Authorities alarmed as giant sphere washes up on Japanese beach
People were kept away from the mysterious object with police initially fearing it may explode.
Japanese officials are perplexed after a strange object washed up onto shore, prompting the immediate closure of Enshu Beach in Hamamatsu, a southern coastal city about 250km from Tokyo.
Local media said a "large round object" was discovered by a local resident on Tuesday morning at around 9 am before she alerted the police, who launched an investigation.
According to authorities, the suspicious object is a sphere with a diameter of about 1.5 metres, and because of some noticeable rust, it's believed to be made of iron, Asahi News reported. It also has handle-like pieces of metal which would allow it to be hooked to something, it's been reported.
Fears it could explode
Officials restricted access within a 200-metre radius around the object while investigations were carried out, with fears it could explode. Bomb disposal crews and riot police were called in to inspect the object, local outlet Fuji News Network (FNN) reported. But an X-ray later determined the object was hollow and there was no danger of explosion, with restrictions later lifted.
Videos shared on Twitter by local news outlets show the unidentified object lodged in the sand by the shoreline as officials dressed in protective gear attempt to examine it. The object closely resembles a mooring buoy that is typically used as an alternative to anchors, Vice reported — which usually have a metal shell.
Images have reportedly been sent to the Japanese armed forces and coast guard for them to be examined.
— NHK静岡放送局 (@nhk_shizuoka_) February 21, 2023
Unidentified objects spark concern
Interest in unidentified objects is at an all-time high after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down by the US this month, followed by multiple unidentified objects being spotted.
Suspected Chinese spy balloons have reportedly been spotted in Japan's airspace in the past, but on Tuesday, senior Japanese defence officials asked China to prevent it from happening again, NHK News reported.
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