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An intense military search operation for dead bodies in the area affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will begin Monday, according to the Japanese government. The operation will last for two days and will be backed by nearly 25,000 soldiers, boats and aircraft.
It is the third military operation of this kind since the disaster, but experts believe it might be the most successful, since flood waters have begun to recede, making the search easier.
The rubble will be searched by 24,800 soldiers, backed by 90 helicopters and planes, defense ministry spokesman Ippo Maeyama said on Sunday.
“It’s been very difficult and challenging to find bodies because the areas hit by tsunami are so widespread,” he said. “Many bodies also have been swept away by the tsunami.”
Latest death toll data shows more than 25,000 people remain missing or have died as a result of the March 11 disaster.
The Japanese official said that some of the bodies are already in an advanced decomposed state, making the search more difficult. “You have to be very careful in touching the bodies because they quickly disintegrate. We cannot tell the bodies’ gender anymore, let alone their age,” he said.
The searches will however continue “as long as families want us to look for their loved ones,” Maeyama said. [AP via JapanToday.com]