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One of the 12 World War II-era mines removed from Sasebo Naval Base's Maebata Ordnance Area in Japan.

One of the 12 World War II-era mines removed from Sasebo Naval Base's Maebata Ordnance Area in Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

One of the 12 World War II-era mines removed from Sasebo Naval Base's Maebata Ordnance Area in Japan.

One of the 12 World War II-era mines removed from Sasebo Naval Base's Maebata Ordnance Area in Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

Crane safety inspector Toshiyuki Eshita, left, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Lt. Cmdr. Shotaro Sanuki prepare for the removal of 70-year-old munitions last month from Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

Crane safety inspector Toshiyuki Eshita, left, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Lt. Cmdr. Shotaro Sanuki prepare for the removal of 70-year-old munitions last month from Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

The last of a dozen World War II-era sea mines found last year have been removed from a U.S. naval base in Japan.

A contractor doing repair work uncovered the Imperial Japanese Navy mines at a Sasebo Naval Base ordnance area, James Johnson, a Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East spokesman, said in an email.

The mines contained traces of TNT but were determined to be stable enough for removal in a two-month-long operation that wrapped up last week, he said.

Navy Munitions Command, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 and the Japan Self-Defense Forces were involved in the task.

The mines were later turned over to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force for disposal, Johnson said.

Leftover and unexploded ordnance is scattered throughout Asia and the Pacific, especially where battles occurred or at current and former ammunition depots.

Last May, a 5-inch unexploded shell fired from an American warship during World War II was found at a construction site near Camp Kinser, Okinawa. A road was closed and hundreds of residents and workers evacuated while it was removed.

In 2006, 350 people were evacuated after workers building a gym unearthed an unexploded ordnance cache at Sasebo.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com


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