Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the disaster facing his country is the worst since the second World War. For the time being he has the support of opposition parties.
But the deeply unpopular politician is still living on borrowed time. Just hours before the disaster struck he was fending off calls for his resignation. He has been accused of illegally accepting campaign money and political infighting has prevented him from passing meaningful legislation to tackle Japan’s ageing population. His chance of survival seems to hang on the success of the rescue and clean-up missions. Top priority is to avert a nuclear disaster but the wider recovery will take many years and, either way, will come to define his term as