Thousands evacuated in Japan

2013-02-17 14:25
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Tokyo - Japanese troops removed two unexploded wartime bombs in central and western Japan on Sunday, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes and disrupting bullet train services.

Removal work began on Sunday morning at a factory in Hamamatsu, central Japan, where a dud shell, believed to have been fired by a US naval ship during World War II, was found in October, a city official said.

A bomb disposal unit of the Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) loaded the 860kg shell on to a military vehicle and transported it to a nearby beach, where it was detonated later in the day, the official said.

"We have already lifted the evacuation advisory issued to some 10 000 residents and are now confirming if it was defused with the detonation," the official said.

Central Japan Railway suspended its operation of the high-speed Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Hamamatsu and Toyohashi for about an hour, affecting some 14 000 passengers, local media said.

Separately, another unexploded wartime bomb was also removed by troops in the western city of Kobe on Sunday, forcing about 7 000 people to temporarily evacuate to schools and other public buildings, city officials said.

The 250kg shell, also believed to have been launched by the US military during the war, was found last month at a housing construction site in eastern Kobe, the officials said.

The shell was transferred to a military facility after being successfully defused by another bomb disposal unit, the officials added.

- SAPA

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