Photo/IllutrationMetallic casing found on the shores of Yurihama, Tottori Prefecture, is believed to be part of a North Korean missile. (Provided by the Tottori prefectural government)

  • Photo/Illustraion

TOTTORI--What appears to be part of the casing of a ballistic missile launched by North Korea has washed ashore in Tottori Prefecture facing the Sea of Japan.

Authorities in the western prefecture said June 17 that an employee of an affiliated agency of the prefectural government came across the metallic part around 2 p.m. the previous day while walking along the shore of the Sono district of Yurihama. Measuring 1.8 meters long with a width of 1.2 meters, it closely resembles a photograph of a part that washed up in South Korea in February.

The Defense Ministry was set to dispatch weapons experts to Tottori to conduct a detailed analysis of the part, which bears numerals in blue but no hangul characters or letters.

Tottori prefectural police who checked the debris did not detect any radioactive materials or toxic chemicals. After it was determined that the part did not pose any danger, it was moved to Kurayoshi Police Station where it is being stored.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said he "cannot deny the possibility" that the debris came from a North Korean missile.

The Defense Ministry may take possession of the part if the inspection team deems it worthy of further study.