Japan earthquake is country's 'worst crisis since World War II'

The aftermath of the huge earthquake and tsunami is Japan's worst crisis since World War II, the country's prime minister Naoto Kan has declared.

It also resulted in a tsunami that saw huge waves obliterate towns along Japan's north-east coast and officials now believe the final death toll may exceed 10,000.

There are also concerns that the situation may be exacerbated by problems at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where officials fear two reactors may go into meltdown.

With more than 300,000 people having been displaced by the earthquake and flooding, Mr Kan gave a grim assessment of the problems Japan is facing, but called on people to pull together.

'This earthquake and tsunami and also the situation concerning the nuclear power stations are perhaps the hardest hardship that we have experienced since World War II,' he said.

'Whether we Japanese can overcome this crisis depends on each of us. I strongly believe that we can get over this great earthquake and tsunami by joining together.'

The prime minister added that people who are currently without power supplies should not expect the situation to change in the next few days.

Damage to power generation facilities and the electricity network is so extensive that authorities are putting in place a rotating programme of blackouts, which may last until the end of April.

Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake And Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan

TORINOUMI, JAPAN - MARCH 12: These two handout satellite photographs provided by the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) of the German Aeropsace Center (DLR) show the Iwanuma-Matsushima area before (L) and after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 12, 2011 at Torinoumi, Japan. At least 1,800 people are confirmed dead across northeastern Japan and at least two nuclear reactors at the Fukushima facility are facing meltdown.

More Japan earthquake is country's 'worst crisis since World War II'

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