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Japan acknowledges severity of nuclear crisis

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's government is acknowledging what had already been widely understood -- that the crisis at a damaged nuclear plant is the second worst in history.
Today's decision by Japanese officials to give it the highest possible ranking on an international scale -- the same ranking that was given the Chernobyl accident in 1986 -- doesn't signal a worsening of the plant's status, or any additional health dangers.
But Japan's prime minister is telling his people not to panic.
On national TV today, the prime minister said the situation at the plant is "stabilizing step by step" and that the "amount of radiation leaks is on the decline." But he said it's too soon to "let our guard down."

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