On the morning of March 16, workers at a the construction site for a new condo complex in Osaka were surprised when they hit something hard after excavating about two meters (6.6 feet) deep. They were even more surprised to find that what they found was an unexploded piece of ordnance left over from World War II.
The bomb was found very close to one of Osaka’s more densely populated areas and could cause major disruptions in the city as the Self Defense Force (SDF) considers declaring an evacuation zone during the removal operation.
After finding the explosive device measuring 180 centimeters (5.9 feet) in length and 60 centimeters (2 feet) in diameter, the construction workers notified the Osaka Prefectural Police who in turn called in the ground division of the SDF.
▼ The site of the bomb (Google Street View is a bit outdated, as this is a construction site now)
The SDF went on to confirm it was an American-made bomb with the explosive power of a ton of TNT. During World War II, 843 of these bombs were dropped onto Osaka, the last of which fell a day before the end of the war on August 14, 1945. Osaka was considered a high-priority target due to its contribution to arms manufacturing at the time.
▼ The location of the bomb indicated by a marker, with Osaka’s Namba Station highlighted in orange.
すずめ@編む機械。 (@suzume225) March 16, 2015
In 2013, a similar bomb was found in Osaka in the less densely populated area of Nagarahigashi in Kita Ward. At that time the SDF established a 300-meter (980-foot) perimeter into which no one could enter while they defused and disposed of the bomb. As a result about 290 people were evacuated to shelters provided by the municipal government.
If the same 300-meter perimeter is set up around this bomb it would include part of the area around Namba Station, which is only 280 meters (918 feet) away and holds numerous offices, retail businesses, and eateries. The SDF are currently considering how to proceed in this case.
▼ This tweet shows the areas that would be affected by a 300-meter perimeter.
Reffi (@tomo1109_Reffi) March 16, 2015
There is concern that this bomb could interfere with the upcoming Nipponbashi Street Festa 2015 on March 21. This is a yearly festival celebrating Nipponbashi’s Denden Town district’s distinct businesses such as computer part stores, maid cafes, and anime figurine retailers. The festival is also well-known for its cosplayers.
If a 300-meter perimeter is set up it would close off all of Denden Town to the public. There has been no word yet as to when and how the SDF will proceed to deal with this bomb. It would seem logical that they would act sooner than March 21, but they may want to wait until the weekend to minimize the effect on regular business in the area as well.
We will keep you posted as updates come in.