A 16-year-old Japanese boy will soon be reunited with his cherished soccer ball, which has been found on an island in Alaska after being washed across the Pacific by last year’s devastating tsunami.

Misaki Murakami lost his home and all its contents when massive waves crushed his hometown of Rikuzentakata in Japan’s northeast.

After a journey lasting more than a year, the ball turned up on a beach on Middleton Island, where it was spotted by beachcomber David Baxter. The ball was identified through good luck signatures from Misaki’s schoolmates.

Baxter’s Japanese wife, Miyumi, has spoken to Misaki by telephone and the couple plans to send the ball to the boy soon.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the ball is one of the first pieces of debris that can be traced back to Japan since the March 11, 2011, tsunami.

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