system on Daiichi's number two reactor has stopped working and pressure has been building up inside.

This follows a fresh blast earlier this Monday in the area that houses reactor number three. Six people were injured in that explosion. Officials say the likely cause was a hydrogen buildup.

Radiation contamination levels are now being tested. Initial reports suggest they did rise after the incident but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says he does not believe there has been a massive leak.

Well, there are have been grim discovery across Miyagi Prefecture. And Kyodo News Agency reports around 2,000 bodies have been found in two locations. Police authorities have confirmed more than 1600 deaths so far with around 2,000 injured. At least 1700 people are still missing.

More now on the compromised nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Japanese media quoting Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency says the cooling system of reactor two stopped working today and pressure has been building up inside. This marks the third reactor in trouble there.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow to explain the differences.

And, Matthew, first of all, there have been concerns. But especially for those people living in the area don't believe what they are being told by the safety agency or the agency that's in charge of the nuclear systems there in the area.

What are you hearing?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's an extent to which people in Japan have believed that their nuclear officials in the past misrepresented the situation with other nuclear accidents, and so there's a bit of suspicion lingering from what we're hearing about the sort of voracity of the information that they're coming out with now.

And so what I've been doing is monitoring the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, which is based in Vienna, obviously distance from that location in Japan. But it does have people on the ground. It's got its own team of experts as well that verify or try to verify the information coming through to them from the Japanese officials on the ground.

They're not necessarily the quickest means of gathering the news but the information they do collect has been verified by their experts. They've not mentioned this latest problem with the number two reactor. They have given us more information, though, about reactor number three in Fukushima.

There was an explosion at about 11:00 in the morning local time in Japan according to the IAEA. It was caused by a buildup of hydrogen gas in the reactor building. But the agency confirms that the primary containment vessel, as it's called, the area where the actually nuclear fuel rods are stored, was not damaged in that explosion.

It does say, though, that six people were injured as a result of that blast. Now of course, there's been a lot of concern around the area, the exclusion zone around the area, around the plant in Japan in general, of course, about the problems of contamination from all these problems stemming from the various nuclear reactors that are having problems.

Now what the IAEA says at this point is that they've taken measurements from various points around the Fukushima plant at the moment. They're concurring with Japanese officials saying that the radiation levels are at this point somewhat normal.

RAJPAL: They are comparing that they're saying that this accident there at Fukushima is one of the worse in history since Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Of course it's difficult at this point to compare the two in terms of how bad it is.

But are you seeing any similarities from what you've studied when it comes to Chernobyl in Ukraine?

CHANCE: Well, I think there's big differences. Clearly. I'm not a nuclear expert, but one of the characteristics of the Chernobyl disaster back in 1986, in fact nearly 25 years it was -- next month is the anniversary, 25th anniversary of the explosion at Chernobyl -- was that there was this enormous explosion that didn't just take place in the building but was right in the middle of the reactor core.

And it spread radioactive material, literally big chunks of radioactive material was spilled out in a big black plume of smoke and it was carried all over the western and eastern Europe, you know, carrying -- you know contaminating radioactive material all over this very highly populated area of western and eastern Europe.

That has not happened in Japan. The reactors have been essentially shut down. They're not in danger, it seems, of the kind of, you know, devastating explosions that affected Chernobyl. But there is this -- you know, you do have to keep cooling the reactor cores. We've been reporting all along. That's where the problems have been stemming from.

And when they fail to do that and when the fuel rods have been exposed to the air, that's when we're seeing these limited releases of radiation. But at this point, it's pretty clear it's not on the same scale as the Chernobyl explosion 25 years ago.

RAJPAL: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you for that.

More than 15,000 people have been rescued so far in this disaster. Numerous rescue and assistance teams from the U.S. arrived in Japan on Sunday.

The Japanese prime minister says this is his country's worst crisis since World War II.


NAOTO KAN, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (Through Translator): Please, I ask each one of you, please have such determination and to deepen your bond with your family members, neighbors, the people in your community to overcome crisis so that Japan can be a better place.

