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Gold bars worth over $3.8 million donated to quake-hit Japan village

Gold bars donated to Tanohata village in Iwate Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of Tanohata municipal government/Kyodo)

MORIOKA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Gold bars worth over 500 million yen ($3.8 million) have been donated to a northeastern Japan village by an individual who expressed hope that the proceeds from their sale would be spent for the good of the municipality, devastated by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster.

    The municipal government of Tanohata in Iwate Prefecture said it was considering using the proceeds from the sale of the 120 bars, weighing 60 kilograms, for child-rearing support and the rebuilding of the decades-old village office. The donor has asked not to be identified.

    According to the municipal government, a resident of Japan whose ties with the coastal village predate the 2011 disaster approached Mayor Yasushi Sasaki about the donation in the fall of last year.

    The mayor visited a jeweler in Tokyo with the donor at the end of January and sold the bars for 528.24 million yen.

    It is the first time that the village, established in 1889 and with a population of around 3,000, has received a donation of more than 100 million yen from an individual, the municipal government said.

    The earthquake resistance of the 60-year-old village office is poor and it becomes hot and humid in the summer due to a lack of air conditioners and window screens.

    "Our finances are tough, with internal revenue sources only roughly 15 percent (of the total budget). The donation is a big present for our village," said Mitsuyuki Kudo, a senior village official.

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