SDF closes highways, evacuate residents to dispose WWII bomb in central Japan
KUWANA, Mie -- Members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) safely disposed of a bomb on Feb. 5 left over from World War II in this central Japan city.
The explosive, believed to have been dropped by the U.S. military, was discovered beneath the ground late last year during replacement construction of the Ise Ohashi bridge on National Route 1. The bomb was estimated to weigh around 1 metric ton.
The GSDF set a 300-meter radius around the device as a security zone, evacuating those who reside inside of it to a local community center and other places. Once the area was confirmed clear, the GSDF's explosive ordnance unit began the disposal operation before 10 a.m., and it lasted about 1 hour 20 minutes. Traffic was temporarily closed on nearby roads, including National Route 1, and boat traffic on the Nagara River was also restricted. The operation ended after the GSDF team carefully defused the bomb.
The area is thought to have been targeted with a large number of aerial explosives during WWII because the city had a munitions factory. After the disposal operation, Kuwana Mayor Narutaka Ito said, "This reminded us once again that there are traces of war even now, more than 70 years later."
(Japanese original by Noriyoshi Matsumoto, Yokkaichi Bureau)