Some 25,000 Japanese troops are fanning out on the wreckage-strewn northeastern coast on Monday in a massive search for thousands of bodies still missing from last month's earthquake and tsunami.
Backed by dozens of boats and aircraft, the soldiers are scouring the region for remains swept to sea or buried under masses of rubble.
The operation is the third intensive military search for bodies since the disaster that killed up to 26,000 people. Some 12,000 remain missing and are believed dead. Monday's search is an all-out effort to recover any remains for their families.
The soldiers are combing through the rubble and navy boats and divers are searching the waters up to 20 kilometers off the coast.