YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Base officials evacuated buildings and closed roads near the fitness center Tuesday afternoon after a suspected World War II-era bomb was discovered at a nearby construction site.
The “suspicious object” was unearthed around 1 p.m., according to a 374th Airlift Wing news release.
“We ask that base residents remain calm and stay clear of the area as we determine the nature of this object,” Col. Bill Knight, wing vice commander, said in the release.
The base shopping mall was locked down for about an hour – no one was allowed in or out – after the discovery was made. The fitness center and a nearby Chilli’s restaurant were evacuated and road blocks were set up in that general vicinity. A message scrolling across the bottom of the American Forces Network channel said that school buses were unable to pick up students on the west side of the base, and parents were being asked to pick up their children at the school.
Explosive ordnance disposal experts from nearby Yokosuka Naval Base are supporting Yokota emergency personnel to determine if the item is in fact unexploded ordnance, the release stated.
Earlier this week, officials in Germany removed a 4,000-pound bomb – believed to have been dropped by the British – in the German city of Koblenz. Nearly 45,000 residents were evacuated from the city as the bomb was removed on Sunday.