OSAKA (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Friday the situation at the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant was still "very unpredictable" and thanked those "risking their lives" to handle the crisis.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan's northeast coast two weeks ago knocked out the crucial reactor cooling systems at the plant, located 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo.
A series of explosions and fires ensued. Engineers have since battled to cool overheating reactors and fuel rod pools as a stop-gap measure to prevent a larger meltdown, while trying to rebuild the original cooling systems.
"The current situation is still very unpredictable. We're working to stop the situation from worsening. We need to continue to be extremely vigilant,"
Kan told a news conference.
"Workers from TEPCO, the Self Defense Forces, police and firefighters from Tokyo and Osaka and other areas are risking their lives" in the battle to contain the situation at Fukushima, he said.