- Japan has created rules for military personnel that experience or investigate UFO sightings.
- The move comes just a month after the Pentagon officially set up a UFO task force.
- Tokyo urges anyone who sees UFOs to take photos or videos that could be later studied by experts.
Japan’s Defense Minister has unveiled guidelines for Japanese defense personnel that experience UFO sightings. The guidelines state that members of the Japan Self Defense Forces should record any UFOs they observe so the Defense Ministry can study the evidence. The new rules come just a month after the U.S. Department of Defense issued similar protocols.
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Japan's Defense Minister, Taro Kono, issued the instructions this week. According to NHK, the Self Defense Forces will make reports “...if anyone spots an unidentifiable object in the air that could affect the country's defense and security.” The guidelines also urge “all-out efforts to take photos or videos of the object to carry out necessary analysis.”
The Defense Ministry reportedly explained that the new guidelines were issued “due to an increase in the use of drones and other objects that fly differently from conventional airplanes.” That said, Japan announced these guidelines shortly after the U.S. Department of Defense established a task force to investigate UFO sightings, following confirmed UFO sightings by U.S. Navy pilots between 2004 and 2014.
The Pentagon's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF) will investigate the sightings of UAPs, also known as UFOs. It's the first official U.S. government program affiliated with UFO research since a 2000s-era unit that analyzed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other UAPs lost its funding in 2012, even though multiple sources confirmed with Popular Mechanics that the unit remained active in secrecy after its shuttering.
Japan, meanwhile, is constitutionally prohibited from possessing traditional military forces. Instead, Tokyo controls Air, Ground, and Maritime Self Defense Forces—armed forces incapable of offensive action and only trained to defend the country. Despite this, the Self Defense Forces, as they are collectively called, are some of the most technologically advanced in the world, fielding weapons such as the American F-15 Eagle fighter (below), the Aegis combat system for ballistic missile defense, and ground weapons like the new Type 10 main battle tank.
In 2018, the Japanese government issued a formal statement on UFOs, saying, “no confirmation has been made of their existence.” Tokyo also admitted to not spending much time thinking about UFOs: “The government has not considered in any specific manner what will be done should a UFO be spotted flying toward Japan.”
For his part, Defense Minister Kono has said he does not believe in UFOs. In 2007, Kono’s predecessor, Shigeru Ishiba, said, “There are no grounds to deny that there are unidentified flying objects and some life-forms that control them.”
But dealing with UFOs could be a different matter, Ishiba said, as Japan’s policy of strict self defense meant the military could not attack them unless attacked first. Ishiba was widely considered to have been joking about UFOs, but serious about the legalities of shooting them down.
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