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Japan nuke disaster affects search for missing in Fukushima

March 24, 2011 - Tokyo

The search for missing people in Japan's devastated quake and tsunami hit Fukushima region has been hindered by the nuclear disaster there, said rescue workers.

Self-Defense Forces personnel said it was possible that bodies had been left behind, as they faced difficulty in entering the area under evacuation orders because of crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

People living within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant have been under orders to evacuate. Those within 20 km to 30 km have been advised to stay indoors.

SDF rescue workers thus focused on supporting evacuation of residents, rather than searching for the missing.

According to the National Police Agency, over 25,000 people are confirmed dead and nearly 16,067 are missing.

Fukushima Prefecture accounts for around eight percent of the national death toll, Kyodo News reports.

At the nuclear plant, works to restore power and cooling functions were disrupted after black smoke was observed emanating from the No. 3 reactor building.

However, Tokyo Electric Power Company has resumed work and has declared it safe for workers to return.


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