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Tsunami Soccer Ball Going Back To Japan

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, (UPI) — A soccer ball apparently swept across the Pacific Ocean after Japan’s earthquake-triggered tsunami will be sent back to its owner, its finder says.

The ball’s owner is Misaki Murakami, a 16-year-old whose home in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, was wiped out by the tsunami, Kyodo News reported Monday. Murakami was given the ball in March 2005 by elementary school students who had written messages of encouragement on it.

“We’re very happy that the owner of the ball is safe. We want to return the ball as soon as possible,” said the finder, David Baxter, 51, of Middleton Island, Alaska.

The Baxters said they hope to hand over the ball to Murakami when they travel to Japan next month, Kyodo said.

“I have no doubt that it is mine,” Murakami said of the ball given to him by his third-grade classmates at Osabe Elementary School before he transferred to another school. “To be honest, I’m surprised. I want to thank the person who found it, as none of my sentimental items have been found.”

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