TOKYO – The earthquake and tsunami that pulverized coastal Japan crippled a bank's security mechanisms and left a vault wide open. That allowed someone to walk off with 40 million yen ($500,000).
The March 11 tsunami washed over the Shinkin Bank, like much else in Kesennuma, and police said between the wave's power and the ensuing power outages, the vault came open.
"The bank was flooded, and things were thrown all over. It was a total mess. Somebody stole the money in the midst of the chaos," said a police official in Miyagi prefecture, where Kesennuma is located.
The bank notified police on Tuesday, 11 days after the disaster, said the official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.