The Japanese share market fell more than 3 percent on Monday after a series of earthquakes measuring up to 7.3 magnitude struck a southern manufacturing hub, killing at least 42 people and forcing major companies to close factories.
About 30,000 rescue workers were scouring the rubble for survivors and handing out food to those unable to return to their homes following the quakes which struck Kyushu island from Thursday. The biggest hit near Kumamoto city early on Saturday.
“There are still missing people. We want to make further efforts to rescue and save people and prioritize human lives,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament, adding he aimed to declare the region a disaster zone to free up reconstruction funds.
The Nikkei stock index ended 3.4 percent lower, hit by a stronger yen and as investors weighed the impact of the disaster on manufacturers’ supply chains and insurers.
Factories for major manufacturers including Toyota, Sony and Honda were closed, disrupting supply chains around the country. Read more