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Aftermath of destructive earthquake and tsunami in Japan
Recent rise in radiation around Japan's Fukushima power plant has prevented Japanese officials from collecting bodies of earthquake victims within the 20-kilometer-radius.

As many as 1,000 bodies of victims of the destructive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's northern coasts on March 11 have been left untouched within the evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant, Kyodo News Agency reported on Thursday.

Police sources say the bodies have been "exposed to high levels of radiation after death."

On Sunday, high levels of radiation was detected on a body found in Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Comment: According to JapanToday, the bodies are contaminated with such high levels of radiation that not only "The authorities are now considering how to collect the bodies, given fears that police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to radiation in retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies or at morgues", but "Even after the bodies are handed over to the victims' families, cremating them could spread plumes containing radioactive materials, while burying the victims could contaminate the soil around them."

The earthquake and a subsequent tsunami set off nuclear problems by knocking out power to cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant resulting in radiation leaks.

The government has ordered the evacuation of about 200,000 people living in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) radius around the plant and told those residing between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the plant to remain indoors.

Earlier on Wednesday, plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that Fukushima's four damaged nuclear reactors would be decommissioned.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced on Thursday that radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the legal level was detected in a sample taken Tuesday afternoon near Fukushima nuclear plant.

On Monday, TEPCO said highly radioactive water, with the radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, was found in a tunnel near the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor and around 55m from the sea.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has ordered the nuclear power plant operators to immediately implement new safety measures.