ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two sports balls from Japan may be the first positively identified items from the Japan tsunami of March 2011 to reach Alaska shores.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a soccer ball and volleyball were found on the beach of Middleton Island by David Baxter, a technician at the radar site on the remote island in the Gulf of Alaska.

Baxter noticed Japanese writing stenciled on the balls. His wife translated the writing on the soccer ball and traced it to a school. NOAA confirmed that the school was in the tsunami zone, though not seriously damaged by the disaster.

NOAA thinks this could be one of the first times anything washed away during the tsunami has been sufficiently identified as to make it possible to return it to its owner.