"People tell me they just want the money to go to its owner," said Kouetsu Saiki, a Miyagi prefecture police officer in charge of the collection, processing and return of salvaged money and other valuables.
The money has been found in wallets, paper bags, safes and other containers scattered throughout the country since the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Everyone wants to help each other in any way that they can," Saiki said.
Some finders have even waived their rights to the money when the legal owner cannot be located.
The largest of 5,700 safes recovered, which contained $1.3 million, belonged to the owner of a local company whose offices were swept away during the tsunami.
"He was so grateful to have his money back," Saiki said. "He didn't keep it but distributed it among his workers and their families. It's not about personal gain here. Everyone has suffered in this tsunami."