Disposal of U.S. unexploded ordnance in Nishihara took eight hours of traffic control 

Disposal of U.S. unexploded ordnance in Nishihara took eight hours of traffic control 

The evacuation area (200 meters radius).

January 23, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 22, 2012, an eight-inch U.S. shell found during the construction of a cemetery in Uchima, Nishihara Town was disposed of. Evacuation of residents started at 9:15am and traffic controls began at 9:45am. Until the disposal finished and the traffic controls were ceased at 5:30pm, Route 329 and Route 34 were partially closed for eight hours, traffic circulation got worse with cars taking a detour.

A total of 68 families (162 people) and 20 companies within a 200-meter radius were evacuated. Shelters were set up at the Uchima Community Center, the Prefectural Uchima Housing Residential Association, and the Kakeboku Community Center and a task force was set up at Nishihara Higashi Elementary School. Unexploded ordnance may explode if it is moved so the shell was remotely ignited and destroyed at 2:25pm.

The areas from the Onaha intersection to the Uchima intersection on Route 329 and from the Uehara intersection of Route 34 to Route 329 were closed. The Toyo Bus Awase Higashi Line took a detour. The head of the operation, Mayor of Nishihara Akira Uema said, “I am glad to report that the disposal operation finished without any trouble thanks to help from the organizations concerned. But nevertheless, it’s sad that we still need to be dealing with the negative legacy of World War II. I am sorry that so many people were inconvenienced.”

A taxi company located on Route 329 at Kadekaru in Nishihara was affected by the traffic control and took longer to dispatch cars to customers. A male taxi driver in his 50s angrily stated, “The post-war issues like this still affect us. I want the Government to compensate us for loss of business.” Nae Oshiro, whose house was inside the evacuation area in Uchima said, “I didn’t expect to have such a rough time right before the Lunar New Year.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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