The death toll from Japan’s earthquake 9.0-magnitude earthquake two weeks ago which triggered a massive tsunami across the Pacific coast topped 10,000, National Police figures revealed.
And Japan’s authorities have little hope of finding another 17,500 missing persons alive.
The 10,000 tally is expected to rise as rescuers sift through miles of rubble along the coastline where entire towns were washed away by giant waves.
More than 25,000 buildings were completely demolished or half destroyed and another 100,000 buildings were damaged by the disaster, according to the official figures.
A further 250,000 people are living in temporary accommodation.
The news comes as plant workers continue in their battle to stabilise the beleaguered Fukushima nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo and worrying reports that the reactor vessel in the number 3 plant at the plant may be leaking radiation.
Yesterday two workers at the plant were hospitalised with radiation burns and higher than usual radioactivity has also been detected in the ocean off Japan’s Pacific coast raising fears about the safety of food in the area.