We are borrowing Gideon’s blog to cover Japan’s earthquake. Please keep your comments coming, and please send us any images you have to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in Japan.
All times are London time, Japan is 9 hours ahead. By Josh Noble and Kanupriya Kapoor in Hong Kong, Orla Ryan and Leyla Boulton in London, Johanna Kassel and Anora Mahmudova in New York.
2055 – A bit more on the financial implications:
From Reuters: Some foreign financial institutions are calling for Japan’s stock market to halt trading, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Japanese financial regulators are planning to keep markets open, news agency Nikkei reported.
The news agency said officials from more than 10 non-Japanese financial firms held a conference call Tuesday afternoon. Some firms called for the market to be closed immediately, Nikkei reported, citing people familiar with the discussion.
CBOE Holdings Chief Executive William Brodsky pointed out that markets in Japan rallied after Tuesday’s decline, allowing investors to express their confidence in Japan’s ability to recover.
“When you run markets, you want to keep them open whenever possible, because you don’t want to create panic that people who need to get out can’t get out,” said Mr Brodsky, who was also formerly head of the World Federation of Exchanges. “To voluntarily close a market makes no sense.”
2045 - US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the United States’ focus on Japan is to help it limit the human costs of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
“It a hard judgment to make at this stage. Our focus now is, as it should be, on trying to do as much as we can to help them mitigate the humanitarian costs of the catastrophe there, and we’ll offer them every assistance we can and help make sure that the restructuring effort itself is handled as carefully as possible.”
2033 - From Kyodo: To address the crisis at the No 4 reactor, plant operator Tepco asked for the help of a special water cannon truck used by the Metropolitan Police Department to douse water on the reactor’s spent fuel rod pool. The truck arrived at the Fukushima power station early Thursday.