Quake Survivors Return $78M in Found Cash
Nearly 6,000 safes have washed ashore in Japan
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2011 4:05 PM CDT
In this photo taken on April 7, a police officer cleans cashboxes from damaged houses at a police station in Japan.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – In the five months since a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the east coast of Japan, honest citizens have returned $78 million in cash—$48 million found in thousands of wallets, and $30 million from some 5,700 safes that turned up onshore, reports ABC News. One safe had $1 million inside. Police say most of the money and valuables have been returned to the rightful owners.

"The fact that these safes were washed away meant the homes were washed away, too," said a police spokesman. "We had to first determine if the owners were alive, then find where they had evacuated to." The stashing of cash is not uncommon in Japan, especially in fishing districts like those affected by the tsunami. In addition to cash, people have turned in gold bars, antiques, and even crafted boxes containing a child's umbilical cord.