TOKYO – Japan's prime minister is urging the public not to panic after the government boosted the severity level of the crisis at a tsunami-damaged nuclear plant to the highest rating — on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people in a televised address to focus on recovering from the country's disasters.
Kan said: "Right now, the situation of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant has been stabilizing step by step. The amount of radiation leaks is on the decline," he said. "But we are not at the stage yet where we can let our guards down."
Japanese regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 — the highest level on an international scale — after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.