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Japan officially declares no-go zone around Fukushima

More than a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami sparked Japan's worst nuclear crisis, Japan has made it illegal to come within 12 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

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“The plant is not stable," Edano said. "We have been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a huge risk to their safety."

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Prime minister under fire

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has come under fire for his handling of the crisis, with almost 70 percent of people in a recent poll by the Nikkei business paper calling on him to make way for a new leader.

On Thursday, Mr. Kan was harangued during a visit to an evacuation center in Fukushima prefecture.“Are you leaving?” one man shouted as Kan and his aides left the building. Kan turned to apologize, but was criticized again by a woman, who said: “You should bring cabinet ministers here and let them try living here. How do you think we feel?”

A clearly chastened Kan conceded he had underestimated the depth of feeling among nuclear evacuees. “I need to put myself in their shoes and think more about their needs,” he said.

Meanwhile at the Fukushima plant...

Demands from residents to bring the Fukushima plant under control are unlikely to be met soon, however. Workers have only just started storing radioactive water that has accumulated inside reactor turbine buildings.

The build-up of water has prevented them from gauging the extent of damage to fuel rods and repairing internal cooling systems knocked out by the quake and tsunami.

At the start of the month, Tepco was forced to pump contaminated water into the sea, angering neighboring South Korea and China. The amount of radiation included in the pumped water was 20,000 times that permitted outdoors annually by Japan’s nuclear safety agency, Kyodo News reported.

Days after he thanked the international community for their support during the biggest crisis in Japan’s postwar history, Kan on Thursday voiced “extreme regret” for the nuclear crisis in a letter published in Chinese newspapers.

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