TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are main developments after a massive earthquake struck northeast Japan on Friday and set off a tsunami.
- Death toll expected to exceed 10,000 from the quake and tsunami, public broadcaster NHK says. About 2,000 bodies found on two shores of Miyagi prefecture, Kyodo news agency reports.
- Japan battles to prevent nuclear catastrophe. A hydrogen explosion jolts the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says 11 people were injured.
- Before the blast, officials said 22 people had suffered radiation contamination. Up to 190 may have been exposed.
* Local media, quoting operator TEPCO, says nuclear fuel rods at the quake-stricken reactor are exposed again and overheating, raising the risk of them melting. TEPCO had been pumping sea water into No. 2 reactor in the hope of cooling it, and had earlier said water levels had risen to cover half the fuel rods.
- Nuclear safety agency rates the incident a 4 on the 1 to 7 International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, less serious than Three Mile Island, a 5, and Chernobyl at 7.
- Switzerland’s energy minister says suspends approvals process for three nuclear power stations so safety standards can be revisited.
* Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said nuclear plants that had been scheduled to close in the next three months, before an extension deal was struck, would not be shut down after all.
- Authorities have set up a 20-km (12-mile) exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and a 10-km (6 mile) zone around Fukushima Daini.
- Strong aftershocks persist in the stricken area.
- About 450,000 people evacuated nationwide in addition to 80,000 from the exclusion zone around the nuclear power plants. Almost 2 million households are without power in the freezing north and about 1.4 million households have no running water.
- Reactor operator says rolling blackout to affect 3 million customers, including large factories, buildings and households. Blackouts affected 113,000 households on Monday, it says.
- Japan’s Nikkei share index falls more than 6 percent, dragging European stocks to their lowest in three months.
- The Bank of Japan (BoJ) offers to pump a record $85 billion into the banking system.
- Credit Suisse estimates the loss at between 14 trillion yen ($171 billion) and 15 trillion yen just to the quake region.