Cremation delayed as Japan buries disaster dead

Japan has begun burying some of its tsunami and earthquake victims in temporary mass graves because it does not have enough fuel for traditional cremations.

With supplies of fuel dwindling, officials have abandoned cremation in favour of quick, simple burials in a show of pragmatism over tradition. Some are buried in bare plywood caskets and others in blue plastic bags, with no time to build proper coffins. The bodies will be dug up and cremated later, officials assured the families.

Japan’s government has estimated the damage from this month’s record earthquake and tsunami at as much as 25 trillion yen ($US309 billion), it said in a statement in Tokyo.

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