Some 22,000 Japanese troops on Sunday launched a new search for the victims of last month's earthquake and tsunami along the country's northeastern coast as the toll from the disaster neared 13,000, a media report said.
About 100 US troops will also take part in the search in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the CNN reported citing the Japanese military.
Japan's National Police Agency on Sunday said the toll from the March 11 disaster had risen to 12,998, with another 14,691 still missing and 4,683 injured. More than 151,000 others have been displaced.
Two more people died and at least 283 others were injured on Thursday night following a 7.1-magnitude aftershock.
Japan is still reeling from the 9-magnitude quake, and the resulting tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Communities across northern Japan planned to hold solemn commemorations of the event Monday, including moments of silence to mark one month since the disaster struck, the broadcaster said.
Meanwhile, a key transportation hub in Sendai, one of the worst-hit areas, is preparing to resume operations. Limited commercial service at the airfield south of the city and near the coast will be restored Wednesday, authorities and airlines said.
The re-opening of the airfield will bring relief to the region, which is still without an express train service. Many roads and dozens of railroad lines and stations also were knocked out by the disaster, CNN said.