Japan quake death toll rises to 15,500

The death toll from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami which struck north-east Japan on 11 March has risen to 15,500, police said on Sunday.

Another 7,306 people remain missing after the twin disasters which destroyed infrastructure and triggered a major crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Work is continuing to stabilize the crippled plant which is still leaking radioactive material.

Last month, Japan’s parliament passed a $49 billion emergency budget for reconstruction following the March disaster. A small extra budget is due to be submitted to parliament next month.

In a statement last week, Japan’s government said the direct material damage from the disaster stood at $210 billion.

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