Five years after the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated vast areas of northeastern Japan, 2,561 people remain missing in the three hardest-hit prefectures, the National Police Agency said.

Based on data compiled as of Monday, the agency put the death toll at 15,894. Of the 15,824 bodies recovered in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, 75 remained unidentified as of late February.

By prefecture, Miyagi topped the list with 1,236 residents still unaccounted for, followed by Iwate with 1,124 and Fukushima with 197.

Two people remain missing in Chiba Prefecture and one each is unaccounted for in Aomori and Ibaraki prefectures.

Over 650,000 police officers have been involved in the search operations.

Of the bodies recovered in the three primary prefectures, more than 90 percent, or 14,310 people, died from drowning, underscoring the extent of the tsunami's destruction.