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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Naho Kudo/AP A visually shaken Naoto Kan speaks at a government press conference earlier today.

Japanese PM: Crisis is worst to face Japan since WW2

Naoto Kan says 100,000 troops are being deployed to Japan’s stricken areas, as estimates say damages could reach €29bn.

JAPAN’S PRIME MINISTER has described the catastrophe facing the country in the aftermath of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake, and the series of tsunamis that has followed it, as “perhaps the hardest hardship that we have experienced after World War Two.”

Speaking at a press conference earlier, Kan said he was doubling the current army deployment to the country’s affected prefectures – from 50,000 to 100,000 – but said the country’s citizens could face further days of upheaval with interrupted water and electricity supplies.

The newly-deployed troops would be joining 2,500 extra police, over 200 medical teams, and 1,100 emergency service squads.

Whatever electricity was available for now would be rotated between various regions within the country, Kan continued, warning that such actions could have ill-effects for medical facilities and other services.

Appealing to the people to help form a “new Japan”, Kan said the country’s success in battling the woes currently facing it was “dependant on each of us as Japanese citizens”.

Kan’s comments came just before AIR Worldwide, a company specialising in ‘catastrophe risk modelling software’, said the losses incurred by Japanese insurance companies in respect of the twin disasters could reach from anywhere between €10.4bn and €29.1bn.

At the same press conference, a government spokesman said there was still a risk of a second hydrogen explosion in the containment building around the number 3 reactor at Fukushima I nuclear power station, though he stressed that the rising pressure within the facility was not an immediate concern.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima nuclear plant as well as many others that supply the capital and the country’s affected regions, said the staggered power outages would remain until the end of next month, anticipating that it would be impossible to restore full supply before then.

Japan’s largest manufacturer of instant noodles is to distribute more than a million packets of food to the stricken north-east of the country, AP has reported.

A total of 355 individual seismic events have now occurred in Japan in the last seven days, including a 6.0-magnitude quake 100 miles south-east of Sendai which struck at 11:37am Irish time, according to the US Geological Survey.

Japanese government fears meltdown at second Fukushima nuclear reactor >

Japan: 9,500 people missing in one town alone >