Search operation conducted for missing 2011 tsunami victims

Kyodo

Police and coast guard officers on Sunday conducted a massive search operation in Japan’s Pacific coastal areas for people who remain listed as missing following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

The operation was conducted in coastal areas of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, where more than 2,500 people remain listed as missing in the wake of the natural disaster 20 months ago. But the operation in Japan’s northeastern region did not lead to the recovery of any bodies.

About 70 personnel from the Japan Coast Guard conducted the search using patrol vessels and helicopters, while around 240 police officers and firefighters dug up ground submerged by the tsunami.

“I’d like to meet the needs of families of those who are still missing,” said a 24-year-old diver Takuma Abe, who participated in the operation, adding he has an unwavering commitment to searching for the victims.

Police and coast guard are planning to conduct a joint search on Thursday in Fukushima Prefecture, another area hit by the natural disaster as well as a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

In Fukushima, 211 people remained listed as missing as of last Wednesday, according to the National Police Agency