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Japan Quake: Scenes of Devastation

40 reported dead, figure all but certain to rise
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2011 6:48 AM CST
Updated Mar 11, 2011 7:53 AM CST

(Newser) – At least 40 people were killed in the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing 23-foot tsunami that struck Japan today, and another 39 are confirmed missing, officials tell the AP, though they cautioned that the figure was all but certain to rise given the scale of the disaster. There have now been more than 20 aftershocks, most registering higher than magnitude 6.0. Officials have also declared a state of emergency at one power plant after its cooling system failed, and two other nuclear plants have had problems as well, but so far none of them have leaked radiation.

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Japan is accustomed to earthquakes, but this disaster is extreme even by its standards. "At first it didn't feel unusual, but then it went on and on," says one American living in Chiba. "I've lived in Japan for 10 years and I've never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It's gotten to the point where I don't know whether it's me shaking or an earthquake." (Read more Japan stories.)

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