Panic Evacuations Strike Tokyo Where Radiation Levels Are Ten Times Normal, Food Hoarding Empties Stores In Capital, Fallout Projected To Blow To Pacific

Tyler Durden's picture

Simply surreal news out of Tokyo (which unfortunately we predicted once again) which is now reported to have ten times normal radiation levels.

From Reuters:

Radiation wafted from an earthquake-stricken nuclear power plant towards Tokyo on Tuesday, sparking panic in one of the world's biggest and most densely populated cities.

Women and children packed into the departure lounge at an airport, supermarkets ran low on rice and other supplies and frightened residents, tourists and expatriates either stayed indoors or simply left the city.

"I'm not too worried about another earthquake. It's radiation that scares me," said Masashi Yoshida, cradling his 5-month-old daughter Hana

The nail-biting eased in the afternoon after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano appeared on national television saying radiation levels at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex had fallen dramatically since morning.

But confidence in the government is shaken and many decided not to take chances, especially after radiation levels in Saitama, near Tokyo, were 40 times normal -- not enough to cause human damage but enough to stoke fears in the ultra-modern and hyper-efficient metropolis of 12 million people.

Many hoarded food and other supplies and stayed indoors. Don Quixote, a multistorey, 24-hour general store in Tokyo's Roppongi district, was sold out of radios, flashlights, candles, fuel cans and sleeping bags on Tuesday.

At another market near Tokyo's Yotsuya station, an entire aisle was nearly empty on both sides, its instant noodles, bread and pastry gone since Friday's earthquake and tsunami killed at least 10,000 people nationwide and plunged Japan into a twin nuclear and humanitarian crisis.

At Haneda Airport, hundreds of young mothers lined up with children, boarding flights out of Tokyo.

"We are getting our of Tokyo and going to our home town because of the situation. For the time being we have bought a one way ticket and will wait and see what happens," said a Japanese woman with an eight-month-old baby and four-year-old son, who declined to be identified by name.

Tourists such as Christy Niver, of Egan, Minnesota, said they had enough. Her 10-year-old daughter, Lucy, was more emphatic. "I'm scared. I'm so scared I would rather be in the eye of a tornado," she said. "I want to leave."

Winds over the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex, about 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, blew slowly southwesterly towards Tokyo for much of the day before shifting westerly later, a weather official said.

Some scientists, however, urged Tokyo to stay calm.

"Radioactive material will reach Tokyo but it is not harmful to human bodies because it will be dissipated by the time it gets to Tokyo," said Koji Yamazaki, professor at Hokkaido University graduate school of environmental science.

"If the wind gets stronger, it means the material flies faster but it will be even more dispersed in the air."

University of Tokyo professor of bioengineering Hiroyuki Takahashi added: "If the nuclear fuel remains contained, there will be very little health risk."


The Czech Symphony Orchestra left Tokyo by bus for Ishikawa prefecture on the west coast.

"Some of them wanted to go home after the earthquake but it's pretty much impossible to get tickets for a hundred people now," said Hitomi Sakuma, a friend of the orchestra who was seeing them off at a Tokyo hotel.

About 350 Japan-based expatriates at Infosys Technologies Ltd , India's second-largest software services exporter, are returning to India, its chief executive said.

"Some of them have returned, some are in the process of coming back," S. Gopalakrishnan told Reuters. "The revenue from Japan is very small and overall it will have a minimal impact on business."    U.S. banking giant Citigroup said it was keeping workers in Tokyo informed but there were no evacuation orders, said a spokesman, adding the bank was closely following guidance by the U.S. Embassy, which has not urged nationals to leave.

Some international journalists covering the disaster from the worst-hit region around the northeastern city of Sendai, devastated by Friday's mammoth earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 10,000, were pulling out.

The Tokyo office of Michael Page International, a British recruitment agency, was closing for the week. "I am leaving for Singapore tomorrow," said one employee.

Levels of radiation had risen in Tokyo but for now were "not a problem", the city government said.

And while Korea and Russia are reported to be safe for now, with radiation fallout simulated to head toward the Pacific, we expect America to be quite vocal about the threat of radioactivity coming from Japan via the Jet Stream as soon as it wakes up. From Kyodo.

South Korea's Meteorological Administration on Tuesday released the results of a weather simulation which it said shows most of the radioactive particles from Japan's damaged nuclear power plant will drift toward the Pacific.

