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Japan quake caused $210 bln in property damage
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 24, 2011

Japan's March 11 quake and tsunami disaster destroyed buildings and infrastructure worth about $210 billion, excluding costs caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident, the government said Friday.

The 16.9 trillion yen bill estimate by the Cabinet office also excludes other costs such as compensation payments for disaster victims and evacuees.

The figure includes structural damage to the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant and other nuclear facilities but not costs resulting from radiation leaks such as the impacts on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

The massive seismic disaster, which ravaged Japan's northeast and left nearly 23,000 people dead or missing, destroyed houses, shops, office buildings and factories worth about 10.4 trillion yen, the Cabinet office estimated.

The damage to water, gas, electricity and communication networks and facilities came to about 1.3 trillion yen, said the estimate, based on a tally of losses reported by affected prefectures and government ministries.

Other destroyed infrastructure -- including river banks, roads, ports and sewerage systems -- and assets of the farming, forestry and fisheries sectors, were worth about 5.2 trillion yen, it said.

The total estimate far exceeds the 9.6-trillion-yen damage bill estimated as a result of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which devastated the western port city of Kobe and claimed more than 6,400 lives.

Japan's centre-left Prime Minister Naoto Kan plans to name a new state minister in charge of reconstructing disaster areas early next week, said his spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

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Japan radiation drone makes emergency landing
Tokyo (AFP) June 24, 2011 - A small aerial drone measuring radiation over Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant went out of control Friday and made an emergency landing on a reactor building roof, the operator said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the T-Hawk, weighing nearly eight kilograms (17 pounds), caused no obvious damage to the facility.

"It went out of control and made an emergency landing on the roof of the reactor number two building," a TEPCO spokesman said, adding that "we see no fire or smoke at the moment".

The March 11 magnitude-9.0 quake and tsunami knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing fuel meltdowns, explosions and leaks of radiation into the air, soil and sea.

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New Zealand offers to buy 5,000 quake-hit homes
Wellington (AFP) June 23, 2011
New Zealand offered to buy 5,000 damaged homes in quake-devastated Christchurch Thursday and said it was assessing whether to purchase another 10,000. Prime Minister John Key said the offer related to homes on land that was now unstable due to the constant seismic pounding endured by New Zealand's second-largest city in the past nine months, making rebuilding unfeasible. Many residents h ... read more

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