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Workers uncover cache of WW2 firearms, swords at Tokyo elementary school

Lance Cpl. Eric Basora, from San Antonio, Texas, holds an M69 training grenade Aug. 29 at Camp Hansen. The Marines held the grenades against their chest as one of many range safety measures. Basora is a military policeman with Company A, 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Devon Tindle/Released)

Thousands of Japanese firearms and swords believed to be from World War II have been discovered beneath an elementary school playground in western Tokyo.

About 1,400 firearms, 1,200 swords, eight training grenades and more than 300 bullets and cannonballs were uncovered over the course of several weeks by constructions workers digging to build a warehouse at Tanashi Elementary School, Nishitokyo city officials said. All were severely rusted and decayed and found between 1 and 2 meters below the surface.

It’s unclear when or why the items were buried there, but the city believes they belonged to the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

There’s no danger of an explosion, according to police and members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces who checked the items.

The training grenades and bullets were collected by police and Self-Defense Forces, while the firearms – believed to be replicas – and swords were to be disposed of by the city.

The city may also consider keeping them for historical reasons, but may not be able to do so because of their condition.


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