(Corrects location of power plant in third paragraph.)
March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s death toll from last week’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami will rise from the current count of about 1,000, a spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan said.
The number of confirmed dead “will be increasing very quickly,” the spokesman, Nori Shikata, said today in a telephone interview on ABC’s “This Week.” He didn’t provide an estimate for the potential death toll.
The crisis may be Japan’s worst since World War II, Kan said yesterday in a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami may have killed 10,000 people in Miyagi prefecture north of Tokyo, national broadcaster NHK reported, citing local police. Officials also are trying to contain the natural disaster’s damage to a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture.
“We don’t call this situation a meltdown,” Shikata said in the ABC interview. “This is a regulated controlled situation. The release of minute radioactive material is based on our efforts to take precautionary methods.”
The U.S., South Korea and Singapore are among 71 countries and regions have offered assistance to Japan, Shikata said.
--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima, Yuji Okada and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo. Editors: Robin Meszoly, Ann Hughey.
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