Japanese Officials Investigate Mysterious Sphere That Washed Up on Beach

Officials blocked off a 200-meter radius to investigate the sphere, which closely resembles a metal buoy, but have not determined what it is.
Screengrab: Fuji News Network

A metal sphere of unknown origin has washed up on a beach in Japan, prompting officials to block off the area in order to investigate it. 

A local woman reported the sphere to the police on Tuesday, Asahi News reported. The ball washed up on Enshu Beach in Hamamatsu City, the outlet reported, and it is described as being an "iron ball" with a diameter of 1.5 meters. Officials quickly restricted access to an area encompassing a 200-meter radius while they investigated. 

Asahi News noted that the object is rusted—hence the assumption that it is made of iron—and has a handle-like protrusion that would allow it to be hooked to something else. Footage from Fuji News Network (FNN) showed officials dressed in protective gear surrounding the object with equipment. According to the outlet, an X-ray scan revealed that it was hollow. Officials determined that there was no risk of an explosion and lifted restrictions at 4 p.m., but have not yet determined what it is, FNN reported

The object closely resembles mooring buoys that are typically used as an alternative to anchors. These types of buoys usually have a metal shell. Still, commenters on social media speculated wildly about what the ball could be. It has been compared to spheres from various sci-fi films, such as War of the Worlds and Godzilla

Public interest in unidentified objects is at an all-time high after the U.S. shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon this month, and several other (at the time) unidentified objects. But not all these objects have extraterrestrial or even military ties—President Biden announced that the objects shot down were in fact most likely humdrum research balloons. China has also claimed that the alleged spy balloon was merely meant for civilian research. 

In all likelihood, the drama around the unidentified sphere in Japan will come to a similarly unspectacular conclusion.