CHATAN, Okinawa — It’s not just unexploded World War II bombs that worry Okinawans.

In the same week that a power shovel in Itoman struck and detonated a buried bomb dating from the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, a construction crew in Chatan uncovered about 200 rounds of ammunition on land that was once part of Camp Lester.

The ammunition was discovered about 8 a.m. Friday during a magnetic survey of the area, according to an official of Chatan Town’s Land Readjustment Division.

"The 9-centimeter-long bullets were found about 1 meter under the ground," said the official, Kazuyuki Serikyaku.

He said the bullets found Friday appeared to be linked in belts used for machine guns. The ammunition was found near the site where part of a machine gun and an unexploded shell were discovered last month, according to the Okinawa officials.

The former base property, about 95 acres, was returned in 2003 and is north of the remaining camp used by the U.S. Naval Hospital, Lester Middle School and family housing. The only completed project in the area so far has been the new Chatan Town Hall.

Return of Camp Lester is part of a 1996 bilateral agreement to hand back 21 percent of the land used by the U.S. military on Okinawa. U.S. bases now cover about a fifth of the island.

Unexploded ammunition is frequently uncovered on the island.

On Wednesday, a power-shovel operator was injured when he struck a buried bomb while installing a new water main near a senior citizens center in Itoman.

A spokesman for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force said Friday that a fuse found at the scene identified the ordnance as a U.S. bomb dropped on southern Okinawa during World War II.

The construction worker remained hospitalized in stable condition Friday, he said.

Also Friday, what appeared to be a shell from a 6-inch naval gun dating from the 1945 battle was found in the water near the Sunabe Sea Wall in Chatan, near the site where the ammunition was discovered.

Both areas are located where American troops landed at the outset of the 83-day battle.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this story.

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