Fewer Japan disaster victims being found

TOKYO, May 14 (UPI) -- Searchers are finding fewer bodies each day in Japan, more than two months after an earthquake and tsunami, police said Saturday in Tokyo.

So far, the known death toll from the March 11 disasters is about 15,00, although 9,500 people are still unaccounted for, the Kyodo news agency reported.


Some of them could be among the hundreds of unidentified bodies recovered, police and military officials said.

Many of the bodies in makeshift morgues had no clothing or any belongings on or near them when they were found. Searchers wash the bodies and clothing and write descriptions of the bodies to post on notices at the morgues. Personal belongings are bagged to help family and friends make an identification. The report said many of the plastic bags at morgues contain dentures.

Japanese Buddhist tradition calls for bodies to be cremated, but fuel shortages after the disasters meant many bodies were buried in mass graves, officials said. Unidentified bodies are marked only by numbers.

Meanwhile, authorities said DNA labs are inundated and working around the clock comparing samples from bodies and potential family members, Kyodo said.

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