- Title: JAPAN: Japanese stocks flat as radiation contamination fears spread
- Date: 25th March 2011
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 24, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF TOKYO STOCK EXCHANGE VARIOUS OF STOCK EXCHANGE EMPLOYEES WORKING VARIOUS OF INDICES ON ELECTRONIC BOARD (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) KOJI FUKAYA, DIRECTOR FOR GLOBAL FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESEARCH, CREDIT SUISSE JAPAN, SAYING: "If we put aside what the government has in mind and we take a look at how companies think, many will say that the dollar falling below the 80 yen line is a difficult situation. And I think the government is paying heed to this, so I think that the falling below the 80 yen level will be the timing for some sort of action." VARIOUS OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE TRADERS AT WORK YEN DOLLAR RATE ON MONITOR MORE OF TRADERS AT WORK
- Embargoed: 9th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Finance
- Reuters ID: LVAEN0S2VRFGZ6J2C5RKTOORHGL9
- Story Text: Tokyo's Nikkei was flat on Thursday (March 24) as contamination fears continued to spread after higher than safety standards radiation levels had been detected in food and water in farther areas outside the country's crippled nuclear plant.
The Nikkei index remains 8 percent below its close on March 11, when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan, leaving around 25,600 people dead or missing and cutting power to millions of homes and factories.
At noon the index was down 0.07 percent at 9443.13.
The estimated $300 billion in damage makes it the costliest natural disaster in history, and Japan is still grappling with the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl after the quake and tsunami crippled a power plant 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
The U.N. atomic agency said there had been some positive developments at the Fukushima nuclear plant but the overall situation remained serious. Some countries have started blocking imports of produce from Japan, fearful of radiation contamination.
The situation grew more alarming on Wednesday (March 23) when Tokyo authorities said that 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.
The yen sat near 81 per dollar, a level it has hugged tightly in recent days with markets still wary of further central bank intervention to curb the Japanese currency if it strengthens past 80.50.
Leading central banks launched the first coordinated market intervention in more than a decade last week to reverse a run that had seen the yen hit a record 76.25 on expectations Japan -- a net creditor to the rest of the world -- would see a wave of funds being repatriated to pay for earthquake reconstruction.
"If we put aside what the government has in mind and we take a look at how companies think, many will say that the dollar falling below the 80 yen line is a difficult situation. And I think the government is paying heed to this, so I think that the falling below the 80 yen level will be the timing for some sort of action," said Koji Fukaya, Director of Global Foreign Exchange Exchange Research at Credit Suisse Japan.
The death toll from the double natural disaster has risen to 9,523 by Thursday, but with 16,094 people still missing, it is certain to rise.
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