The National Institute of Polar Research on Thursday celebrated the return to Japan of canned Coca-Cola and chewing gum found in Antarctica after more than half a century on the continent.
Researchers held a ceremony for the return of the items, discovered by the wintering party of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition last September, at the institute’s Tachikawa campus in Tokyo.
The team discovered Coca-Cola, whose first canned version in Japan went on sale in 1965, and Lotte Co.’s Cool Mint gum, released in 1960, near Showa Station, the country’s Antarctic research base.
Both items, believed to have been brought to the southernmost continent by researchers over 50 years ago, were sent back to Japan in February this year.
The recovered can requires a can opener to drink from it, Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. said, adding that no such can that old is kept at the company.
After showing the recovered can to employees, the Japanese arm of U.S. beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. is considering displaying it at the World of Coca-Cola museum in the state of Georgia.
The wrappers of the discovered Cool Mint gum depict penguins in Antarctica. According to Lotte, the confectionery maker has been using penguins in the wrapper designs since it donated chewing gum supplemented with vitamins and minerals to the Antarctic expedition in 1956.
At the ceremony, Yuichi Aoyama, head of the wintering party that made the discovery, handed the can and the chewing gum to representatives of the respective makers.
“It’s astonishing that they were discovered in good condition,” Aoyama, 50, said after the ceremony. “The party members were excited as well.”
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