Japan’s National Police Agency says the death toll from the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeast coast crossed the 10,000 mark on Friday.
With more than 17,000 reported missing the death toll might still rise
Latest records from the National Police Agency - which collects data from the prefectures affected - says that as of Friday afternoon, 10,066 people have been confirmed dead and at least 17,500 are listed as still missing, as a result of the March 11 catastrophe. Another 2,777 are listed as injured.
An official updates a list of the dead outside a temporary morgue in Miyagi Prefecture
There are fears that the death toll as a result of the disaster, which flattened or erased entire towns along the Pacific coast of the country's main island of Honshu, will rise still further. Hundreds of thousands of people have been taking shelter in emergency facilities.
People put notes on the entrance of Natori City Hall seeking information about missing relatives and friends
The quake has become Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Honshu, which killed more than 142,000 people.
Hopes of finding more survivors fade
Japan now has little hope of finding any more survivors. Public anxiety remains high the wake of the widespread contamination by radiation following the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo. The plant continues to emit radioactive vapour that has made the Japanese capital's drinking water unsafe for infants and sparked a global food scare.
At a news conference on Friday, the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was quoted by AFP as saying: "The current situation is still very unpredictable. We're working to stop the situation from worsening. We need to continue to be extremely vigilant."
Reports that work to stabilize the nuclear plant in Fukushima could take another month are adding to the uncertainties the Japanese people are facing.
Sherpem Sherpa (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Grahame Lucas