It looks like Japan is starting to take UFO encounters seriously. On Monday, Defense Minister Taro Kono unveiled new protocols on what to do if Japanese military forces encounter unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News.
Kono asked personnel in charge of protecting Japan's airspace to document any such phenomena and record it on camera if possible, with the aim to carry out “necessary analysis” of the sightings, including any information provided by the public.
The announcement this week follows other recent moves by the minister that suggest Japan is edging towards an official program to report UFOs. Kono met the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in April this year when the topic of UFOs – technically, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) – was brought up in conservation. It was noted that the US Air Force had shot footage of a UFO, referring to the videos that were released by the Pentagon this year. Although Japan’s Defense Ministry says there have been no known cases of its Self-Defense Forces encountering UFOs, “I would like to establish a procedure in case of an encounter,” Kono said.
“To be honest, I don't really believe in UFOs, but the Defense Ministry has produced such an image, so I would like to hear from the US side a little analysis of this intention and what you think,” Kono said at a media conference after the meeting.
“I have heard that even the pilot of the Self-Defense Forces has never encountered such a scene, but if there is such a thing, if you can take a picture, take a picture, if there is a report, report it. I would like the Air Self-Defense Force or each Self-Defense Force to consult about how to do it.”
Beyond this, however, details are currently thin on the ground.
This follows a push by the US Senate Committee overseeing the intelligence community to regulate and make publicly available any reports by the Pentagon's Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon tracking program to help clarify, categorize, and analyze data.
Over 50 years ago, the US considered Japan as a model for dealing with extraterrestrials, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. However, the Cold War-era saw the US become the main player when it comes to understanding unknown aerial threats. In July 2020, the New York Times revealed that the Pentagon still operates a covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, hidden away in the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Coincidentally, the wife of Japan's former leader once suggested she was abducted by aliens.
“While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus,” Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, claimed in 2009 in a book titled Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered, Reuters reports.
“It was a very beautiful place and it was really green.”
Well, Venus is unlikely to be green due to a surface temperature of 470°C (880°F) but after this week's discovery of the possibility of life on Venus, we imagine its popularity as a destination has just shot up.