The Associated Press

TOKYO – Japan is increasingly turning to other countries for help as it struggles to stabilize its tsunami-stricken nuclear plant and stop radiation leaks that are complicating efforts to recover the bodies of some of the thousands swept away by the wave.

French, American and international experts — even a robot — are either in Japan or on their way. French President Nicholas Sarkozy visited Tokyo on Thursday to meet with the prime minister and show solidarity.

Workers are racing to find the source of contaminated water that has been pooling in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The leaks have often forced workers to flee the plant, preventing them from restarting important cooling systems.

“The amount of water is enormous, and we need any wisdom available,” said nuclear safety agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama.

Experts from French nuclear giant Areva, which supplied fuel to the plant, are helping figure out how to dispose of the contaminated water that has begun leaking into the ground and the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials also say they expect to use a remote-controlled robot sent by the United States within a few days to evaluate areas with high radiation. They are also setting up a panel of Japanese and American nuclear experts and U.S. military personnel to address the crisis.

A TEPCO spokesman said Thursday that radioactive contamination in groundwater nearly 50 feet under one of six reactors had been measured at 10,000 times the government standard for water at the plant. It was the first time the utility has released statistics for groundwater near the plant.

TEPCO did not immediately explain the health risks if that water were to get into the environment or say if that was a possibility, although spokesman Naoyuki Matsumo said the drinking water supply has not been affected. Still, elevated levels of iodine-131, a radioactive substance that decays quickly, were another sign that radiation continues to leak at the plant.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the tsunami and magnitude-9.0 earthquake. Some saw their homes destroyed by the wall of water, while others have been ordered to leave if they live 12 miles from the plant.