Japanese citizens hand in £50m found washed up by tsunami
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 19 August 2011
Tens of thousands of citizens may have lost their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, but their public spirit appears undiminished, with news yesterday that good Samaritans have handed in millions of pounds found in safes and wallets amid the devastation.
Thousands of safes have washed up in the shattered coastal landscapes in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the five months since the disasters struck, a national police report said, while millions of pounds in cash were also found by Japanese citizens in bags, wallets and purses and handed in to authorities. Police used other documents found in the wallets and safes to trace the owners, and 96 percent of the recovered money - which reports suggest could be as much as £50m - has now been returned.
"The fact that these safes were washed away meant the homes were washed away too," Koetsu Saiki of the Miyagi police was quoted as saying by ABC News. "We had to first determine if the owners were alive, then find where they had evacuated to." He said the soiled banknotes were not the only items found in the safes: police were also striving to return gold bars, antiques and other treasured keepsakes to the families.
Around 20,000 people died in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, which also flattened hundreds of thousands of homes as the wall of water roared inland. The police effort to pair the lost money with survivors is a rare piece of positive news for the state, with the government facing harsh criticism over its handling of Japan's worst crisis since the end of the Second World War.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
International Women's Day 2014: Mothers and daughters describe their hopes and dreams in touching photographs
International Women’s Day: 'I've just done what I damn well wanted to' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...