A whale is spotted in Tokyo Bay near the Tokyo Wan Aqua-Line Expressway on Jan. 19. (Provided by Yokohama Coast Guard Office)

YOKOHAMA--The Yokohama Coast Guard Office on Jan. 19 witnessed the unusual sight of a whale spouting water and then submerging into Tokyo Bay near the Tokyo Wan Aqua-Line Expressway.

The office received a report at around 1:20 p.m. from crew members of a nearby vessel, then dispatched a patrol boat that spotted the marine mammal at around 2 p.m.

“It is rare to spot a whale in the area,” said a representative of the office.

According to the Coast Guard, the whale was at least seven meters long and swam on the south side of the expressway, about five kilometers off the coastline of Kawasaki.

The Coast Guard kept an eye on the whale until the evening, but it did not appear to return to the sea.

The office concluded the whale would not pose a danger to vessels operating in nearby waters and stopped watching the whale in the evening.

Miyuki Sumi, a breeder at Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, said the mammal appeared to be a young sperm whale, based on the shape of its head and back fin.

There have been only two or so sperm whale sightings in Tokyo Bay over the past 30 years, she said.

Neighboring Sagami Bay is part of a migration path for dolphins and whales.

Sumi said the whale might have strayed into Tokyo Bay temporarily, but there should be no problem if it makes it back out to sea by itself.

But if it does not leave, it could spell bad news.

A sperm whale affectionately nicknamed Yodo-chan that wandered into Osaka Bay and was spotted on Jan. 9 near the mouth of the Yodogawa river became progressively weaker until it died. The carcass was buried at sea on Jan. 19.