At around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, someone from the security center of the Nippon Steel Kyushu Works in Nishinosu, Oita city, called the police to report a missing employee. Officers subsequently searched the factory. A few hours later, bones that appeared to be human were discovered in a molten steel pot. According to the Oita police, it’s highly possible that the bones belong to the missing 30-year-old worker, who started his shift at 7 p.m. on Monday, overseeing the steelmaking process, which uses a converter to remove impurities from iron made in blast furnaces.  
The pot that the bones were found in measures about 5 meters in diameter with a depth of around 4 meters. It operates at a temperature of over 1,000 degrees Celsius and was reportedly located 5 meters below where the man had been working. Police believe he may have fallen. They are investigating his whereabouts and conducting DNA tests to identify the remains. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities in their investigation,” read a statement by Nippon Steel Kyushu Works. The steelmaking process at the factory has been suspended temporarily. 

About Nippon Steel   

Nippon Steel Corporation is the largest producer of crude steel in Japan and the third largest in the world. Last December, the company agreed to buy U.S. Steel for $14 billion, one of its biggest acquisitions ever. Earlier this year, however, President Joe Biden said he would block the deal, stating that “the backbone of America has a steel spine.” Nippon Steel’s Oita factory produces hot-rolled steel plates used in automobile parts. It also manufactures thick steel plates used in building materials for ships and bridges. Products are mainly exported to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and China.   

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