The latest news out of Tokyo, and the reason why the Nikkei took a big turn lower in overnight trading, is that according to the latest disclosure by Tokyo authorities on Wednesday, "water at a purification plant for the capital of 13 million people had 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine -- more than twice the safety level for infants." While the threshold itself may not be all that material, it merely reinforces the perception that either the government is covering up something far more sinister, or the authorities have lost control of the situation, with incremental bad news creeping up every single day. As a result, as we have claimed from the very beginning, one of the world's most populous cities, located just 150 miles away from what may soon be the next Chernobyl per prior whistleblower disclosure, could likely soon be a ghost town with dire implications for the Japanese and world economy.
More from Bloomberg:
Tokyo authorities said city tap water may be unsafe for infants while Japan’s government sought to assure people that radiation levels detected in the food chain following a nuclear accident don’t pose a health threat.
Radioactive iodine levels taken yesterday at a treatment facility in Katsushika ward were double the recommended limit for babies, a city official said in a televised briefing today. The water would pose a health risk if drunk over the long-term, such as a year, he said. Tokyo’s population is estimated to be about 13 million people.
Disclosures of rising contamination, coupled with assurances that risks are minimal, underscore the government’s struggle to contain the ripple effects of a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that crippled a nuclear facility north of Tokyo. Japanese stocks extended declines after Tokyo issued the water advisory, with the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average falling 1.7 percent to close at 9,449.47.
"It’s hard to tell people they’re ingesting radiation in any way that won’t provoke a panic," said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University’s Tokyo campus. "But the government has been far more transparent than in any case I can recall."
The health ministry earlier today advised against eating leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower produced near the stricken Dai-Ichi power plant, which is located 220 kilometers (135 miles) from Tokyo. The degree of contamination detected isn’t harmful, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a Tokyo briefing. While parents shouldn’t use tap water to mix baby formula, it can be drunk safely by adults and children, he said.