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Tourist's ‘seashell’ discovery actually corroded hand grenade-like object

Date Posted: 2009-03-26

A university student sightseeing on the ocean shore near Yomitan picked up a seashell as a souvenir, only to discover it was probably an old hand grenade.

The 20-year-old Yokohama man, not realizing it was ordnance, took it in his baggage on a Japan Transocean Air Flight from Naha City to Ishigaki Island Saturday, and then carried it with him aboard a ship from Ishigaki to Taketomi Island. “I thought it was a seashell,” the young student told authorities, adding that when “I found out it might be a grenade I thought I shouldn’t leave it there.” He said, though, that he “didn’t think it might explode.

Japan Transocean Air says it will investigate, then conduct a review of its safety check system. The student, who said the object was corroded and covered with seaweed, described the device as about 10 centimeters long and six centimeters in diameter.

Once authorities determined the object could be an old piece of ordnance, it was placed in a field near the guesthouse on Taketomi Island. Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel from the Ground Self Defense Forces are responsible for removing the object.

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