The death toll from the monster 9.0-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami that hit Japan climbed past 6,400 Friday as search teams continued to comb through the rubble.
Japan’s National Police agency said 6,406 people were confirmed dead and 10,259 were reported missing as of 9 a.m. Friday (8 p.m. Thursday ET).
Meanwhile Japanese authorities vowed Friday to keep dousing water on a troubled nuclear reactor, with its owner saying that earlier attempts have been "somewhat effective" in addressing radiation concerns.
Still, the Fukushima Daiichi complex of six nuclear reactors remained a danger. Radiation levels peaked Friday at 20 millisieverts per hour at an annex building where workers were trying to reestablish electrical power, "the highest registered (at that building) so far," an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters.
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There are just too many bodies. Hundreds of dead have washed ashore on Japan’s devastated northeast coast since last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Others were dug out of the debris Monday by firefighters using pickaxes and chain saws.
Funeral homes and crematoriums are overwhelmed, and officials have run out of body bags and coffins.
Compounding the disaster, water levels dropped precipitously inside a Japanese nuclear reactor, twice leaving the uranium fuel rods completely exposed and raising the threat of a meltdown, hours after a hydrogen explosion tore through the building housing a different reactor.
On the economic front, Japan’s stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.
While the official death toll rose to nearly 1,900, the discovery of the washed-up bodies and other reports of deaths suggest the true number is much higher. In Miyagi, the police chief has estimated 10,000 deaths in his province alone.
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