TOKYO (Reuters) - It seemed too good to be true. A young man pulled alive from the rubble on Saturday eight days after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Hours after the man made international headlines on Saturday, a glimmer of hope in Japan's worst tragedy since World War Two, Japanese media offered a mea culpa, withdrew the story and dashed hopes of a "tsunami miracle."
The man, in fact, had been in an evacuation center and had just returned to his ruined home, where he lay down in a blanket, one of thousands of victims of Japan's magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, but not quite a miracle.
"He had been staying in the shelter since the quake and tsunami hit the coastal city on March 11 and returned home in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, around noon Friday to clean it up," news agency Kyodo News reported.
Earlier, Japanese media and the military reported that the man, in his 20s, was in shock and unable to speak when he was found in Kesennuma, one of the regions hardest hit by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake.
The military also confirmed the man had earlier been to an evacuation center.
Nearly 7,000 people have been confirmed killed in the double natural disaster, which turned whole towns into waterlogged and debris-shrouded wastelands.
Another 10,700 people are missing with many feared dead.
(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Writing by Jason Szep. Editing by Nick Macfie)