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Fishermen net bag stashed with yen off Japan coast

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TOKYO >> A fishing boat netted a bag packed with cash worth 11 million yen ($145,000) off Japan’s northeastern coast, a catch probably swept away in the tsunami seven months ago.

A trawler pulled the bag with more than 1,000 notes worth 10,000-yen ($130) from the bottom of the sea on Oct. 8 near Ofunato city in Iwate state, city official Kou Ueno said.

“We think it is related to the disaster as no one is going to throw this kind of thing away on purpose,” Ueno told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday. 

Other safes and cash-filled envelopes have been found and reported to authorities since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake set off a giant tsunami that left about 20,000 people dead or missing from Japan’s northeast coast in March.

If no one claims the cash in the latest find in six months, the money will go to the finders, although a legal ruling may be necessary to determine whether the captain of the ship, the crew or the ship’s owner is the true finder, Ueno said.

Some information about the bag and its contents are being kept secret to allow the city to determine whether anyone who comes forward is the rightful owner, he added.

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