251 bodies recovered by SDF, U.S. forces search mission


TOKYO (majirox news) – A total of 251 bodies were found Saturday, the second day of a three-day intensive search by Japan and the United States for those still missing three weeks after the earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, the Defense Ministry said.

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami grew to 11,734 and 16,375 missing, according to the National Police Agency as of 9 p.m. April 1.

U.S. forces and JSDF (Japan’s Self defense Force) began searching for missing people on Friday in the central coast of Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, especially for those who were believed to have been carried offshore after the tsunami hit the coast after the quake.

About 25,000 personnel are searching for remains of the victims. This is the largest scale search-and-rescue operation ever launched in Japan. It included members of the Japanese police, coast guard, divers and fire departments, according to the Defense Ministry.

About 100 aircraft and 50 ships from the SDF and about 20 aircraft and 15 ships from the U.S. military are being used in the mission.

The search does not include the 30-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in Fukushima prefecture,, according to the authorities.

Attempts at sealing crack at Fukushima fails
So far attempts to pour concrete over a crack inside the pit at reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant has failed.

As previously reported, radioactive water has been found leaking into the sea through a 20-centimeter crack from the pit at reactor No. 2, according to TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Co and plant operator).

The water containing high levels of radioactive material had accumulated in a concrete pit. It was the first time that radioactive water was confirmed to have leaked into the sea from the crippled plant. Water in the pit measured more than 1,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour, which exceeds the legal limit.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said “TEPCO has begun pouring concrete into the pit to stop the leak.”

However, this latest attempt to fix the problem is failing.

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