"TOKYO — The Japanese authorities are considering a plan to import bottled water from overseas, a government official said Thursday morning, a day after spreading contamination from a crippled nuclear plant led to a panicked rush to buy water in Tokyo.
Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, indicated at a news conference that importing water was among the options under discussion. This followed the disclosure on Wednesday by the Japanese authorities that radioactive iodine had been detected in Tokyo’s water supply, prompting a warning that infants in Tokyo and surrounding areas should not be given tap water to drink.
On Thursday, the authorities began the daunting task of distributing bottled water to the families of an estimated 80,000 infants, defined as children under 1 year old.
Mr. Edano said that radiation had also been found in tests of water supplies for two of Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures, Chiba and Saitama, adding to the anxiety about public safety posed by Japan’s unfolding nuclear crisis. The levels in both prefectures were above maximum recommended limits for infants, but still below levels considered dangerous to adults."