Image: Vending machine in tsunami zone
Vincent Yu  /  AP
A vending machine stands intact in the area devastated by the  tsunami in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, on Saturday.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/9/2011 9:51:44 PM ET 2011-04-10T01:51:44

Tens of millions of yen has been turned in to authorities by rescue workers and citizens who found the cash in the rubble of disaster-hit areas, the Kyodo news agency reported Sunday, citing police.

Police told Kyodo that citizens were turning in cash and valuables every day and that there was little hope in most cases of finding the original owners if the items were found without identification. Under Japanese law, the finders would be able to keep the money if the owners did not claim it within three months.

Police in the Miyagi prefecture told Kyodo that money has been returned in less than 10 percent of cases.

Meanwhile, the Japanese and U.S. militaries were launching another all-out search for the bodies of earthquake and tsunami victims along Japan's ravaged coast.

About 22,000 Japanese troops, along with 110 from the U.S., will search by land, air and sea on Sunday. They'll skip the evacuation zone around the damaged nuclear complex that is spewing radiation. Troops and police officers have also been searching within the evacuation zone, but it is dangerous, painstaking work.

Story: Japan faces another dilemma: Radiation-contaminated bodies

As many as 25,000 people are feared dead in the March 11 disaster, but only 13,000 deaths have been confirmed. Many bodies have likely been washed out to sea and will never be found.

Defense ministry spokesman Norikazu Muratani says the troops want to do their best to find bodies for the families.

In other developments:

  • Japanese engineers hope to stop pumping radioactive water into the sea on Sunday and start moving more highly contaminated water out of a crippled nuclear reactor. Efforts to regain control of six reactors hit by the 50-foot-high tsunami, which caused partial meltdowns to some reactor cores after fuel rods were overheated, has been hindered by 60,000 tons of radioactive water.
  • An unmanned drone helicopter is scheduled to fly over four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, north of Tokyo, to video the extent of damage in areas where workers are unable to safely enter due to high radiation.
  • Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. apologized Saturday over the crisis. "I would like to apologize from my heart over the worries and troubles we are causing for society due to the release of radiological materials into the atmosphere and seawater," Sakae Muto, a TEPCO vice president, told a news conference.
  • Prime Minister Naoto Kan is scheduled to visit Ishinomaki city on Sunday, one of the areas hardest hit by the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami. More than 153,000 people are living in school gymnasiums and other evacuation centers.
  • Banri Kaieda, a minister whose portfolio includes the nuclear industry, said he hoped evacuees from the radiation zone in Fukushima could visit their homes as soon as possible.

This article contains reporting from msnbc.com staff, The Associated Press and Reuters.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Cell video shows tsunami hitting nuclear plant

  1. Closed captioning of: Cell video shows tsunami hitting nuclear plant

    >>> and japan is easing some restrictions put in place after radiation started to leak from the crippled nuclear plant . let's go live to tokyo. charles hadlock joins us. charles , these are significant changes in restrictions given that it is affecting milk and spinach as you told me earlier?

    >> reporter: that's right. remember in the early days of the crisis, milk and spinach were showing signs of radiation in the farms near the fukushima plant. now the government says it has been testing the products coming off the farms, and they've been free and clear of significant radiation for the last three weeks, so the government now says those products are now safe to sell and consume in japan. i want to show you some of the latest video that's come in. this is from the moment the tsunami hit the fukushima plant. it was taken by a plant worker, who fled after the earthquake hit. his cell phone captures the moment that 45-foot wave slams into the 25-foot sea wall around the plant, creating a plume of sea water that shoots straight into the air. dramatic video, something we haven't seen before of the moment the tsunami hit that crippled fukushima plant.

    >> all right, charles . more incredible video. thank you very much.

Photos: After Japan's earthquake and tsunami - week 8

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  1. A radiation measuring instrument is seen next to some residents in Kawauchimura, a village within the 12- to 18-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, on April 28. Most residents of Kawauchimura have evacuated in order to avoid the radiation, but some remain in the area of their own accord. (Koichi Kamoshida / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A brazier heats the house of Masahiro Kazami, located within a 12-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, April 28. (Koichi Kamoshida / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Volunteers help clean a cemetery at Jionin temple in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, on April 29. Many volunteers poured into the disaster-hit region at the beginning of the annual Golden Week holiday. (Hiro Komae / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Japanese government adviser Toshiso Kosako is overcome with emotion during a news conference on April 29 in Tokyo announcing his resignation. The expert on radiation exposure said he could not stay on the job and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits for elementary schools in areas near the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Fuel rods are seen inside the spent fuel pool of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant reactor 4 on April 30. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A volunteer girl from Tokyo works to clean the debris of a house in Higashimatsushima, northern Japan, on April 30. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Farmer Tsugio Sato tends to his Japanese pear trees in Fukushima city, May 1. He said he expects to harvest the pears in October. Farmers and businesses face so-called "fuhyo higai," or damages stemming from the battered reputation of the Fukushima brand. (Hiro Komae / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Members of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in protective gear receive radiation screening in Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture, after searching for bodies at an area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Ruriko Sakuma, daughter of dairy farmer Shinji Sakuma, rubs a cow at their farm in the village of Katsurao in Fukushima prefecture on May 3. Thousands of farm animals died of hunger in the weeks following the quake. (Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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Timeline: Crisis in Japan

How events have unfolded since a 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan, triggering a deadly tsunami and nuclear power disaster.

  1. Image: The wave from a tsunami crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan
    Ho / Reuters
    Above: Timeline Crisis in Japan
  2. Interactive Japan before and after the disaster

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