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Wednesday, 29 December, 2004

Japan has tentative list of 11 dead

Four Japanese have been confirmed dead in Thailand and seven others are believed to have died in Sri Lanka in the massive tsunamis that hit South and Southeast Asia over the weekend, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.

Kaito Yoshino, 8, died when he was swept away by a tsunami in the Thai resort city of Khao Lak, just north of Phuket island. His father, Sadayuki, 41, a diplomat at the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok who was also vacationing on the beach with his family, remains missing.

The Foreign Ministry also confirmed the death of a 27-year-old Japanese woman, believed to be Naoko Kakinoki of Fukuoka Prefecture. She was vacationing on Phuket. Her parents headed for Thailand early Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, a boy and his sister, whose names and ages were being withheld, were confirmed dead from the tsunamis on Phuket, the ministry said. The two were on vacation with their parents, who survived them.

In Sri Lanka, seven bodies that were taken from the southern city of Hambantota to Colombo are believed to be some of 12 Japanese tourists listed as missing since Sunday's tsunamis, said the official, who asked not to be named.

The bodies are awaiting final identification by next of kin, who are expected to fly to Sri Lanka on Wednesday. A Hambantota hotel where several Japanese were believed staying collapsed when it was hit by tsunamis.

The Defense Agency meanwhile diverted three Maritime Self-Defense ships to help search for the missing and rescue survivors off Phuket.


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