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Man who still goes diving every week looking for his wife's body after Japan's 2011 tsunami
Featured Image Credit: South China Morning Post/YouTube/Shutterstock

Man who still goes diving every week looking for his wife's body after Japan's 2011 tsunami

He said it would be 'depressing' not to look for her and has vowed to never give up

It's been 11 years since Japan was rocked by a devastating earthquake and tsunami that claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people.

Thousands more were injured and remain missing to this day, and despite the passing of so much time, Yasuo Takamatsu, 65, is still searching for his wife.

Yuko Takamatsu, then 47, disappeared in Onagawa, one of the hardest-hit areas affected by the disaster.

Yasuo told the Associated Press that he spent two years looking for his wife on land before turning his attention to the water back in 2013, when he got a diving license.

"I dive as if I'm going to meet her someplace," he said.

Yasuo learned how to dive so that he could look for his missing wife in the water.

Yasuo still searches for his wife weekly, and has vowed to continue the search 'as long as [his] body moves.'

He explained that his wife said she wanted to go home in the last message she sent him, and he has made it his life's mission to make it come true.

Her last text message read: "Are you okay? I want to go home."

While her mobile phone has since been recovered after the disaster, her body has never been found.

According to the BBC, her phone was found months after the March 2011 tragedy and Yasuo discovered a message she had written but had been unable to send.

It read: "The tsunami is disastrous."

The widower explained that he found the thought of surviving the tragedy and not attempting to look for his wife 'depressing'.

Yuko was at the bank where she worked when the tsunami hit and some information is known about what happened to her before she disappeared.

She was reportedly one of a group of workers clearing up the damage from the earthquake, which struck first, and was warned by the manager of the impending tsunami, so climbed up on the roof.

Onagawa was devastated by the tsunami.

The workers were warned of a six-meter wave, but they briefly debated whether there was enough time to flee to the nearby, taller hospital building, but ultimately decided to stay on the roof of the bank.

That was when Yuko texted her husband: "Are you safe? I want to go home."

Tragically, the tsunami was three times bigger than expected, and witnesses took to social media afterward to recall seeing the bankers trying to escape.

One Facebook post read: "We get a lump in a throat every time we think about the female bankers who, wearing skirts, had to climb the ladder with unimaginable fear, and male bankers who threw off their coats at the last minute regardless of the cold weather, their fear, despair and regret."

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Topics: News