The number of people confirmed dead or listed as missing in Japan rose above 26,000 on Thursday, nearly two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's northeast coast.
There are fears of a much higher toll from the disaster, which flattened entire towns along the Pacific coast of northern Honshu island.
The National Police Agency said in its latest update that 9,700 people had been confirmed dead and 16,501 officially listed as missing -- a total of 26,201 -- as a result of the March 11 catastrophe.
A total of 2,766 people have been injured.
The quake has become Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 142,000 people.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and have taken shelter in evacuation facilities.