Mysterious floating spheres are having quite a month.
Just weeks after the military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast, a cryptic metal ball has washed ashore at Enshu Beach in the city of Hamamatsu on Japan’s Pacific coast, a Tokyo correspondent from The Guardian reports.
The rusty, orange-tinted sphere — dubbed “Godzilla egg,” according to a BBC Tokyo correspondent — gained worldwide interest this week after a local resident spotted it and alerted police.
The elusive thingy is about 5 feet in diameter and has two raised handles, indicating that it can be hooked onto something else, the Guardian reported.
The call to authorities prompted police and even a bomb squad to investigate the object out of fear that it may be a stray mine, The Guardian said. Experts eventually deemed the object safe after X-rays found it was hollow. The Guardian also noted that there was no indication the object was part of any espionage operation from nearby North Korea or China.
The ball has been removed from the beach, according to the BBC.
Although the Dragon Ball Z-like figure is getting a ton of media attention, one local who regularly runs on Enshu Beach told public broadcaster NHK that it’s been sitting there for a while.
“It’s been there for a month,” he said. “I tried to push it, but it wouldn’t budge.”
Despite all this, police have not yet identified what the object is, which has some on social media questioning why authorities are staying quiet, the BBC reported. Based on a video posted of the sphere by NHK on Twitter, social media users believe it’s merely a ball buoy. Others have more whimsical ideas.
Hamamatsu’s civil engineering office said it “considers it to be a foreign-made buoy,” the BBC reported.
Mark Inall, an oceanographer at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, told the BBC that, although he knew “instantly” it was a buoy, he understood why people might confuse it for a World War II mine.
“But those would have spikes sticking out of them,” he said.
Inall told the BBC that these buoys often wash up in Scotland and that they can float in the sea for decades, which causes their markings to fade.