We can do it together. This is the message I would like to emphasize to the Japanese people.


RAJPAL: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

CNN's Anna Coren has managed to make her way to northeastern Japan where rescuers are desperately searching for any survivors three days after disaster struck. Anna joins us now from Higashi Matsushima.

Anna, first of all, as we can see there, it is dark, it is nightfall there in northeastern Japan. Of course temperatures we would assume are starting to plummet.

Can you tell us a little bit about the conditions where I guess survivors are having to live in now?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Monita, we are in Ishinomaki and as you say it's just gone 6:00 p.m. It is getting extremely dark. It's also getting very, very cold.

For those people who have come back to their homes -- this was a -- this is a neighborhood, believe it or not. And I guess I just want to show you this. As we still have just a little bit of light. That the devastation that has taken place. Because these were people's homes.

You know you can see the roof of this building that has just completely collapsed. In fact it was standing here. And I'm currently on its foundations. So it was ripped off its foundation, smashed into that building. And that kind of gives you an idea of the power of this wave. This 10-meter wall of water that came from this direction, from the coast, that 500 meters that way, and just roared straight through here.

Now Ben Adams, our cameraman, is going to pan around to sort of show you the destruction that has taken place. This tsunami has just ripped buildings apart, completely obliterated it.

And for the buildings that are still standing which is quite remarkable. I mean, to go inside, if you can actually go inside it is just a complete mess. Everything has been destroyed.

So I've mentioned before I mean people have returned to these houses. They have been going through the remains to see what they can find. They're trying to salvage any clothing, any bedding. And they have walked out with bags, but you know not much. They're having to go and to stay with friends and family and centers that been set up around the city.

But you know, supplies are really short here. Food, water, power. It is -- it is a real, you know, scarcity. So they are really relying on the government to help them out because at the moment things are just really, really tough.

RAJPAL: All right. Anna Coren in northeastern Japan. Thank you so much.

Well, amid the devastation, amid the grief and the lost, there are also some incredible stories of survival. Here's one young man's account of what happened to him.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Ishikawa (ph) says he was pushed into a wave after his house collapsed. And he felt the crush of the water as he was sucked down. He says he managed to swim out of his house from the balcony.

Ishikawa says he then grabbed hold of a submerged fishing boat that had been swept away. He was then able to get to the surface and look for something to hold on to. He then gripped on to the roof of a house. He says he ripped his jacket but still managed to pull himself out on to the roof.

His house began to float away and it approached a nursing home. He says fortunately there were still people inside the building. He says the people inside told him to try to break the window. He says he thought of his family members and realized that he has to survive. He says he decided to do everything possible at that point to stay alive.


RAJPAL: Amazing.

Newspapers around the world have been undoubtedly reacting to the disaster in Japan. Many of them giving credit to the country's preparations.

In Thailand, the "Bangkok Post" has the headline, "Lessons from Japan Disaster." The paper goes on to say, "If ever a country was prepared for disaster it is modern Japan. Countless thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of lives were saved in homes, offices, by proper planning and strong enforcement of building codes."

"The Wall Street Journal's" headline is, "Sturdy Japan." It says attention turned to the safety of the country's nuclear reactors. Those serious concerns should not obscure all the things Japan got right in its preparations."

And then in India, "The Times of India's" headlines goes on to say, "Nature's Terror." "The damage in terms of human lives has been remarkably contained relative to what might have been. For that all credit must go to successive Japanese administrations and to civil society itself."

One issue, many views. And you can read all those articles in full and find ways you can help at

Still to come here on WORLD ONE, three days after the disaster, families are desperately searching for loved ones and rescuers are racing against time to find survivors. Paula Hancocks will be joining us.


RAJPAL: This is WORLD ONE live from London bringing you the latest now from Japan.

The cooling system in the number two reactor of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan has failed. Power company officials tell Japanese media the number one and number three reactors have experienced the same problem followed by explosions in the buildings surrounding the reactors.

