ATMs break down as blackouts hit capital city
Malfunctioning bank machines and threats of power outages yesterday jolted a stressed Tokyo where millions stocked up on rice and other essentials, stayed indoors or crowded into airports during Japan's nuclear crisis.
Flurries of transactions at some Mizuho Bank branches abruptly shut thousands of automated teller machines and the government warned of major blackouts, adding to the disorder of a city that thrives on precision and efficiency.
At the second-floor office of the Tokyo Passport Centre queues snaked to the first floor.
"Suddenly since yesterday we have had 15 times more people than usual coming to apply for a passport," said an official.
Areas usually packed with office workers crammed into sushi restaurants have gone quiet.