CHILLING: Coast Guard Releases Footage Of Tsunami

RELATED: Police officials say that the death toll from Japan’s massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami is likely to exceed 18,000. Hitoshi Sugawara, a police spokesman, said on Monday that Miyagi, one of the of the hardest-hit prefectures, might account for 15,000 deaths alone. “It is very distressing as we recover more bodies day by days,” Sugawara said. The National Police Agency said the overall number of bodies collected so far stood at 8,649 and some 13,262 people have been listed as missing. The financial cost of the disaster was estimated to be some $235 billion, the World Bank said in report on Monday, adding that Japan may need five years to rebuild. MORE

RELATED: Police aren’t the only ones on patrol since the earthquake hit. Members of the Yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicate, have also been enforcing order. All three major crime groups—the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Sumiyoshi-kai, and the Inagawa-kai—havecompiled squads to patrol the streets of their turf and keep an eye out to make sure looting and robbery doesn’t occur,” writes Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, in an e-mail message. “The Sumiyoshi-kai claims to have shipped over 40 tons of [humanitarian aid] supplies nationwide and I believe that’s a conservative estimate.” One group has even opened its Tokyo offices to displaced Japanese and foreigners who were stranded after the first tremors disabled public transportation. “As one Sumiyoshi-kai boss put it to me over the phone,” says Adelstein, ” ‘In times of crisis, there are not Yakuza and civilians or foreigners. There are only human beings and we should help each other.’ ” Even during times of peace, the Yakuza enforce order, says Adelstein. They make their money off extortion, prostitution, and drug trafficking. But they consider theft grounds for expulsion. MORE

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