Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called the Sendai earthquake the “most difficult crisis” for his country since World War II and says that he has faith that his country will have the strength to overcome this disaster. The official death toll still stands around 1,200 with another 1,000 reported missing and 1,700 injured. However, the badly-hit coastal town, Minami Sanriku, in Myagi Prefecture, cannot account for nearly 10,000 of its residents — half its population. At the same time, the country is struggling to prevent a nuclear meltdown at its damaged power plants as well as a potential second explosion. (According to Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister, the situation at the Fukushima Denai power plant is “under control.”) As of this writing, 160 people have been tested for radiation exposure which may have occurred while they were waiting to be evacuated.
Japanese officials have increased the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0 and they continue to feel strong aftershocks. And because of the sustained activity at the faults, there is a chance that another magnitude 7.0 earthquake could occur. More images from the aftermath after the jump.