Golden gifts sent to tsunami-hit Japan port

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Media caption,

The recipients of the gold bars say: "We very much appreciate the donation. We will never waste it"

People in a small Japanese fishing port that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami have been receiving gold bars in the post from an anonymous benefactor.

Packages containing gold bars started turning up in Ishinomaki, in Miyagi prefecture, about 10 days ago.

Two tsunami support groups and the fish market have been given 2kg (4.4lbs) of gold each. In all, it is thought to be worth at least $250,000 (£161,000).

The phenomenon has been dubbed a "goodwill gold rush" by one newspaper.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Japan on 11 March 2011 and the massive tsunami it generated killed almost 19,000 people and triggered a major nuclear accident.

In Ishinomaki, which lies 350km (220 miles) north-east of Tokyo, some 3,000 people died and more than 40,000 buildings were destroyed.

No return address

The head of the company which operates the town's port and fish market said he had received a parcel containing two 1kg (2.2lb) gold bars.

"Since it was labelled as 'miscellaneous goods', I casually opened the box," Kunio Suno, president of the Ishinomaki Fish Market Co Ltd, told the AFP news agency.

"I was stunned because what's in there was 24-carat gold in two plates. One was wrapped in brown paper and the other in a page taken from a magazine - both were sitting in sheets of bubble wrap."

There was no message and no return address, though the parcel was reportedly sent from the north-western city of Nagano.

Mr Suno said he would use the money to rebuild Ishinomaki's fish market, which is currently operating out of tents.

Yoshie Kaneko of the Ishinomaki Revival Support Network, which also received two gold bars, said: "We very much appreciate the sender's donation. We will never waste it."