TOKYO – Japan is providing $5 million to the U.S. to help with collection and disposal of marine debris from its 2011 tsunami disaster.
The Foreign Ministry announced the donation to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda informed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the plan during a meeting in September on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
A huge tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, earthquake off Japan's northeastern coast killed or left missing more than 18,000 people and washed millions of tons of debris into the sea.
NOAA has said it expects some of the debris to wash up on U.S. shores in the next several years. Japan's donation will help fund its monitoring, removal and processing.
About 70 percent of the tsunami debris is said to have sunk, but a few items have been confirmed as having floated across the Pacific, including a large plastic bin used to transport seafood that landed in Hawaii, a fishing dock found on the Oregon coast, buoys and other flotsam and jetsam.