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'I will come again tomorrow': Boy, 9, desperately searches for missing family in Japan

Toshihito Aisawa's father, mother and grandmother are all missing. For days the 9-year-old has been desperately searching for them at evacuation centers in the Japanese city of Ishinomaki, holding up hand written signs pleading for information. On one is written their names, on the other the simple message "I will come again tomorrow."

Kuniaki Nishio / Asahi Shimbun via EPA

Nine-year-old Toshihito Aisawa pictured at an evacuation centre in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan on March 15. He is holding two handwritten signs as he continues his search for his father, mother and grandmother lost in the quake and tsunami of March 11. On one is written their names, on the other "I will come again tomorrow".

Toshihito's father picked him up from school shortly after the earthquake struck last Friday, and the family were driving towards higher ground when the tsunami struck.

Toshihito and his teenage cousin Yuto managed to crawl out of the car's broken window, but they became separated and the younger boy then lost consciousness. When he came to, a man fished him out of the water.

Kuniaki Nishio, a journalist with Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, met Toshihito on Tuesday as he searched for his missing relatives. The boy remained determined that he would find his family. "When the roads clear up, I'm going to check our home," he said.

A family friend, 64-year-old barber Mitsunari Kitahara, who is looking after the boy, said Toshihito had not shown any emotion since losing his family. "I'm sure that it has been tough on him," Mr Kitahara said.

Asahi Shimbun reported that Kitahara repeatedly told the Toshihito to "stop worrying so much" and to "come back home as soon as you can."

"Yes, I'll do as you say. I won't worry about it," Toshihito replied, although the paper said "his face betrayed his show of bravery."

Kuniaki Nishio / Asahi Shimbun via EPA

Nine-year-old Toshihito Aisawa pictured at an evacuation centre in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan on March 15, searching for his missing father, mother and grandmother.

However, as flagged by Newsvine user acidrain, The Australian newspaper, citing Asahi Shimbun, reported some good news Friday: Toshihito has been reunited with his cousin. Another cousin, Yuna, who was also in the car, is still missing.

Read the original story, written before Toshihito found his cousin, at Asahi Shimbun.

Follow the latest developments in Japan and see more images in our slideshow.

Find out how you can help victims of the Japanese quake.