Public broadcaster NHK reports the number two reactor has totally lost its cooling function.

We want to take a moment now to remind you just where the hardest hit cities and towns are in Japan. Take a look at this map. Sendai is close to the quake's epicenter. Closer still to the epicenter, Kesennuma. We've yet to see the scenes of devastation from there.

Also worth noting here, Fukushima, that's where those two power plants have been damaged. Authorities have released radioactive steam to relieve pressure in the reactors.

Well, the pictures tell it all but behind the devastation is the reality that life as people knew it is forever changed.

Paula Hancocks joins us now from Sendai with firsthand account.

Paula, we understand that you just returned from visiting a hospital there. PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm actually in Ishinomaki, which is just north of Sendai. And I was on my way to try and get to a peninsula which officials believe has been particularly hard hit.

Now we've had local news reports and Kyodo News Agency suggesting that 2,000 bodies have been found in these particular areas, the Oshika Peninsula and Minami Sanriku. Now Minami Sanriku is the time where we visited on Sunday and it was completely wiped out. We couldn't quite get down to the end of that point next to the beach because there was a tsunami alert. And everyone ushered us to higher ground.

And here we're trying to get to the peninsula itself to see just how devastating the damage is. But it is very difficult. It is pretty much cut off at this point. We understand that many rescue teams are relying heavily on helicopters. They have to get to these particularly bad hit areas by air because by roads it's just not possible.

The coastal road is pretty much inaccessible. You have to come inland then head north and then head out towards the sea once again. But it is very difficult for people to try and reach these areas. And it was getting dark so we gave up for this evening. But we noticed some people from these surrounding areas have been making it to the hospital here which we went and visited.

About 2,000 people have come through since Friday's earthquake. We understand from the Red Cross that's stationed there and many more are staying here in this middle school behind me, about 2,000 people -- sorry, 1,000 people who actually survived the earthquake and the tsunami but then don't have a home to go back to.

RAJPAL: Paula, it's hard enough just to get to these places that you've been talking about, to get to the hospitals or get to the shelters, but in terms of what is in those shelters, the resources such as water, blankets, food. Is there a sense that they have enough at this point or are they in desperate need of more?

HANCOCKS: Well, this shelter does actually have electricity, which is a lot better than any places across the northern and eastern parts of Japan. They just switched the lights off until it got pitch black they said to try and conserve some energy. Obviously that's a major concern at this point.

They do have water and they do have food. We've just been speaking to a couple of Americans who survived the earthquake and tsunami and came here and are trying to gather their friends together. And they say that it's actually not too bad at this point considering what has happened.

Now for other shelters, I'm not sure if there is a shortage. But simply, when we are at the hospital, an interesting thing the Red Cross official did tell us was that the doctors who were obviously working 24 hours a day to try and help people who are still walking in, the walking wounded, are still struggling to find food and water for themselves.

So it is still an issue. The supplies are scarce across the board whether you're a doctor or whether you're an evacuation victim.

Back to you.

RAJPAL: All right. Paula Hancocks there in north of Sendai. Thank you very much.

Crews searching for the missing aren't just up against the clock, they are also battling cold weather in Japan.

Jill Brown joins us now from the World Weather Center with more on that -- Jill.

JILL BROWN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Monita, we have been experiencing warmer than average temperatures in the area for the last couple of days but that's all about to change in a pretty big way actually with a strong system coming in.

We have had highs in the teens the last few days. Well, for Tuesday, six for a high. And we start off, we think, with a little bit of sun. But after that, clouds rolling in and then some rain showers, maybe a rain and snow mix. On Wednesday changing over to all snow on Thursday when the high will only be two degrees. At night we're likely to get down below freezing.

And this is the worst possible news for this area where there's -- for the most part no shelter much less any heat. So if you take a look at the before pictures here in Sendai and then afterward. You can see there's very little shelter out here. The people that are lucky enough to find a shelter mostly likely are not going to be having heat and electricity there. So some cold night ahead.

