Has the mystery of Japan’s bizarre giant sphere been SOLVED? Device that caused panic and forced beach to be evacuated after washing up could be common marine equipment
- The orb washed up on Enshu beach in the coastal city of Hamamatsu in Japan
- MailOnline have identified a similar buoy made by a Chinese manufacturer
The mysterious metal sphere that washed up on a beach in Japan causing fear among locals may just be a piece of common marine equipment after all.
The orb, roughly 5ft (1.5m) in diameter, washed up on Enshu beach in the Pacific coastal city of Hamamatsu this week, forcing beachgoers to evacuate and leaving authorities clueless about what it was for and where it was from.
But the ball bears a striking resemblance to a steel buoy made by Chinese shipbuilding company Nantong Yangfan, made in similar sizes and used to guide mariners or mark positions in the ocean.
The company is based in China’s coastal Jiangsu province in eastern China, supporting arguments the buoy simply broke away and floated east towards Japan.
Nantong Yangfan are a marine equipment company based in the east coast region of Jiangsu
The balls, called ‘steel floats’, are used to mark out certain points in the ocean for mariners
A mysterious metal sphere washed up on a beach in Japan, leaving locals and Japanese authorities clueless as to its origin or purpose
Japanese authorities quickly deployed bomb disposal squads to the shoreline amid initial fears it could be a sea mine
On Tuesday, Japanese authorities deployed bomb disposal squads to the shoreline amid initial fears it could be a sea mine.
They built a 600ft perimeter around the scene and prevented public access.
But an X-ray of the object revealed its rusted metal shell was merely a casing, its insides hollowed out.
There were no indications it was a surveillance or espionage device deployed by nearby foes China and North Korea.
After the initial panic ended, some theorised that the sphere was a mooring buoy, given the raised handle that could be used to hook a rope, that had become detached and floated away.
These metallic buoys usually contain more components inside the outer casing to aid buoyancy, and not everything supported the theory.
The shell appears to be coloured with a faint yellow hue, with patches of brown likely caused by rust.
Investigators at the scene took several photographs of the sphere and said they had sent the images to the coast guard and the armed forces for further inspection and examination.
Locals interviewed by Japanese broadcaster NHK said they’d also inspected the object and then had no idea what it was.
‘I tried to push it, but it wouldn’t budge,’ one man told NHK.
Despite investigators’ insistence the orb was not of Chinese origin, there were still concerns about the provenance of the object amid recent tensions between Tokyo and Beijing.
Following the downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon by the United States, Japanese authorities last week said it planned to clarify military engagement rules to allow its jet fighters to shoot down unmanned aircraft that violate its airspace.
The shell appears to be coloured with a faint yellow hue, with patches of brown likely caused by rust. Japanese authorities are still yet to determine what the object is
The orb, measuring roughly 5 feet in diameter, washed up on Enshu beach in the Pacific coastal city of Hamamatsu
The suspected Chinese spy balloon drifts to the ocean after being shot down off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, U.S. February 4, 2023
Yesterday, at the Asian powers’ first formal security talks in four years, Tokyo took aim at Beijing’s military ties to Russia and its suspected use of spy balloons in Japanese skies.
The talks, aimed at easing tensions between the world’s second- and third-largest economies, came as Tokyo worries that Beijing will resort to force to take control of Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, sparking a conflict that could embroil Japan and disrupt global trade.
Japan in December said it would double defence spending over the next five years to 2 per cent of gross domestic product – a total of $320 billion – to deter China from resorting to military action.
Beijing, which increased defence spending by 7.1 per cent last year, spends more than four times as much as Japan on its forces.
‘While relations between Japan and China have a lot of possibilities, we are also facing many issues and concerns,’ Japanese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shigeo Yamada told his Chinese counterpart.
He pointed to their territorial dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, Beijing’s recent joint military drills with Moscow and the suspected Chinese surveillance balloons spotted over Japan at least three times since 2019.
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