A squad of Japan's Self-Defense Forces managed on Wednesday to deactivate and successfully remove an unexploded World War II bomb recently found at the airport in the northwestern city of Sendai.

The operation, which required the cancellation of about 30 flights, began at 9 a.m. and lasted about 2 1/2 hours, public NHK television reported.

It took about an hour for the soldiers to remove the detonator and the fuse, thus preventing the bomb from exploding, and after that they proceeded to transport it away from the airport.

The bomb will be temporarily stored on an SDF base and then a private company will be tasked with disposing of it properly, airport officials said.

It is believed that the bomb, weighing 250 kilos (550 pounds), was dropped by U.S. Army bombers during a mission over Japan in World War II.

The bomb was found on Oct. 29 a little more than a kilometer (0.62 miles) from one of the runways as work was under way to repair the damage suffered there during the March 11, 2011, tsunami.

The airport cancelled all its flights on Oct. 30 and resumed activity the following day once a sandbag wall some 6 meters (19.5 feet) high had been set up around the bomb. EFE