Southerly winds go by the wayside. Here comes this low from the south, again initially bringing some rain but behind it the wind will come in from the northwest and that's going to change that over to snow and we'll have just a few days of cooler than average temperatures. And then we should see it warming up again.

Here's the satellite pictures. You could see the clouds are already started to roll in across Japan. It's not a very strong system but it will bring in enough precipitation and more importantly perhaps even the colder temperatures that will last for a few days. But there's your forecast for snow. We're looking for maybe a centimeter or two, not a whole lot.

So the other thing that we've kind of been looking at for a while is the wind direction, the upper level winds -- and this is the forecast for the next 48 hours -- continue from the west, west to east, offshore winds. Good news here.

The surface winds will shift. And we think that Tuesday we'll be seeing an onshore wind after our storm goes by. As I mentioned northwest winds. So the cold air coming in. It will shift again and be offshore.

Why is that important? Well, because we've watching those nuclear plants. And with the danger of any radiation out there and offshore wind blowing any of that away from land would be for the best. So we have about 24 hours that we think that will be an onshore wind. After that coming back to offshore.

So that's not looking so terrible. But those temperatures, Monita, for the next few days are going to be terrible. It's going to be cold, cold weather out there.

RAJPAL: Jill Brown there, thank you very much.

CNN's coverage of the tsunami aftermath in Japan continues. But also ahead recaptured, they tried to push out Gadhafi and Gadhafi pushed back. In just a moment we'll take you to a town where rebels fought and lost.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can get an idea of the ferocity of the battle for it. This looks like the tailfin from a Katyusha rocket buried in the front of this house here and underneath., children's shoes.



RAJPAL: You're watching WORLD ONE.

Our top stories in Japan, cooling down fuel rods at the Daiichi plant which was badly damaged in Friday's earthquake is proving to be more difficult than first thought. Authorities say half of the reactor cooling systems have now failed.

Earlier this Monday there was a new explosion in an area near reactor number three. Six people were injured in the blast. Officials say the radiation level around the Fukushima plant is currently stable and posing no harm to people's health.

Also in our headlines this hour, supporters of Bahrain's rulers threaten student protesters at Bahrain's University. That's according to reports from eyewitnesses. Elsewhere riot police moved in to disperse anti-government demonstrators on a highway.

You are looking at video showing the use of what appears to be teargas. CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity. The government denied that unjustified force was used.

In Libya, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's government is denouncing the Arab League for recommending a no-fly zone over the country to protect its civilian population. Libya's Foreign Ministry called the decision a, quote, "flagrant action against its charter."

Meanwhile Libyan government forces have been fighting to recapture opposition held towns and have driven rebels out of al-Brega.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson got a government-led tour of another town that is also now under Gadhafi's control. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Driving east the detritus of war, mile upon mile of rocketed vehicles, discarded weapons and ammunition littering the roadside. Evidence of a rapid rebel retreat, outgunned and outsmarted by government forces advancing from the west.

The first stop on this government organized trip Bin Jawad.

(On camera): This is Bin Jawad police station. It's not clear exactly what happened here but it's the first signs of any real battle that we've seen. As we've been driving on the highway coming along from the west, we've seen occasional checkpoints manned by two, three, four sometimes a dozen or so soldiers or policemen.

And in a town here we've seen most of the stores closed, some signs of looting. But this police station here is the real first sign of battle we've come across.

We're inside this pretty smashed up as well. The windows here in the front, this reinforced glass, all destroyed, blown out. Really blown up as shots are being fired deliberately by the -- being fired by soldiers there. They've just been coming back from what appears to be the direction of the front line, some sort of impromptu celebration just for the cameras here.

Just a few days ago this town was still in rebel hands. You can get an idea of the ferocity of the battle for it. This looks like the tailfins from Katyusha rocket buried in the front of this house here and underneath, children's shoes.

