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Tide of disaster: The mass of everyday items washed out to sea by Japanese tsunami begins to reach North America





By Leon Watson

PUBLISHED: 04:45 EST, 25 April 2012 | UPDATED: 04:52 EST, 25 April 2012

They were items used in everyday life in Japan, but now they're poignant reminders of devastating tragedy 4,000 miles away.

Thousands of bits of debris washed out to sea by the Japanese tsunami a year ago have started turning up on the North American coast.

Everything from hardhats to spray cans have been found on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada, having been carried across the Pacific Ocean by the tides.

Ocean debris believed to be from the Japanese tsunami washed up on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada

Ocean debris believed to be from the Japanese tsunami washed up on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada

No-one can be sure they come from the disaster, but the sheer quantity - and the fact many of them are recognisably Japanese - suggests they almost certainly are.

Items have already been recovered in Alaska and it is thought there is a giant field of debris out to sea will start coming ashore soon, further and further south.

In fact, there is so much being recovered, one man have even started turning it into sculptures to commemorate the disaster that killed 16,000 people.

Artist Peter Clarkson created a totem pole that he has been building in Tofino with what he believes are tsunami-related Japanese floats, barrels and Styrofoam.

Experts in ocean currents say that a large debris field of various materials is out to sea and could be coming towards North America

Experts in ocean currents say that a large debris field of various materials is out to sea and could be coming towards North America

Locals say the debris coming ashore lately has what looks to be Japanese writing on it and could be related to the Japanese tsunami

Locals say the debris coming ashore lately has what looks to be Japanese writing on it and could be related to the Japanese tsunami

Poignant reminders: A Japanese bucket washed up on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada, and a fuel can

This block is believed to have travelled 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Canada

This block is believed to have travelled 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Canada

While yet to be raised, he says the totem links Japan and Canada and raises awareness about the ongoing problem of ocean garbage.

Last week a Japanese teenager who lost his home in the disaster spoke of his delight after his football washed up on a remote Alaskan beach 3,500 miles away.

Misaki Murakami, 16, came forward to reveal that he was the owner of the ball discovered by American radar technician David Baxter on Middleton Island.

Items have also been recovered in Alaska and it is thought there is a giant field of debris out to sea will start coming ashore soon

Items have also been recovered in Alaska and it is thought there is a giant field of debris out to sea will start coming ashore soon

A toothbrush is just one of the thousands of items making their way to shore after crossing the Pacific

A toothbrush is just one of the thousands of items making their way to shore after crossing the Pacific

Washed up: This bottle of Roots is inscribed with Japanese writing

Washed up: This bottle of Roots is inscribed with Japanese writing

Mr Baxter, who also found a volleyball while out beachcombing, now plans to travel with his wife Yumi across the Pacific to return the ball.

Misaki, who lost all his cherished possessions in the tsunami that killed 19,000 people and unleashed a nuclear disaster, said: 'It was a big surprise. I've never imagined that my ball has reached Alaska.

A Japanese water bottle that may have been thrown into the sea by the tsunami

A Japanese water bottle that may have been thrown into the sea by the tsunami

Artist Peter Clarkson poses with a portion of a totem pole that he has been building in Tofino, British Columbia

Artist Peter Clarkson poses with a portion of a totem pole that he has been building in Tofino, British Columbia

'I've lost everything in the tsunami. So I'm delighted. I really want to say thank you for finding the ball.'

A Japanese fishing vessel was found afloat off the Alaskan Coast earlier this month, having drifted across the Pacific after the disaster.

Power: A wall of water crashes over a street in Miyako City, Japan during last year's devastating tsunami there

Power: A wall of water crashes over a street in Miyako City, Japan during last year's devastating tsunami there

Pleased: Misaki Murakami, 16, has recovered one of the many possessions he lost in the tsunami after his football was found in Alaska

Pleased: Misaki Murakami, 16, has recovered one of the many possessions he lost in the tsunami after his football was found in Alaska

Debris: A soccer ball that washed up on Middleton Island, about 70 miles from mainland Alaska, has been traced to a Japanese school in an area hit by the tsunami

Debris: A soccer ball that washed up on Middleton Island, about 70 miles from mainland Alaska, has been traced to a Japanese school in an area hit by the tsunami

Reeling: A Japanese fishing vessel stays afloat off the Alaskan Coast before being pummeled by cannon fire from the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this month, having drifted across the Pacific after the disaster

Reeling: A Japanese fishing vessel stays afloat off the Alaskan Coast before being pummeled by cannon fire by the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this month, having drifted across the Pacific after the disaster

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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