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Originally published Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 3:55 PM

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Japanese tsunami debris reaches Alaska shores

Federal scientists say that a volleyball and soccer ball that washed ashore on an island may be the first pieces of debris to arrive in Alaska from the last year's tsunami in Japan.

The Associated Press

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska —

Federal scientists say that a volleyball and soccer ball that washed ashore on an island may be the first pieces of debris to arrive in Alaska from the last year's tsunami in Japan.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that (http://bit.ly/JdVDud) the sports balls were spotted by a radar technician on Middleton Island. His wife traced the writing on the balls to a Japanese school in an area hit by the tsunami.

Doug Helton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the balls are one of the first pieces of debris that can be traced back to Japan - and make it possible to return it to the owner.

Middleton Island lies almost due south of Cordova in the Gulf of Alaska, 70 miles from the mainland.

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