Wartime antiaircraft shell detonation halts shinkansen services

AFP-JIJI

An unexploded World War II antiaircraft shell that was discovered just meters from a busy railway halted high speed trains Tuesday in Tokyo before a Ground Self-Defense Force bomb disposal squad detonated the explosive.

An off-limits zone was set up around the dud, which apparently belonged to the wartime Imperial Japanese forces, after it was found in Kita Ward earlier this year.

The GSDF squad detonated the bomb around noon after piling sandbags on top of it.

Before and during the detonation process, some 150 train runs were halted or otherwise disrupted, including 53 shinkansen trains, affecting around 90,000 people, a spokesman for East Japan Railway Co. said ahead of the operation.

The 40 cm shell was discovered during excavation work.

Despite massive redevelopment in the nearly 70 years since the war, finds of unexploded ordinance are not uncommon in and around cities, which were heavily bombed by U.S. forces.