GSDF EOD expert examines piles of Imperial Army hand grenades found in Kitakyushu on June 14th

GSDF EOD expert examines piles of Imperial Army hand grenades found in Kitakyushu on June 14th (Source: Kyushuhatsu)


Asahi reported on Wednesday on a side-effect of Japan’s militarist legacy: thousands of buried unexploded ordinance. At one site in Kitakyushu, over 830 Imperial Army hand grenades have been discovered. Mainichi followed up on those initial reports on Thursday morning, as translated below:

Hand Grenades: 299 more found in water pipe construction site in Kitakyushu

In addition to the large quantity of hand grenades from the Japanese Imperial Army were found in a water pipe construction site in Asano 2, Kokurakita Ward, Kitakyushu city, on June 15th, a further 299 grenades were found and recovered a Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit from GSDF Camp Metabaru. They are all the same shape (around 7 cm tall, 4 cm in diameter) with no fuses; there are no concern of a possible explosion. On the 14th, 832 grenades were dug out of the ground, and there are 1131 in total now.

SDF members recover and box Imperial Army hand grenades in Kitakyushu

SDF members recover and box Imperial Army hand grenades in Kitakyushu (Source: Masanao Fujiwaki, Asahi)


According to Fukuoka Prefectural Police’s Kokurakita Station, at around 9 a.m. on the 15th, laborers were busy excavating with heavy machinery when they came across a large amount of grenades. On the 16th, the local government plans to use metal detectors to scan the ground around the site to confirm if any more are present.

According to the City Port and Harbor Authority, around the closing years of the Taisho period and beginning of the Showa period, an industrialist named Souichiro Asano reclaimed some of the land in the area. The Authority also said that building materials from a pre-war housing district are also present.

During the war, 1 km south-west of the current site, the Army had an ordnance production factory (Kokura Army Armory Workshop). Toshinobu Hibino, the Modern Era Curator of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History added, “It is likely the hand grenades were made at the armory and disposed of immediately after the war, but it is unclear why they would be left at the site.” [By Katsuya Takahashi]

 

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch