JUNEAU, Alaska (March 9, 2013)--Debris continues to reach U.S. shores from the deadly 2011 tsunami that devastated parts of Japan, but it can be hard to distinguish the tsunami debris from the everyday trash that has plagued coastal areas for years.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just 21 items from among the more than 1,500 reports of possible tsunami debris have been firmly traced back to the tsunami.
These are items that tend to have unique markings, such as names of people or places or registration numbers.
A buoy that was part of a restaurant sign in a coastal Japanese community was found on a remote Alaska island about a year after the disaster.
The distinctive black character on it helped link it to its owner.