If you've watched any of the news coverage of the Japan earthquake, you've likely seen the tsunami footage showing cars being tossed around like Hot Wheels. The waterlogged vehicles number in the thousands, and the Japanese government has a big task in cleaning up the mess.

Reuters reports that workers are using construction equipment to lift the vehicles onto trucks, which then take the damaged cars and trucks to auto graveyards in the now-dry flood plains in and around the quake zone. The vehicles are reportedly lined up in sprawling rows, with the license plates all facing the same direction so owners can easily locate their wrecked rides. The workers even have color-coated spray painting that indicates whether the vehicle has a body in it that needs to be removed; a grim reminder of just how tragic this natural disaster was.

Most owners are simply removing any belongings that remain in the car, along with the vehicle's license plate. Removing the plate and having proper registration information will reportedly make it easier for owners of destroyed vehicles to collect insurance for their loss. In the long term, many of these vehicles will likely be crushed after being disassembled for key parts.

[Source: Reuters | Image: Wally Santana/AP]

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