JAPAN 'QUAKE UPDATES [17:42GMT]: Reports of "serious" food radiation, Nissan Motor checking cars
As if they didn't have enough to do following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the north-east, authorities in Japan now have food radiation to deal with. The radiation leak has prompted Nissan Motor to monitor "vehicles made in Japan for any traces of radioactive material".
The World Health Organisation said on Monday that the detection of radiation in food after an earthquake damaged a nuclear power plant was a more serious problem than it had first expected.
"Quite clearly it's a serious situation," Peter Cordingley, Manila-based spokesman for WHO's regional office for the Western Pacific, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Nissan Americas said in a weekend statement all travelers in Japan had returned to their home countries by Saturday, 19 March and all employee travel to Japan had been suspended indefinitely.
Manufacturing operations in the Americas (mostly in the US and Mexico) "plan to follow a normal production schedule for at least the next seven days," the automaker said.
"The supply chain is being continuously assessed and the next update will be provided on Friday, 25 March."
The Nissan Division had 47 "rearward days' supply" of Japanese imports; Infiniti, 49, not including vehicles in transit from Japan.
"Nissan Americas does not anticipate any near-term impact on sales or vehicle availability," it said, adding that over 1,500 Leaf EVs were also either in transit from Japan or at US ports, including a shipment of about 600 which left Japan the day before the 11 March earthquake.
Meanwhile, parent Nissan Motor has begun monitoring vehicles made in Japan for any traces of radioactive material.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to implement all appropriate measures to reassure the public that all products from our company remain within globally accepted safety standards and until we are confident that any risk of contamination is completely removed," Nissan said.