Japan's Last Effort to Rescue Earthquake Survivors: Race Against Time

Japan earthquake aftermath: Urgent rescue efforts as the nation races against time. Impact on economy and industries. Stay informed on the latest developments.

Jan 4, 2024 - 04:43
Jan 4, 2024 - 04:43
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Japan's Last Effort to Rescue Earthquake Survivors: Race Against Time
Japan's Last Effort to Rescue Earthquake Survivors: Race Against Time

After a powerful earthquake hit Japan's northwest coast on New Year's Day, efforts to rescue survivors are in full swing. Soldiers, firefighters, and emergency workers are working hard to locate people in the aftermath of the 7.6 magnitude quake, which killed at least 84 individuals, flattened buildings, and caused a fire in Wajima, destroying around 200 structures.

A sense of urgency permeates Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's words during a press conference, stressing the need for an all-out rescue operation as the crucial 72-hour window for finding survivors narrows. Over 4,600 personnel, including soldiers and emergency responders, are tirelessly working, deploying sniffer dogs and heavy machinery via an amphibious vessel to the Noto Peninsula's coast.

Challenges abound as rain forecasts raise the risk of landslides, while powerful aftershocks and freezing temperatures add to the difficulties faced by thousands in need of basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. The Ishikawa prefectural government is actively seeking over 50 people with unknown whereabouts, and approximately 34,000 individuals are counted as evacuees.

While immediate relief efforts focus on transporting supplies and restoring crucial infrastructure, Prime Minister Kishida emphasizes the necessity of addressing medium to long-term concerns, including housing and rebuilding the foundations of life and the economy. The estimated loss from the earthquake stands at ¥800 billion ($5.6 billion), prompting discussions about utilizing reserve funds to aid the affected region in an upcoming Cabinet meeting.

The quake's impact extends beyond the immediate affected areas, affecting regions with industrial facilities. Companies such as Kokusai Electric Corp. and Murata Manufacturing Co. grapple with uncertainties, contributing to fluctuations in Japan's Nikkei 225 during the first trading day of the year. Hokuriku Electric Power, serving the region, faces a significant dip of up to 7.9%. The aftermath of the earthquake also raises concerns about the Bank of Japan's ability to abolish negative interest rates, putting renewed pressure on the yen.

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