Owners retrieve billions of yen lost in disasters


TOKYO (majirox news) — Almost all of the 2.36 billion yen ($33.88 million) found in safes washed away in the March 11 tsunami that devastated much of the Tohoku Region has been returned to its rightful owners, the National Police Agency (NPA) said Aug. 15.

A total of 2.36 billion yen was collected from about 5,700 safes washed away in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures after the super-tsunami hit the area and handed in to the police.

Police have found the owners of 2.27 billion yen ($29.58 million) of this amount — 96 percent of the total — and returned the money.

“We have plenty of clues leading to who owns the money that still hasn’t been returned, so we want to keep on investigating,” an NPA spokesman said.

NPA officials said safes washed away in the tsunami had been handed into the police in the wake of the disaster. Safecrackers were hired to open the safes and documents inside them were used to identify the owners and the contents returned. Law enforcers have enlisted the aid of local governments to find owners if they know who they are but not where they were evacuated to in the wake of the disasters that killed over 20,000.

Police in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures said they have received an additional 3.79 billion yen ($49.38 million) from wallets and purses, of which 85 percent has been given back to its owners.

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