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Japan:Balls from disaster-hit area found in Alaska

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Laaska News  Apr.21, 2012
Two sports balls found washed up on an island off the US state of Alaska are believed to have been swept away by tsunami that hit northeastern Japan last year and drifted across the Pacific.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the balls were found on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska and that they are written with Japanese names.

A close look at a photo of one of the balls, a soccer ball, shows the names Yuki, Akinori and Shunsuke written in Chinese characters.

NOAA says it has traced the ball to a school in the tsunami zone. But because the school is situated on a hill, it did not suffer damage.
NOAA plans to return the balls to their owners once it confirms the school connection.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program has been monitoring floating debris from the tsunami over the past year.

In March, a fishing boat from Aomori Prefecture was found drifting off Alaska, and was sunk to keep it from posing a threat to other boats.

NOAA says this may be one of the first times since the March 2011 tsunami that objects washed away from Japan have been identified and may actually be returned to their owners.

Saturday, April 21, 2012