UFO research body to open in Iino on June 24

UFO Fureai-kan in the Iino district, Fukushima city, where the UFO Research Institute is scheduled to open on June 24, 2021.

A research body dedicated to the study of unknown flying objects, to be known as "the UFO Research Institute," will open on June 24 in the Iino district of Fukushima city to take an in-depth look into questions related to the phenomenon of UFOs. Housed by the "UFO Fureai-kan" (UFO friendship hall), the institute will collect, analyze and publish eyewitness reports about UFOs both in Japan and abroad. It will also organize an event that will attempt to attract a UFO to fly in the skies over Fukushima Prefecture. Supporters -- whether they reside at home or overseas -- will be allowed to become research members of the institute. People involved in the UFO initiative shed renewed light on the "UFO hometown," where an exceptionally high number of alleged UFO sightings have been reported over the past decades. In May, a former U.S. Defense Department official who led a government research program focused on UFOs expressed his personal belief that "there is very compelling evidence" of alien life existing. The Pentagon is scheduled to submit a report on UFOs to Congress by June 25. Such a move encouraged people in Fukushima to set up a domestic UFO research hub under the lead of a group devoting itself to revitalize Iino, which is headed by Hiroshi Saito, chief of the local chamber of commerce and industry. Takeharu Mikami, chief editor of mystery magazine Mu, will take up the post of the institute's first head on a part-time basis. Tsugio Kinoshita, an Iino resident and the first curator of the UFO Fureai-kan, will serve as research doctor while about 30 people from the local group will work as volunteers. A website will be launched in time for the opening of the institute on which UFO photos and videos as well as sighting locations and other UFO-related information gathered from around the world will be posted. The institute will analyze detailed elements of UFOs, including their shapes and movements, in collaboration with members and publish analyses. It will have a non-Japanese staffer to deal with information sent from overseas. In the Iino area, sightings of light-emitting UFOs around the cone-shaped, 462-meter-high Mt. Senganmori have caused a buzz among local people occasionally since the mid-1970s. The institute will plan opportunities for its members and other aficionados to attend a UFO-summoning event on the mountain. Senganmori's close resemblance to the shape of a typical pyramid is among the theories connecting the mountain to UFOs, according to the UFO Fureai-kan, which also says another theory has it that magnetism is occurring to the extent where the arrow of a compass is made unsteady. Participants in the planned gathering are to be given an opportunity to experience the "enigma of Senganmori" while searching for clues to understand the phenomenon. Each event organized by the institute will be carried out under the banner of "Projects to make Iino, the UFO hometown, a sacred place" and subsidized as part of the Fukushima prefectural government's regional revitalization support program. The UFO Fureai-kan was opened on a Senganmori mountainside in 1992 as a local revival campaign project. It is owned by Fukushima city and operated by Iino's public development corporation. Some 3,000 items donated by the late Kinichi Arai, Japan's UFO research pioneer, are on display at the facility, which is visited by about 30,000 people annually. June 24 is widely recognized as "UFO Day." A UFO was supposedly sighted in the United States for the first time on that day in 1947. (Translated by Kyodo News)