(Voice-over): Few houses hit, most by rockets fired from the west and advancing government forces. Driving on eastward another 40 miles the sky fills with dense black smoke as we get closer unmistakably clear, an oil storage tanker, the Ras Lanuf refinery, burning out of control. Officials blaming it on rebels.

(On camera): Exactly how far government forces have advanced beyond the oil (INAUDIBLE), exactly where the front line is, remains unclear, but what is clear is that the government is on a roll and the rebels are recoiling, retreating, it seems, almost as fast as they can.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Ras Lanuf, Libya.


RAJPAL: The danger still looms as authorities rush to cool down nuclear reactors in Japan. But authorities are trying to protect the population from radiation and it comes in a form of a pill. We'll have that story coming up.


RAJPAL: I'm Monita Rajpal in London.

Out top stories this hour authorities say more than 1800 people are confirmed dead and more than 2300 missing after Friday's earthquake and tsunami. But it seems likely that toll will soar.

Unofficial reports put the number of missing at more than 10,000. Meanwhile Prime Minister Naoto Kan says some 15,000 people have been rescued.

The king of Bahrain is being urged to impose martial law as protests against the regime continued. A pro-government group of parliamentarians is calling for Bahrain's security forces to intervene in the name of national stability. The move follows another day of demonstration.

This video shows riot police apparently using teargas to disperse anti-government protesters. CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity.

In Iraq two inmates were killed during a prison riot in Tikrit. Fourteen people were wounded in the chaos including several inmates and prison guards. Police say prisoners set fires in several cells in hopes of escaping in the midst of the riot. But two inmates told CNN the fires were set to protest corruption, ill treatment and poor conditions inside the prison.

Israel approved the construction of several thousand housing units on the West Bank a day after five Israelis were killed at home in the disputed territory. Two parents and three of their children were found in their bed with their throats slit.

The government says all the evidence points to a terror attack without revealing what evidence had brought them to that conclusion.

Some 200,000 people who live near Japan's troubled nuclear plant have been ordered to leave the area. Threats of radiation exposure are of utmost concerns as authorities try to stem any leaks from the reactor. Authorities say the container protecting the core of the nuclear plant is still intact.

We want to go to our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta live in Shiogama City for more on the threat of radiation and what's being done to help those in the affected area -- Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, one of the big things is that leaves a lot of people who are displaced, what you just described, Monita.

A lot of people have been told to evacuate as a result of these concerns about radiation. Add that on top of obviously so many people's homes being destroyed as the result of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The result is a little bit of what you see over here behind me.

This is one of the largest sort of makeshift refugee camps, sort of just came together over the last few days.

You may notice, Monita, this is something that people here in Japan know is that schools are typically built at higher elevations and many other buildings and the building codes for schools are often stricter. They are more earthquake resistant and they also become an immediate place for refugees in the aftermath of something like this.

So hundreds of people have been coming in to this particular part of the school, this gymnasium. They say there were around 700 people in this particular area now. More people in other parts of the school. And this is quickly becoming one of the largest refugee area as a result.

I can also tell you, Monita, it's very cold outside. So people who are displaced as a result of this mandatory evacuation -- Onagawa, by the way, is about 50 kilometers from here, Fukushima about 100 kilometers from here. People in Onagawa have made their way to this particular refugee area.

That's sort of the consequence of all these different activities, all these different tragedies over the last several days coming together, Monita.

RAJPAL: In terms of what the resources that are available, too, I guess medical personnel there, when it comes to obviously treating potential radiation exposure, but also again just everyday issues such as people being sick, people needing food, people needing water, what are you seeing? What are you being told?

GUPTA: Well, you know, with regard to the radiation concerns and I'll tell you, everyone is talking about it. There seems to be a real fear about this, some anxiety about it. But you know there's also been a lot of news, both local radio reports that people are listening to constantly, talking about the fact that the vast majority of people, certainly this far away, are not in any danger.

