A mysterious metal sphere has washed up on a beach in Japan, leaving locals and Japanese authorities clueless as to its origin or purpose.
The orb, measuring roughly 5 feet in diameter, washed up on Enshu beach in the Pacific coastal city of Hamamatsu, prompting a flurry of theories about what it might be.
Japanese authorities quickly deployed bomb disposal squads to the shoreline yesterday amid initial fears it could be a sea mine, erecting a 600ft perimeter around the scene and preventing public access.
But an X-ray of the object revealed its rusted metal shell was merely a casing, its insides hollowed out.
There were also no indications it was a surveillance or espionage device deployed by nearby foes China and North Korea.
Japanese authorities quickly deployed bomb disposal squads to the shoreline yesterday amid initial fears it could be a sea mine
Panic over, more mundane theories began perpetuating, chief among which suggested the sphere was a simply mooring buoy - characterised by a raised handle that could be used to hook a rope - that had become detached and drifted away.
But this theory also has its problems - such large metallic buoys typically contain more components and materials inside the outer casing to aid buoyancy.
The shell appears to be coloured with a faint yellow hue, with patches of brown likely caused by rust.
Investigators at the scene took several photographs of the sphere and said they had sent the images to the coast guard and t...