Japanese teen's soccer ball lost in tsunami, discovered on Alaska | inside World Soccer

A teenager who lost his home in Japan's devastating tsunami last year is getting one of his long-lost possessions back after his soccer ball found washed up on the shores of Alaska.

Misaki Murakami's ball that swept away by last year's tsunami found more than 3,000 miles away
Misaki Murakami's ball that swept away by last year's tsunami found more than 3,000 miles away

Photo: AFP

Sixteen-year-old Misaki Murakami's name was written on the ball that was swept out to sea when the massive waves of last March crushed his hometown of Rikuzentakata in Japan's northeast.

And an engineer named David Baxter found the ball while beachcombing in March on Middleton Island, 110 kilometers south of the Alaskan mainland.

Upon recognising the messages on the ball as being written in Japanese, he took it home to show his Japanese-speaking wife, who contacted Murakami by phone through a Japanese newspaper.

They have since been in touch with Murakami and are now making arrangements to send the ball back to Japan.

Although a soccer ball isn't much, the teenager is glad to have recovered one sentimental keepsake from his past.

The ball was given to him in 2005, when Murakami was in third grade, as a parting gift when he transferred to another school.

"It was a big surprise. I've never imagined that my ball has reached Alaska," Murakami told Japanese broadcaster NHK.

"I've lost everything in the tsunami. So I'm delighted. I really want to say thank you for finding the ball."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the ball is one of the first pieces of debris from last year's tsunami to wash up on the other side of the Pacific.

After last year's disaster, many fishing boats and a great deal of debris were swept into the Pacific Ocean, with many items drifting ashore on the US West Coast.

Last month, a US Coast Guard scuttled a 65-metre fishing boat that had slipped its moorings in the tsunami and was spotted floating off the North American coast.

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