You know when you talk about radiation sickness it's really dependent on a couple of things. Both the dose of radiation which appears to very small, higher than normal, but still very small, and then your distance, away from that, you know, potential source of radiation.

So, you know for the most part people are understanding that 're probably safe in this area but there is still a fair amount of anxiety about that. Some of the symptoms that people would have, if they started to get sick, if they got a high dose and they're very close and then they would -- all the cells in the body that divide rapidly inside your intestines and your hair, those would start to be affected.

So people will get nauseated, they would start to feel fatigued. Their bone marrow might be affected. So their immune systems would be depressed as a result. Those are sorts of things that can occur immediately. But there's also a concern that people have talked with regard to longer term, much in the future concerns about cancers that could develop.

Again nobody is saying that this is happening. But one of the things that's being discussed widely now is using something known as potassium iodine, and without giving too much interim, well, you could basically -- it can help protect against a particular type of cancer, a thyroid cancer. The radioactive iodine that increased that risk, potassium iodine can decrease. So again these are the discussions that are taking place even among local citizens. But the more basic necessities is getting people out of the cold. It is very cold outside. Getting people food. The supermarkets in this area were donating food in the people here. They've run out. So now they're relying on the goodwill of volunteers from all over to the country who've been donating food, blankets.

You see a lot of children, a lot of adults in here, they -- you know, right now they had -- seemingly have enough supplies, but how much water, how much food, how much longer it's all going to last, that's a big question for a lot of people right now.

RAJPAL: OK. Dr. Sanjay Gupta there in Shiogama City in the north of Sendai. Thank you for that.

The earthquake struck 15 minutes before Japan's stock markets closed on Friday. The (INAUDIBLE) reaction was strong and swift this Monday. Japan's NIKKEI plunged more than 6 percent, falling below the 10000 mark, but the selling was less severe on other markets in the region.

Markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai even ended higher while Sidney's S&P ASX 200 edged about half a percent lower but Japan's financial woes aren't limited to the NIKKEI. Early estimates suggests the damage to the country's infrastructure could top $100 billion.

For more now on the effects that this colossal earthquake and tsunami could have on the Japanese economy, we cross over live now to our "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY's" Andrew Stephens joining us now from Hong Kong -- Andrew.

ANDREW STEPHENS, CNN ANCHOR: Monita, that $100 billion could actually turn out to be a conservative number. I've seen estimates from some of the early research notes putting the numbers as high as $170 billion.

So certainly until we know the full damage of the devastated northern part of Japan it's very difficult to pinpoint the accuracy there.

Let's have a look at what happened to the NIKKEI, though. Down 6.2 percent, that its biggest single day decline in two years. You have to go back to the dark days of the global financial crisis. The collapse of Lehman Brothers to see a fall like this on a major global stock exchange.

The big loss leaders were not surprising, really, Toshiba. This is the company that makes nuclear reactors. Japan Electric, Tokyo Electric, as well, all -- they are all involved in the electricity, the power area.

Now Tokyo Marine is an insurance company. That is down by more than 12 percent. Tokyo Electric, as I said, down by 23 percent. They are the operators and the owners of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The automakers taking a hit as well. Toyota, Nissan and Honda all down. Toyota is saying in fact it is going to close all its production capacity in Japan for at least three days. They're going to try to reopen on Thursday morning. Toyota down by some 8 percent.

And a very similar story among all the automakers.

Now Taisei and Kajima Corporations. These are building companies and not surprisingly they were much higher. Kajima, particularly, is known for its construction of the earthquake resistant buildings. And it led gains among all of Japan's construction stocks.

It wasn't just Japanese construction companies rallying today as well. They're also rallying in South Korea.

Now on the broader economic fund, away from the initial stock market reaction the Bank of Japan, the central bank, met today and decided to take very swift action. It said it's going to pump a record amount of money into the financial system. We're talking about $183 billion. Now the idea of this is to make sure there's plenty of enough money in the financial system so the banks can continue lend to each other and also to lend to anybody who would want to take out a loan.

