Japan’s prime minister, surveying the incredible damage inflicted by a massive earthquake and tidal wave and a still-unfolding nuclear disaster, said the country is facing its gravest crisis since World War II.
The confirmed death toll neared 1,600 on Sunday, but many thousands of others remain missing in the disaster zone. —JCL
[Prime Minister Naoto Kan] said the situation at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant remained grave, a day after an explosion at a reactor.
Japanese broadcaster NHK says the total number of confirmed deaths caused by the disaster now stands at 1,596.
But police warn that the death toll in Miyagi region alone could top 10,000.
Millions of survivors remain without electricity and authorities are stepping up relief efforts as the scale of the tragedy becomes clearer.
About 310,000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters, NHK says.