The death toll surged today after around 2,000 bodies were reportedly found on the shores of Miyagi prefecture.
Around 1,000 people were washed up on the shores of Ojika Peninsulain Miyagi, while another 1000 were seen in the town of Minamisanriku, Kyodo News reported.
Authorities have been unable to contact 10,000 people in Minamisanriku – more than half of the population living there.
Officials were hopeful about unconfirmed reports that many of the town's residents were uncountable because they had evacuated to nearby Tome city, Kyodo reported.
Before the discovery, police had confirmed 1,597 deaths and 1,481 people missing across the affected areas in northeastern and eastern Japan.
Rescue efforts have been hampered by hundreds of aftershocks, and it is feared the final death count could rise sharply once a full picture of the catastrophe emerges. In Minami Sanriku alone, 10,000 people could have died – more than half of the city’s population.
It only took a few minutes for the 30ft wave to wash the town away with terrifying force.
The locals desperately tried to escape to higher ground. But most did not stand a chance.
It is hard to imagine any life remains among the debris. Where last week fishing boats bobbed in the harbour, it is now impossible to tell where the sea begins and the land ends.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365569/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-10-000-people-missing-Minamisanriku-aftershocks-hamper-rescue-efforts.html#ixzz1GY6aLaQg