- Title: JAPAN: Tourists gone, once-popular Tokyo landmarks become quiet
- Date: 20th March 2011
- Summary: CHILD CRYING IN FATHER'S ARMS
- Embargoed: 4th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Travel / Tourism
- Reuters ID: LVAV1I5Q3HBXRIXOATNUT6WGZV
- Story Text: Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Fish Market was subdued, the zoo was closed and few people were at the temple to pray on Saturday (March 19) as worries over a nuclear crisis caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami hung over Japan's capital.
Fear of radioactive fallout from a stricken nuclear power were less frantic after news that engineers, the Self Defence Force and Tokyo Fire Department were able to spray water onto the overheating reactors which have been spewing radiation in to the air.
With winds blowing out towards the sea, fallout was not likely to hit the capital and Tokyo residents were eager to go back to their normal life, despite power cuts and a scarcity of gasoline.
At Tsukiji Market, one of Japan's largest fish markets, business owners were grappling with transportation difficulties due to road blocks on highways connecting the ports undamaged by the earthquake with Tokyo.
For seafood business owners, speed is key as fresh and raw products need to be delivered to customers.
"We have many clients who just can't keep their business running, so they want to cancel their orders. Or in other cases, the customers of our clients want to cancel orders," said Toshifumi Kawata, who still cannot get in touch with many of his suppliers in the disaster-stricken areas in northeastern Japan.
Kawata worries it may take three or four months or even more for the effects of the catastrophe to wear off.
The fish market is not the only place that has been struggling to cope.
A pizza and ice-cream shop next to the Ueno Zoo, which has been closed since the earthquake which rocked Tokyo is expecting less customers.
"The zoo doesn't know for how long it will stay closed. Until it reopens, we might only get a big crowd of customers on weekends or national holidays, but we don't expect normal business on weekdays," said Akemi Takano, an employee at the eatery.
The zoo was just about to celebrate the arrival of the two new pandas from China before the quake struck last week. But the welcoming ceremony was cancelled and the gates shut in a bid to conserve energy, greatly disappointing animal lovers.
Near Sensoji Temple, an iconic temple in downtown Tokyo, foreigners used to make up 90 percent of visitors. But the nuclear crisis has sent many scrambling to leave the country and the usual bustle is gone.
Tokyo resident Takashi Yoshida and his wife, who come to the temple three or four times a year, noted a lot less people came to pray on Saturday.
"There are not a lot of people," said Yoshida, and his wife agreed, "There really aren't at all. It's quite surprising," she said.
"It's not usually like this," Yoshida added.
The couple said they came to pray that more people will be found alive.
Approximately 17,700 have died or are missing in the double calamity that hit the northeastern coast of the country.
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