The weather agency insisted that the results are entirely hypothetical, noting that it does not have concrete data with respect to the amount of radioactive vapor that escaped into the air, the timeframe and other details concerning the extent of damage to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s No. 1 Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The agency said it conducted the simulation using the latest weather data to find how the radioactive particles will spread in the next 24 hours, assuming that the leak occurred at 9 a.m. Tuesday Tokyo time.

The simulation shows similar results whether the leak occurred at 3 p.m. or 9 a.m. Tuesday, the agency said.

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HamyWanger's picture

I wouldn't worry about all this. The Japanese will soon come to their senses and realize that the best option for them is preserving the status quo. Besides, CNBC just said it will have no consequences on the world economy. 

I've just bought the dip in equities this morning with all my life savings on a x150 leverage. This is a unique buying opportunity!!!

dukeystick's picture

...uh, but the "dip" hasn't dipped yet.


Fat, radio-active fingers.

anvILL's picture

When you see Japanese manufacturing companies with great technology and good balance sheets that are very likely to post profits this year break well below PBR of one andstarts showing dividend yield exceeding 1%, it is likely that it will be dipped very soon or it has already dipped but you haven't noticed yet. Either way, some of those companies that were sold off are very geographically diversified and very cheap.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

middle east tensions cant be helping.....


iran says saudi troops unacceptable

anvILL's picture

Make that dividend yield 2%. My mistake.

Bob's picture

If you snooze, you lose, eh Hamy?  Well done, as always.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

now we have #4 too hot to handle.  b/c of the proximity of these reactors, the heat involved is now lighting up the first (nearest) of the ones which [if i'm not mistaken] were shut down and not producing power at the time of the quake/tsunami. 

who ya gonna call?

we may be seeing the deflation that some have been wagging their tongues about since 666 and the biggest dead cat bounce in the history of fiat.  commodities are down.  the bloomie screen for dummies has nat. gas and orange juice green.  period. euro stox are awash in red;  after asia, who ya gonna call?

the dollar is upskie, 2 cents v. the loonie, almost 3 v. the aussie, but is getting absolutely plastered by----the yen!!!

wherever your carry trade arises, if you have pumped the cheapo, you may hafta re-pay with the primo.

and good luck managing those VIX spreads, too!  shark city, BiCHeZ!!!

gold and silver desperately seeking bids.  trades unwinding all over creation.  perhaps those reactors have reached the critical heat to ignite paper wealth, world-wide. 

gold just found a bid @ down $40, and silver, too, which is now down a little over $2, from worse.  now we shall see who will cut loose PM's for green stamps, and how the phys. and paper markets correlate thru this mess.

my new Four Horsemen play of the week?  Go Long On Wigs.  we'll all be bald as cue balls in 2 weeks!

DocLogo's picture

what's with all the junks?.... Does no one get satire anymore?

Boilermaker's picture

Wow, Mark Faber literally blew the doors off the government ponzi scam this morning on CNBC.  The D-BAGS at CNBC literally couldn't speak and he spewed the gossip.

Cue up the tape on ZH! 

Boilermaker's picture

Yea, I don't think he left much to the imagination.  He pretty much pulled his pants down and said "there it is, take a picture".  He won't be back any time soon.

equity_momo's picture

Kind of. He said we are heading to collapse and WW3.  

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The one and only Marc Faber.

"The money printer will continue to print, that I'm sure."

Eternal Student's picture

+1. Thank you. My favorite part was at the end, when Liesman concluded with the words "I'm a little stunned". I think a crack in the Matrix just appeared.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Liesman looked fetching in his "I'm a little stunned" look for a Tuesday morning.

Ratscam's picture

maybe because of my ultra-pessimistic view ;)

we had dinner on saturday

he was also short term cautious on PM and other commodities

victor82's picture

And they let him do his whole rant w/o going to commercial? Wow, I'm impressed. Somebody at CNBC doesn't like Chicago Jesus anymore..

Did he find a way to work in the Mayans?

Diplodicus Rex's picture

I loved his comment "I would like to warn your listener" .  What, the only one?

r101958's picture

Panic? Please be real!

John McCloy's picture

Someone was saying today that Americans in Japan that she is speaking to are making plans to permanently leave Japan with their families and ones that are homeowners. Also the U.S. administration is stuck between issuing a warning directly to Americans in Japan to leave and trusting a close ally who they fear may be lying about the severity. 

