JIJI — Nearly nine years after the March 2011 mega-quake and tsunami devastated much of Tohoku, 2,529 people remained missing as of March 1, according to the National Police Agency.

The death toll came to 15,899 in the 12 prefectures tracked, up two from the previous year, the NPA said Friday.

Six of the prefectures have people unaccounted for, but their tally fell by four after two people’s remains were identified.

Of the three hardest-hit prefectures, Miyagi’s death toll remained the highest at 9,543, followed by Iwate with 4,675 and Fukushima with 1,614.

The death toll in the other nine prefectures combined stood at 67.

Of the victims, 99.6 percent have been identified. But the remains of 49 in Iwate and eight in Miyagi remain unidentified.

The bones of the two people added to the death toll this year were found at a construction site in Iwate and in the ocean off Miyagi, the NPA said.

Over 1.42 million police officers and other personnel were sent to the three hardest-hit prefectures after 3/11. The program finished last March after public security improved, an NPA official said.

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