A metal ball that has washed up on a beach in the Japanese Pacific coast city of Hamamatsu has left people guessing. A woman reported the bizarre find to local police on Tuesday, according to television channels Asahi TV and Fuji News Network (FNN).
The ball has a diameter of 1.5 meters and is probably made of iron because it has rusted through. There are also two protruding brackets on the ball, as TV footage shows.
Asahi TV further reports, an area 200 meters along the coast of Hamamatsu around the sphere has been cordoned off for fear of a possible explosion.
Officials reportedly asked the Self-Defense Forces and the Coast Guard to identify the object. A unit to defuse explosives was also sent. Video footage shows security forces in riot gear examining the bullet.
The bullet was later determined to be hollow and posed no danger, FNN reports. The authorities have so far been unclear what the flotsam is about, the broadcaster continued. The beach administration of Shizuoka Prefecture wants to recover the ball soon.
A local who regularly visits the beach told Japanese broadcaster NHK he doesn't understand why the ball is suddenly the center of attention. "He's been there for a month. I tried to push him but he didn't move."
In Japan, there is speculation as to what the ball might be. So far there is no evidence that it is a spy object from China, North Korea or Russia. Since the launch of several suspected spy balloons over North America, global interest in unknown and mysterious objects has risen sharply.
The online magazine "Vice" reports that users on social media compared the ball to objects and scenes from films such as "War of the Worlds" or "Godzilla". Others joked that it was an item from the Dragon Ball anime series.
But the answer could be much simpler: the object washed up now could be a mooring buoy. This is also indicated by the two handles at two ends of the ball. In fact, an online marine supplies store has photos of such spherical steel mooring buoys that look very similar to the sphere in Japan.
So it stands to reason that a ship lost this metal ball. The local authorities will determine whether this is actually the case.
Quellen: Asahi TV, Fuji News Network, "Vice", Blue Ocean Marine Equipment, "The Guardian"