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Flights Canceled at Japan Airport as Unexploded Bomb Found

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Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Japan shut down Sendai airport in the northeast after construction workers found an undetonated bomb believed to be from World War II near a runway.

A total of 92 domestic and international flights were canceled after the 250-kilogram (550-pound) explosive was found around 10:15 p.m. yesterday by workers at the southern end of one of two runways, according to a statement from the Sendai airport. A transport ministry official said the airport will open one runway tomorrow.

“We will decide in a meeting tomorrow when we will dispose of the bomb,” Yoshiyuki Sato, an official in charge of airport safety at the transport ministry, said by phone today.

Sendai airport is undergoing repairs after it was flooded in the March 11, 2011, record earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s Ministry of Defense handled 1,578 incidents involving bombs in the fiscal year ended March 2012, amounting to 38.2 tons of explosives, according to the government.

“Most of the unexploded bombs found were from the U.S. air raids or left by the Japanese military during World War II,” said Tomohiro Nozawa, a spokesman from the Ground Self-Defense Forces. The ministry has special teams throughout the country to dispose of the explosives, he said.

Japan Airlines Co., All Nippon Airways Co., Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co., Asiana Airlines Inc. and Japan’s Airdo serve Sendai airport.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kiyotaka Matsuda in Tokyo at kmatsuda@bloomberg.net; Marco Lui in Tokyo at mlui11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Teo Chian Wei at cwteo@bloomberg.net

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