The corpse of a woman found in January in the ruble of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, has been determined by DNA testing to be that of 24-year-old Arisa Miura, an employee at the disaster preparedness office at the city hall, which was washed away in the March 11th tsunami last year. Following the results, her body is finally being sent home.
Arisa was a friend and coworker of Miki Endo, who became a tragic heroine for remaining at the city hall to broadcast evacuation orders at the cost of her life. They met doing kendo together as elementary school students, then went to the same high school and joined the staff at the city hall together.
According to the National Police Agency, they have recovered remains of tsunami victims just twice so far this year. In this case, a passerby noticed a partially uncovered body in a rumble dump on January 17. Due to the fact that her uniform carried a serial number, they were fairly sure it was Arisa, but performed a DNA test to confirm her identity.
Arisa’s mother Etsuko didn’t think she would ever find the remains of her daughter. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I went to collect her and I said ‘Welcome home. I’m so sorry it took so long.’”
On March 11th, Etsuko received just one text from her daughter. It read, “Are you OK?! There’s a 6 meter tsunami coming. If the city hall is washed away, I’m sorry.”
Reading that precious final message, Etsuko still thinks, “My daughter should have had a future. How could something like this happen?” And that final “I’m sorry” still makes her heart ache.