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April 30, 2017

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WWII bomb found near Japan runway halts flights

TOKYO -- A huge unexploded World War II bomb has been found buried near the runway of one of Japan's busiest regional airports, forcing all flights to be cancelled Tuesday, officials said.

A worker rebuilding drainage systems near Sendai Airport — which was swamped by last year's tsunami — uncovered the 500-pound (225-kilogram) bomb, believed to have been dropped by the U.S. during wartime, on Monday evening.

All 92 domestic and international flights scheduled for Tuesday were cancelled as bomb disposal experts from the Japanese military worked on making the device safe.

Local reports said the bomb was 110 centimeters (43 inches) long and 35 centimeters in diameter.

If the bomb explodes, fragments could be scattered more than a kilometer (more than 1,000 yards), NHK said, adding that local officials were considering an evacuation.

Nearly 70 years after the war ended, unexploded bombs and shells are still occasionally found in Japan, particularly on the southern island of Okinawa, the site of an extremely bloody battle towards the end of World War II.

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