Pictured at left: On June 10, 2012, FedEx strapped in two very special guests on a flight from Anchorage, AK to Tokyo, Japan. This basketball and famous soccer ball were found on the remote beaches of Alaska after they'd made a 15-month journey from northern Japan. They arrived in Japan on June 11, exactly 15 months to the day that they were washed away in the devastating tsunami. These are the first tsunami-lost items traced to owners to be returned. Photo courtesy FedEx.
ANCHORAGE - After several items which were washed up on Alaska shores as a result of the March 2011 Japan tsunami were found by Alaska residents, those residents used clues to trace them to their original owners. On June 11, the possessions arrived back in Japan to be returned to their owners, courtesy of shipping company FedEx.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these are the first personal possessions lost in the tsunami to be returned from the United States.
Among the items returning to their owners are a soccer ball signed by its owners grade-school classmates when he moved to another city prior to the tsunami. Also, a volleyball, which a Japanese television station helped track to its owner via her first name written on it. A basketball belonging to Kesen Jr. High School in Rikuzentakata was returned to the school's current basketball team. And a yellow buoy which hung outside Miura Sakiko's restaurant in Minamisanriku-cho, destroyed by the tsunami, was reunited with its owner.
If you find debris you suspect has washed up from the Japan tsunami, you're asked to take a photo, note its location, and email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the earthquake and tsunami, FedEx pledged $1,000,000 in cash and supporting relief efforts in Japan, and has pledged $5,000 for sporting equipment for Japanese schoolchildren.