The idea was to try to keep confidence in the financial system. There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of raw fears obviously in Japan, just broad fears so the BOJ trying to cool any fears down that people may have about the financial system.

And there was one piece of good news which helped to calm fears in the financial sector. Standard & Poor's, that's the credit ratings agency, it said that the quake on Friday, the tsunami on Friday will have no immediate effect on Japan's AA sovereign debt rating.

Now this is despite the obvious fiscal and economic impact we're only just starting to see. We're not talking about the fiscal impact. Someone is going to have to pay for the rebuilding.

Japan already has the highest national debt in the world. It's going to have to borrow more to pay for that which is going to hurt its own public finances. But at the moment Standard and Poor's saying, it is not on our radar.

And finally very quickly, Monita, the yen versus the dollar. The yen became dangerously strong in the immediate aftermath of the -- of the disaster because people saw that a lot of yen would be need for the rebuilding exercise. It went down to a near --- or went to a near record high against the U.S. dollar. It has come back since we got that news from the BOJ. Currently at 82.09. Still strong, but certainly not nearly as strong and as dangerously strong as it was -- Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Andrew there -- Andrew Stephens, thank you very much.

Trapped in a car for 20 hours, the survival stories out of Japan continue to amaze. We'll have more for you, next.


RAJPAL: Amid the devastation in Japan, an incredible story of survival. Rescuers spotted this 60-year-old man signaling for help 15 kilometers offshore. He was clinging to the roof of his home two days after the tsunami carried him out to sea.

The man says he and his wife fled their house during the earthquake. They returned to get some belongings when the tsunami struck. His wife was lost at sea.

Well, there are some amazing stories of search crews finding survivors in devastated homes, in stores, even in cars. Take a look at this amazing rescue that Japanese broadcaster NHK caught on tape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through Translator): Suddenly there was activity on the roof. Someone shouts, there is still another person. They ask Self Defense Force troops to help.

There were survivors in the car. An elderly person had been stuck in this car. The person was rescued safely 10 minutes later. It turned out there were three elderly people. The car had been covered in mud and debris and they could not get out and for 20 hours they were trapped in the car.

This woman says that she was washed away by the waves and that she was afraid.


RAJPAL: Amazing. Then we take you to the tourist town of Minami Sanriku. It was one of the first places hit by the sheer power of the tsunami wave. It sits about 80 kilometers from the quake's epicenter. Or at least it did. Now there's not much left.

Gary Tuchman gives us a look.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is Minami Sanriku, Japan. About three miles from the Pacific Ocean. Never in my career of covering natural disasters have I seen a town so utterly pulverized, just completely mowed down.

But this is not from the earthquake. This is from the tsunami. And we know that because this is where the water stopped on its way from the ocean. If you go just a half a mile away from here, half a mile to the west there is absolutely no damage whatsoever in the nearby neighborhoods, but here there is nothing left.

We see cars, we see trucks, we see motor homes, trees, personal belongings of people all over the place and they come from all over this town of 20,000 people. Now there are still thousands of people unaccounted for. It doesn't mean they're all dead. It doesn't mean they are all hurt. It's hard to keep track of people.

But the fact is there are still many bodies under this rubble. Throughout the day today and yesterday ambulances have been coming in and out. They heard people screaming, they took them out. Right now we hear no more voices. We're being told by emergency rescue officials they don't believe there's anyone still alive in the rubble, but as we said there are still people who perished in this earthquake and the tsunami.

But what's really unusual about the situation is we drove across the country from the west coast of Japan to here on the east coast and we saw virtually no damage whatsoever until we got to this spot three miles away from the Pacific Ocean.

We're still feeling aftershocks here that causes a lot of anxiety in Japan as it did in Haiti last year after the January 12th earthquake there. The aftershocks continue for a long time. Many people to this day refuse to go in their homes in Haiti scared that those homes will collapse from the aftershocks. And that's the situation here in Japan. A lot of anxiety after this 8.9 earthquake and the tsunami which has killed so many people.

