April 5th, 2011
05:18 AM GMT
(CNN) – In times of crisis, fears run faster than facts.
That axiom has never been truer than the aftermath of the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the ongoing drama at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. And every new headline with the words "radioactive" only heighten those fears, like news that crews at the damaged plant are now dumping thousands of tons of radioactive water into the sea.
To be sure, the news is troubling and there are very real fears the nuclear fallout could get much worse. Yet as nuclear expert Michael Friedlander told CNN's Anderson Cooper, the offload into the Pacific Ocean will dilute the contaminated water below levels considered harmful. Still, he adds, "this isn't best practices" in the nuclear industry.
And it's hitting products from Japan. As CNN's Kyung Lah reports, Sven Kilian, who sells Japanese toys and gadgets on JapanTrendShop.com, runs a Geiger counter over toys before exporting - even though the toys have been no where near the Fukushima nuclear plant.
CNN's Martin Savidge talked to Japanese farmers who are facing ruin not because their produce has been contaminated, but because they carry the label, "Made in Fukushima." The situation is made worse for grower because a large number of countries - including the U.S., Australia, South Korea and Taiwan - have restricted Japanese imports as a cautionary measure.
Even things simply labeled "Japanese" are taking a hit abroad. A visit to local Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong found it nearly empty on a recent Saturday night - since the nuclear disaster, people have stayed away, even though the fish, vegetables, rice and noodles and most things on the menu weren't sourced from Japan.
"This is going to be a measurable impact," William Saito, an economic advisor to the Japanese government, told CNN. "And some industries and some companies will not survive."
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