Japanese Military Dispatches Helicopters, Water Cannons

The Japanese government stepped up its reaction to the deepening nuclear crisis as the military dispatched helicopters Thursday morning to dump water over the Fukushima Daiichi power complex to try to cool the reactors, followed by 11 water-cannon trucks, set to be deployed in the afternoon. The increased reaction came on the heels of reports of a leadership vacuum and after the U.S. defied the government’s suggestion, calling for a 50-mile evacuation zone rather than the 12-mile one suggested. Other countries remained jittery early Thursday: the British government Wednesday advised its citizens to evacuate Tokyo—150 miles from the nuclear site—and the European Union called for radiation tests on Japanese food imports. Japanese stocks also fell in Thursday’s opening trades.