Whale that died in Osaka Bay returned to the sea

Officials in Osaka City, western Japan, say a stray whale that died in Osaka Bay has been returned to the sea.

The carcass of the sperm whale was carried on a boat to waters off the Kii Channel, south of Osaka, on Thursday.

On the previous day, workers removed the gas that had built up in the rotting body. They tied a 30-ton weight to it before its burial at sea.

The male whale was first spotted in shallow waters near the mouth of the Yodo River on January 9, and was affectionately dubbed "Yodo-chan" on social media.

The marine mammal appeared to be in a weakened state. City officials confirmed its death four days later.

An examination showed the whale was 14.7 meters long and weighed 38 tons. Officials say there were no conspicuous injuries on its body.

Experts plan to carry out detailed studies on its age and mode of life by examining its teeth and the contents of its stomach.

Sperm whales usually live in the deep ocean, and it is rare for one to appear in places such as Osaka Bay.