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Japan defense chief instructs SDF what to do on UFO sightings

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Sept. 4, 2020. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono on Monday instructed the Self-Defense Forces what to do if they sight unidentified aerial objects that could potentially pose a threat to national security.

    Kono asked SDF members, who are in charge of protecting Japan's airspace, to record on camera any such phenomenon they may detect and to analyze it as much as possible.

    Kono has said in the past, "Frankly speaking, I don't believe in UFOs."

    His instruction, which also calls for analyses on receiving such information from the public, came after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Guam late last month, during which the issue was brought up as a potential new area of Japan-U.S. security cooperation.

    So far, there have been no known cases of SDF members encountering UFOs, according to the Defense Ministry.

    In early August, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. The creation of the unit came after the Pentagon authorized in April the release of three videos capturing "unidentified aerial phenomena" that had already been circulating among the public.

    Following the release of the clips, Kono suggested he would also come up with procedures for the SDF when detecting such aerial objects.

    The procedures were formulated also in consideration that the SDF may encounter unconventional aircraft on the back of advancing drone technology, according to the ministry.

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