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Japan admitted delaying upgrading the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant to the highest possible level, putting it on a par with Chernobyl, prompting calls for "swift and accurate" information about the full scale of the disaster.
The new rating raised fresh questions about whether information was being covered up from the Japanese people. Tepco was frequently accused of falsifying safety data even before last month's earthquake.
Last week the government was reported to have withheld data showing that radiation exceeded safe levels more than 18 miles from the plant, beyond the established evacuation zone.
Government officials yesterday said the total leak from Fukushima so far amounted to a tenth of the radiation emitted from Chernobyl, but could yet exceed it.