• Kyodo

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Disaster-hit Fukuoka Prefecture on Tuesday turned its attention to reconstruction after the Self-Defense Forces called off the search for survivors on Monday.

In the most severely hit city of Asakura, about 400 prefectural police officers and firefighters used excavators to dig up dirt and debris as residents looked on.

On Monday, about 2,600 personnel, including SDF members and police, continued looking for the six people who remain missing, focusing on rivers in the prefecture. A massive search in the Ariake Sea, into which rivers in the region flow, has already been conducted.

Without further clues, the SDF called off the search later on Monday. Asakura Mayor Shunsuke Morita thanked the SDF and said the city will begin the rebuilding process.

“We are full of gratitude,” Morita told SDF personnel.

Most of the SDF personnel will withdraw from the region, leaving 80 members to assist with reconstruction activities, such as setting up makeshift bathing facilities, according to the city.

Officials said damage in the prefecture caused by the disaster is estimated at close to ¥120 billion.

A total of 35 people in Fukuoka and neighboring Oita Prefecture died in the disaster.

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