Police, others comb Pacific shores for missing people 5 years, 5 months after disaster

Police officers, firefighters and other officials searched Pacific coast areas in Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 11 for the whereabouts of people still missing five years and five months since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Searched were 12 locations where damage from the tsunami disaster was especially heavy. At Tomioka fishing port in Tomioka town, about 20 searchers comprising members of a riot squad from the Fukushima Prefectural Police Headquarters and officers from the Futaba Police Station took part in the operation. Five divers from the squad combed undersea areas, using underwater robots, in search of clues to missing people. It was the first undersea search in the area in about two years and nine months. At the port, Toshiyuki Kanno, head of the Security Department at the prefectural police, gave words of encouragement to the searchers. "In this prefecture, 197 people are still unaccounted for," Kanno said. "More than five years have passed and we were able to return the remains of five people to their families last year. We would like to use our full force in the search, bearing in mind the thoughts of family members." ■2 bone pieces found in Namie As a result of the operation, searchers discovered two pieces of bone in the Tanashio district of Namie town. The police headquarters is examining them to confirm if they are of human origin. (Translated by Kyodo News)