Japan's Prime Minister Says Sorry For Nuke Crisis

Japan's prime minister, fighting criticism at home over his handling of the aftermath of last month's massive earthquake and tsunami, says he deeply regrets the crisis at a radiation-leaking nuclear plant.

"I take very seriously, and deeply regret, the nuclear accidents we have had at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Bringing the situation under control at the earliest possible date is my top priority," Naoto Kan said in a commentary in the weekend edition of the International Herald Tribune.

As Japan has begun planning for reconstruction and mulling how to pay for it, Kan's political opponents have resumed calls for his resignation after refraining from criticism in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

In a show of support for a staunch American ally, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was due to visit Tokyo briefly Sunday.

Thanking the international community for its support, Kan vowed to rebuild a country "highly resistant to national disasters."

"I pledge that the Japanese government will promptly and thoroughly verify the cause of this incident, as well as share information and the lessons learned with the rest of the world to help prevent such accidents in the future," he said in the commentary, which also appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Frustrations have also been mounting over plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s failure so far to resolve Japan's worst-ever nuclear crisis, which began March 11 when the 46-foot (14-meter) tsunami knocked out power and cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex.

Explosions, fires and other malfunctions have interfered with efforts to repair the plant and stem radiation leaks, and officials reported late Saturday that levels of radioactivity had again risen sharply in seawater near the plant, signaling the possibility of new leaks.

Workers have been spraying massive amounts of water on the overhea
ABC News