Tayo Kitamura, looks down at the wrapped body of her mother Kuniko Kitamura, after Japanese firemen discovered the dead woman inside the ruins of her home in Onagawa, northeastern Japan. – AP Photo

TOKYO: The official death toll from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami has risen to 8,133 with 12,272 still missing, Kyodo news agency said, citing the police.

Police earlier said they feared more than 15,000 people had died in one prefecture alone, Miyagi, in the March 11 disaster.

Some of the missing may have been out of the region at the time of the disaster. In addition, the massive power of the tsunami likely sucked many people out to sea. If the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is any guide, most of those bodies will not be found.

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