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Unexploded WWII munitions found at two Okinawa sites

Date Posted: 2010-09-16

More than 11,000 pieces of unexploded ammunition dating to the spring 1945 Battle of Okinawa have been uncovered at two sites on the Okinawa, including 9,000+ beneath the ground at a former U.S. military golf course.

Japan Self Defense Forces have taken charge of the site, the former Awase Meadows Golf Course in Kitanakagusuku. Local residents have told authorities of an article published in 1947 that said the U.S. military intentionally buried munitions beneath the site that became the golf course. Self Defense Forces responsible for explosive ordnance disposal say there were 2,478 pieces of small firearms munitions uncovered at 17 locations, some buried 50cm ~100cm.

JSDF technicians also found former Japanese military water mines, too. They’re working on a plan for disposal at the former golf course, which was returned to Japan several months ago.

Ripples of fear have gone through Itoman City residents worried that the latest discovery of 2,113 small arms and mortar shells have them in danger. Itoman City Office officials say a farmer came to them and said “It looks like some unexploded shells are under my farmyard, and we want the Prefecture to investigate.”

The Prefecture did, confirmed unexploded shells, and contracted a vendor to scope out the extent of the find. The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force has collected all unexploded ordnance found. The location was only a kilometer away from an earlier discovery, leading citizens to worry there may be more shells rusting and capable of killing or maiming someone.

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