Residents from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Higashinada Ward in Kobe were evacuated to allow the safe removal of recently discovered World War II dud bombs. Bullet train schedules were also disrupted as Ground Self-Defense Forces conducted the detonation.
In Hamamatsu, an 860 kg shell, discovered at the rail depot a few weeks ago, was safely removed and transferred to a beach and detonated into a 4.5 meter hole. Sergeant First Class Makoto Ohashi and five members of his bom disposal unit executed the operation. The dud bomb is believed to have been fired by a US Navy shop towards the end of World War II. Meanwhile, more than 7,000 residents in Kobe were evacuated to allow the GSDF to remove a 250-kg shell that was unearthed just last month at a depth of 3 meters.
Even after 70 years have passed since the end of World War II, construction work in Japan has revealed unexploded bombs that were dropped by the Allies during the war. Since the government started keeping records in 1958, around 6,000 tons of duds have already been dealt with by the GSDF and just last fiscal year 2011, the have gotten rid of 38 tons. And as long as the Japanese economy continues to expand with new construction, more unexploded shells will be discovered. Masataka Takahashi, who leads Bomb Disposal Unit No. 102 that covers central and easter Japan, says that one of their missions is to ensure that no disposal specialists will be injured and so far, they have met that expectation.