Keep calm, the metal sphere found in Japan means no danger

The widely reported strange metal sphere that washed up on a Japanese beach a few days ago has now been removed by machines.
Christopher McFadden
The sphere has now been removed by authorities.


According to local media reports, reports the BBC, the strange metal sphere that washed up on a Japanese beach a few days ago has now been removed by authorities. Reportedly, heavy machinery was used to remove the strange object.

Local officials in Hamamatsu said it would be stored "for a certain period" and then "disposed of."

Yet, authorities still haven't stated what the object was. This will almost certainly add to the wild rumors that have been going around this week.

From sea mines to a "dragon ball," many suggestions were made.

"I think everyone in Hamamatsu City was worried and curious about what it was about, but I'm relieved that the work is over," a local official told Japanese media.

Many people on social media have also questioned why Japanese officials have not explained it. Others have expressed their embarrassment at the entire episode.

For example, "I can't believe officials from a country surrounded by ocean don't recognize a ball buoy," read one tweet.

This is an opinion supported by Hamamatsu's local civil engineering office, which said it "considers it a foreign-made buoy."

Prof. Mark Inall, an oceanographer at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, said he knew "instantly" what it was. "It's very distinct," he told the BBC. "We use (them) to keep floating instruments in the ocean," he added.

He added that they frequently wash up on the Scottish coast.

Professor Inall was surprised that the metal sphere hadn't been found sooner, but he said that most people wouldn't have known.

"It could be confused for a World War II mine, but those would have spikes sticking out of them," he said. He said the objects could float in the ocean for decades, losing their markings and rusting when they wash ashore.

The Japanese government's reaction to the metal sphere was as perplexing as the object. However, recent missile tests in North Korea can help explain their attitude somewhat.

Officials from Japan and China met in Tokyo on Wednesday for the first time in four years to discuss security issues. Japan was worried about the surveillance balloons.

Last week, the Chinese government said it was "strongly suspected" that at least three unidentified flying objects seen over its territory between 2019 and 2021 were made in China.

Beijing denied espionage claims and told Tokyo not to follow Washington's lead and make Chinese threats sound worse.

Given how tense geopolitical events and perceived threats from Japan's neighbors are, it makes sense that there is much talk about Japan's future.

"Given the recent events ... I could understand there's an interest in an unidentified floating object," Professor Inall said.

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