Death toll in Japan earthquake nears 9,500

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The death count in Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami has climbed to 9,487 people, NHK reported citing the country's police on Wednesday.

The death count in Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami has climbed to 9,487 people, NHK reported citing the country's police on Wednesday.

According to Japanese police, another 15,617 still remain unaccounted for.

Some 360,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster zone and accommodated in temporary refuge centers across the country.

The deadly quake and tsunami rocked Japan on March 11. A series of aftershocks followed. The disaster triggered a number of explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, spreading fears of massive radioactive contamination.

Officials in Tokyo have warned parents not to give young children tap water due to increased levels of radiation. Radioactive iodine-131 levels have reached 210 becquerels per liter in certain areas of Tokyo, over double the safe level for infants.

Officials say, however, that the water poses no immediate health risk to adults.

Microscopic radioactive particles from Japan's crippled Fukushima that may spread across the world within the next few weeks are "harmless," a Russian environmental monitoring official said earlier on Wednesday.

MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti)

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