Tsunami-hit towns run out of crematoria

 Rescue missions have ended in the small coastal town of Rikuzentakata where nearly 1,800 people are missing, many undoubtedly buried under the rubble of cars, houses, boats and factories which lie strewn around in one giant heap.     From Saturday, workers are focusing on clearing that heap.

The bodies that have been found so far have been laid out in schools and halls awaiting identification.

Those looking for loved ones submit a description to police—hairstyle, birthmarks, moles or scars. The police cross-reference the descriptions with bodies lying in neat rows and if there is a possible match, show them to the survivors.

In Japan, the vast majority of people are cremated when they die as there is not enough land for burials.

Once a body is identified, it can be cremated, but the town’s small, hilltop crematorium can only cremate eight bodies a day.    

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