This is Gary Tuchman in the earthquake zone in Japan.


RAJPAL: Coming up, near the epicenter of the disaster, rescue crews hold on to hope as they continue their search for survivors in Sendai.


RAJPAL: Welcome back. We are coming up on 7:00 p.m. in Tokyo, 11 a.m. in Berlin, and 6:00 a.m. in New York. Here are our top stories on CNN.

Another nuclear reactor at the Fukushima plant in northeastern Japan has lost its cooling capabilities. Officials say water levels were falling and pressure was building inside.

Parts of Tokyo and other cities face rolling blackouts as the country tried to return to work. Some shops were open but food supplies like bread and instant noodles as well as bottled water were scarce.

In Libya, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's government has lashed out over recommendation to set up the no-fly zone over the country. Libya's Foreign Ministry describes the Arab League's move as a, quote, "flagrant action against its charter." The Arab League said the no- fly zone was needed to protect civilians.

The king of Bahrain is being urged to impose martial law as protests against the regime continued. A pro-government group of parliamentarians is calling for Bahrain's security forces to intervene in the name of national stability. The move follows another day of demonstration.

This video shows riot police apparently using teargas to disperse anti-government protesters. CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity.

It is three days after the quake and tsunami struck Japan. On day four now and we are getting a clearer picture of the damage. The images we've gathered from Sendai reveal the tragedy that is unraveling across the nation.

Martin Savidge brings us a closer look.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How do you begin to search what looks like the end of the world?

In the seaside city of Sendai, emergency teams carefully pick their way through the devastation. Dwarfed by the size of the tsunami's impact, often the teams are trailed by anxious civilians looking for any signs of missing loved ones.

I wanted to ask this man who he was looking for. But I never got the chance.

(On camera): So we've started to follow this -- what appears to be a search crew. But now the problem is that apparently there's been another tsunami warning. So the crew and everyone else here is being told to get away, which they're doing.

(Voice-over): It's hard to tell how real the threat may be. Nerves in Sendai are very much still on edge. Officials shout their warnings, load up and head for higher ground.

We go in the opposite direction, heading toward the coast, and the closer we get, the more unreal the scenery. The tidal surge rushed inland in some places six miles. Getting around is difficult. Many roads here are impassable.

Adding to the apocalyptic scenes, huge fires continue to burn unchecked. Thick black smoke and flames boil from a refinery. As we video the scene we notice something else.

(On camera): Up until now we've heard the sirens, we've heard the announcements, another tsunami coming, but nobody really seemed to be that anxious. Then all of a sudden we noticed the water here. It's racing out. We're leaving.

(Voice-over): Fortunately, the threat never materializes, which is a good thing because Sendai has already seen more than its share of hell and high water.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sendai, Japan.


RAJPAL: Help for the victims of the Japanese quake is pouring in from around the world. Here's a look at how the international relief effort now .

Japan's Foreign Ministry now says 69 governments are offering help. From the United States, the USS Ronald Reagan started rescue and relief operations off the Japanese coast. Ten U.S. Navy ships are committed to the effort.

From the UK the British government is sending 11 tons of rescue equipment.

Teams from Australia are on the way. Other nations offering help include Canada, Spain, France and Germany. China has sent equipment, military manpower and medicine.

If you would like to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami you can find more information at Our "Impact Your World" team is collecting links to organizations that are mobilizing relief effort in Japan.

On that page you'll also find a link to Google's People Finder database that aims to reunite those who've been separated in all the chaos. And as the earthquake response ramps up, we will continue to add information to this page, at

You're watching a special edition of WORLD ONE live from London. I'm Monita Rajpal. Thank you for joining us.

We want to give you another look at the incredible pictures coming in from Japan. As you can see, vast amounts of debris cover a large area in (INAUDIBLE) near Sendai after Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

This is WORLD ONE on CNN.