On Monday, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono instructed Japanese military personnel on what to do if they spot unidentified aerial objects that could potentially pose a threat to national security.
According to Japanese news agencies, Kono instructed the Japanese Self Defence Forces to record and report any sightings of unknown objects in Japan’s airspace. The move comes just weeks after Kono spoke with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a conversation that apparently touched on UFOs.
Taking a lead from the United States, Kono also tasked the SDF to assess any data collected and investigate any credible sightings.
In April, the Japanese Ministry of Defence announced that it would begin drafting guidelines on tracking and investigating UFO sightings. Citing the United State’s release of three videos shot by Naval aviators of unknown objects in 2004 and 2015, Kono expressed that while he personally does not believe in the otherworldly nature of UFOs, he is interested in the findings the United States may come to regarding the subject. In early August, the Pentagon announced the formation of a UAP Task Force to investigate incursions of unknown objects in US airspace. Evidence exists that the United States Navy has been operating this task force out of the Office of Naval Intelligence since 2018 in response to the shuttering of the Pentagon’s UFO program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, in 2012.
UAP Researcher Giuliano Marinkovic, who hosts a podcast and blog on the UAP subject, first posted that he discovered a September 4th Japanese press release confirming that US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper spoke with Kono about the UAP issue at a meeting in Guam on August 29th. In a meeting with the press, Kono explained that he and Esper discussed the issue of UFOs in Guam and that while he could not go into details, the two nations would work closely together on the issue. A Pentagon press release confirms that Esper and Kono did meet in Guam on August 29th, and states that the two nations will continue efforts to ensure “interoperability” and to enhance capabilities for “integrated air and missile defense” as well as the integration of “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance functions.” The brief also mentions the strengthening of “secure networks and security to protect advanced defense technologies.”
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, there have been no cases of SDF pilots encountering unknown aerial objects. Motherboard reached out to the Japanese Ministry of Defence and The Pentagon last week but has not received comments at the time of publication.
In other news, using data that partially came from a Japanese-operated telescope, scientists announced Monday that they had found chemicals potentially pertaining to life on Venus.