ANCHORAGE, Alaska--U.S. scientists say that a volleyball and soccer ball that washed ashore on an island may be the first pieces of debris to arrive in Alaska from last year's tsunami in Japan.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on its website on April 19 that a local male engineer discovered the balls on the shores of Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska.
His wife traced the name of a school written in Japanese on the soccer ball to the disaster-stricken region in northeastern Japan hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake last year.
The picture released by the NOAA showed the soccer ball with the names of three boys in Japanese writing, which are most likely to be Yuki, Akinori and Shunsuke.
The NOAA said it is searching for the owners of the balls to return them by working with the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle and others.
(This article was compiled by Asahi Shimbun correspondent Erika Toh and the Associated Press.)
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