Hundreds of US-made World War II munitions explode off Okinawa

0
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force detonates 315 World War II-era artillery shells, bullets and grenades off Shinko Pier in Naha Port in Okinawa, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Mari Higa/Stars and Stripes)

NAHA, Okinawa — Hundreds of unexploded ordnance from World War II found in Okinawa last year were detonated underwater on Wednesday by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The service detonated 315 artillery shells, bullets and grenades at 10:20 a.m., about half a mile off Shinko Pier in Naha Port.

A total of 634 munitions were discovered during a dredging of Naha Port between March and November, a Naha city spokesperson told the Stars and Stripes on Tuesday. The first 319 objects exploded in the same way on December 14.

The ammunition is believed to be American-made leftovers from the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force detonates 315 World War II-era artillery shells, bullets and grenades off Shinko Pier in Naha Port in Okinawa on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force detonates 315 World War II-era artillery shells, bullets and grenades off Shinko Pier in Naha Port in Okinawa, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Mari Higa/Stars and Stripes)

A handful of members of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, city firefighters and Naha city officials, including Deputy Mayor Satoru Chinen, gathered to observe the detonation from the second floor of the municipal waste disposal facility Naha Eco Island. At 10:20 a.m. a blast was followed unceremoniously by a rush of water in the sky.

The elimination was successful, Chinen told those present half an hour later.

About 20 tons of unexploded ordnance are found and disposed of in Okinawa Prefecture each year, a spokesperson for the prefecture’s Disaster Prevention and Crisis Management Division said by phone Wednesday. It is customary in Japan for some government officials to speak to the media on condition of anonymity.

“We used to find more in the past, but it was only 14.4 tonnes last year,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing that we find less and less every year.”

Mari Higa



Twitter


E-mail

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.