The Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan has described the aftermath of Friday’s tsunami and earthquake as the “toughest and most difficult crisis” Japan had known “in the 65 years since the end of World War II”.
“I’m confident that the Japanese people can be united to work together to overcome this difficulty,” he went on.
Tens of thousands of people evacuated from areas around a stricken nuclear power station have been scanned for possible radiation exposure following Friday’s earthquake.
The government says an explosion at a second reactor at Fukushima is still likely, but it should not affect the reactor’s core container.
Technicians have been battling to lower temperatures in reactor no3 by pouring in water to cool the fuel rods.
Some experts have been encouraged by developments, saying the nuclear fusion process was no longer happening and procedures had been successfully shut down when the earthquake struck.
The two quake-hit reactors at Fukushima are among more than 50 in Japan.
The prime minister has also warned of possible power blackouts in the coming days.
Saturday’s explosion blew the roof off the structure housing the No1 reactor.
The plant’s operators said at one stage radiation levels rose above the safety limit but that didn’t mean an ‘immediate threat to human health’.
Anti-nuclear campaigners have reacted angrily – saying a disaster, which promoters of nuclear power said would nott happen, was in progress.