Regardless I cannot see many expatriating to Japan in the near future. I people are evacuating Tokyo there is going to be some devastating housing price ramifications. 

ivana's picture

That's something nobody can fake. No cash helicopters and no CNBC can prevent exodus

duo's picture

I seriously talked with my wife about retiring in one of those seaside towns in Iwate pref.  We stayed at one on our honeymoon.  Oh well.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Well, good. More room for me. Japan has been my bug out country of choice for years and if Americans are leaving, well, more room for me.  I mean, what gives?  I am NOT making light of the situation because I love Japan more than any place I've ever lived, but everything will be more or less back to normal in 1 to 2 years on an infrastructure level regardless of tsunami or nuke plant damage.  I can not speak to the economic condition of the country but it will be a hell of a lot more orderly and neighborly when it hits the fan than the USA.  I actually JUST put in for a transfer TO Tokyo for next September and I fully expect to get it since all my co-workers are pulling their apps out like a hot potato.  Being a contrarian has so many advantages.  Thoughts?  Anyone else planning to expat to Japan or is everyone permanently bearish on remote Japanese farming villages (away from the coast) to retire in?

gruden's picture

An island in the Ring of Fire as a bug-out location?  Sure, go right on ahead...

Vlad Tepid's picture

And New Zealand, Oregon, and British Columbia aren't on the ring of fire?  This is whereI hear others are bugging out to...

Seasmoke's picture

Larry Kudlow cannnot be happy that this effecting his portfolio

Boilermaker's picture

Mustard seeds don't grow in a radioactive wasteland?  I didn't know that.

victor82's picture

No sweatshops, no peace!

Simple solution. Give the Happy Workers radiation suits. Then Larry's portfolio won't be harmed.

snowball777's picture

Hope the fucktard bought with both hands...and that said hands then fall the fuck off.

Vlad Tepid's picture

If that bastard really did say that the lives lost are no big deal because it didn't affect the economic picture (I didn't see the quote myself) then he should burn in hell.  I cannot imagine a human being saying that on TV and still having his job the next day.  I just had to get that off my chest.

Winisk's picture

Stay calm.  Ignore that deep seated instinctual feeling of flight in the face of potential danger that your ancient ancestors used to get you here.

Boilermaker's picture

Everyone please step into the massive group showers so we can clear up this lice infestation.  Keep the line moving folks; there are literally millions of you.  This will take some time and we have other things to do.

victor82's picture

To paraphrase Molly Ivins, this financial house of cards comes down so much better when it is heard in the original German.

AUD's picture

Gold, silver, Euro & USD all down in Yen. I'm having trouble equating this to a loss of credibility of the Japanese government.

eigenvalue's picture

The strength of the Yen is because of the selloff of foreign assets by Japanese insurance companies in order to satisfy the coming claims in Japan.

anvILL's picture

I consider this to be the loss of credibility of BoJ being able to "stabilize" markets despite their massive injection. Although, I still do believe they still have some power because it did move 1 Yen for 1 trillion of intervention last year.

AUD's picture

The Yen appreciating against everything is the Yen being bid. The Yen is the obligation of the BoJ which is an arm of the government. Your obligation doesn't get bid when you have no credibility.

anvILL's picture

Yes, I completely agree with your statement. What I was trying to say is that I think that BoJ has failed to scare off speculators shorting the Nikkei and buying the yen despite their huge intervention.

I think maintaining the credibility of a currency and maintaining credibility as the power to intervene are different things.

ivana's picture

Do not forget all CBs support eachother and are infact a cartel. Wait a while...

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

To me it's very simple:

BoJ will print to oblivion, Blackhawk Ben was the orchestra director, but Masaaki Shirakawa wants to print faster. Silver n Gold cannot be printed, they need to be mined. As the prices of the metals go down, I see an opportunity to buy physical.

snowball777's picture

A close friend who lives just outside Tokyo is joining the rest of her family and heading for their mountain cabin as a precaution. They're no more panic'd than anyone else who's been through a 9.0 quake and accompanying aftershocks, but also not sticking around to see what happens next.

anvILL's picture

As far as I can see on mixi (the Japanese equivalent of facebook and twitter in one), most of my friends, especially those who are well informed seems to be pretty calm despite the ten fold increase in radiation because ten times still wouldn't hurt. But yes, food is being hoarded not only in Tokyo but in many places in the Kanto area.