The death toll from Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami is likely to exceed 10,000 in the hardest-hit Miyagi Prefecture alone, local police chief said Sunday.
The local police chief told a regional disaster task force meeting in Miyagi Prefecture that his estimate for deaths in the prefecture was more than 10,000.
In addition, nearly 10,000 people in the coastal town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi, about 360 km north of Tokyo, have not been in contact by anyone, according to the prefectural government.
The confirmed death toll from the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern regions stood at 963 and about 1,700 people remained missing, police said earlier in the day.
The Japan Meteorological Agency on Sunday revised the magnitude of the earthquake from 8.8 to 9.0, making it the fourth biggest in the world’s recorded history.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan instructed the Defense Ministry to increase the number of Self-Defense Forces personnel sent to quake-hit areas to 100,000 from 50,000.