It’s been two and a half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, but until now there around 2,654 bodies that have never been recovered, yet assumed dead. Police and the Japan Coast Guard conducted another round of large-scale searches on Wednesday to try to give closure to the families of those believed to be part of the tsunami dead.
Around 90 searchers went through the coastlines and waters in the Onahama district of Fukushima Prefecture, which is around 50 kilometers south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Hiroshi Kuno, police chief of Iwaki Higashi police station, said they are conducting this search to find the missing people or even just their belongings. Other groups have also made similar searches in other areas of Northeast Japan. The entire coastline has already been searched many times before, but officials want to make sure they have not overlooked anything or left any stone unturned. However, some have already accepted the fact that these bodies may never be found as it has been more and more difficult to conduct searches like this as months and years go by.
Around 15,8883 were officially confirmed to have died from the 2011 disasters, not including those that are still missing. Most are from Miyagi Prefecture which was the most hard-hit in the region, together with Iwate and Fukushima prefectures. While no one directly died from the nuclear meltdown at the plant, the Japanese government added another 2,688 deaths, mostly from stress and other evacuation-related conditions. There are still more than 300,000 people who live in temporary housing after being evacuated during the triple disasters. There are also a large number of young people and families who have permanently left the region to begin their lives anew somewhere else in the country or outside of Japan.
[ via Channel News Asia ]