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Tokyo paralysed over need to save electricity

The mega world city of Tokyo is gradually shutting down as retailers, manufacturers and the entertainment sector close down to save power after the nuclear reactor failures.

Sony, Toshiba and Toyota are just three of many plants on temporary shutdown as power cuts are put in place to conserve the country’s electrical supplies. The ongoing disasters at the Fukushima nuclear facility and other nuclear power stations in the quake zone have caused supplies to drop to a critical level.

The seven massive Mitsukoshi department stores, as well as rivals Odakyu, Sogo and Seibu, have all closed, with the government texting all citizens nationwide to urge them to save energy. Rail operators have suspended many services in an attempt to conserve power supplies.

Panic buying of essentials such as batteries, water and food staples is reported, and anecdotal evidence of a mass exodus from the city to western and southern Japan as well as international destinations is coming in. A large aftershock earlier today and a lack of consistent news about the status of the stricken nuclear plants is causing many to leave.

Reports of another hydrogen explosion early this morning at Fukushima’s no 3 reactor came amid suggestions the facility’s no 2 reactor is also unable to be cooled. Added to

news of the state of emergency declared yesterday at the Onagawa nuclear facility further to the north and the official notice that residents 20 miles from the Fukushima plant should leave the area, international concern about a major nuclear incident is racking up.

Meanwhile, estimates of the final death toll are growing to five-figure numbers as the full extent of the devastation becomes clear. Search and rescue teams from across the world are now in the Sendai area, with initial reports suggesting recovery of bodies rather than the rescue of survivors. Emergency evacuation centres are packed with people, the power is still off and millions of homes have been destroyed along a vast swathe of coastline.

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