• Kyodo

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Officials in the tsunami-hit town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, which lost 40 town officials including the mayor in the March 2011 tsunami, said a donation box believed to have been stolen in mid-August had been found at a local beach and was returned to the town on Wednesday.

But the officials said that all donations had been removed from the box.

The wooden box had been on a stand erected in front of the former town hall in July 2013 to accept donations. Money in the box, however, has been stolen four times since then.

“We’re thankful for having it back,” said a 43-year-old local resident who manages the donations. “As soon as we consult the police regarding security measures that need to be taken in order to prevent more thefts in the future, we will place the box again.”

According to the police in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, the box was found on Wednesday afternoon by a man taking part in the cleanup of Kirikiri beach in Otsuchi. The man delivered it to a nearby police box.

The police said, however, that the part of the box where donations are kept had been destroyed and all of the gifts and donations, including a nameplate suggesting that one of the donations had been offered by the town of Gojome in Akita Prefecture, were gone.

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