Disquietude grows in Tokyo as nuclear threat rises, shocks rumble on

17:21, March 16, 2011      

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The photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. on March 16, 2011, shows No.3 reactor (L) and No.4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The fire struck on early Wednesday at the building housing of the No.4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Tokyo, known as a high-tech, bustling metropolis, is also an opportunistic city.

Millions of people, lured by its riches, perpetual neon, pulsing shopping and entertainment districts and all-round 24-hour lifestyle, choose to live, work, play and visit the area.

But following the disastrous earthquake and ensuing tsunami that ravaged the northeastern Pacific coastal regions of the country and knocked out critical cooling functions at a faltering nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture, the nation's capital has taken on a new pensive, bemused character.


Public transportation systems in the metropolis are famed for their precision and efficiency. It is said the trains are so punctual in Tokyo that you can set your watch by them.

But currently railway firms are running at reduced capacity to save much needed power to avoid a nationwide blackout.

However, it would seem that commuters are the last to find out about the delays, and rush hours in the city are scenes of millions of fearful, fatigued, despondent workers -- all in disarray, battling to get to and from their offices.

"It's really tough here in the city," said Taka Sakai, an IT engineer working in the Akasaka region of the city.

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