The indirect death toll from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern Japanese prefecture of Fukushima stands at 1,605, the press reported Tuesday, citing a study by local officials.
The indirect death toll, which was tallied as of Nov. 30, almost equals the official 1,606 death toll from the disaster in Fukushima, the Mainichi newspaper said.
The direct death toll includes people who drowned, were buried alive or experienced psychological trauma.
The indirect death toll has risen from 761 a year after the disaster to 1,000 in August 2012 and 1,500 at the end of August 2013.
Miyagi and Iwate, two other coastal prefectures affected by the earthquake and tsunami, have reported indirect death tolls of 878 and 428, respectively.
The majority of the deaths have been caused by a worsening of medical conditions due to inadequate treatment or the deterioration of living conditions among evacuees, Fukushima prefecture said.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed more than 15,000 people, left over 3,000 others missing and damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. EFE