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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007

UFOs 'definitely exist,' Machimura asserts


Staff writer

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Tuesday he believes in the existence of unidentified flying objects, contrary to the government's official response earlier in the day.

"Personally, I believe that (UFOs) definitely exist," Machimura stressed. "How else do you explain those various unexplainable things like Nazca," he said, referring to the series of mysterious giant drawings of animals and other figures on an arid plateau in southern Peru.

Earlier Tuesday, the government made an official statement that it "has not confirmed the existence of unidentified flying objects from outer space."

The statement was endorsed at a Cabinet meeting to answer questions submitted by Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Ryuji Yamane.

"I believe that it is an urgent task to collect information and confirm (the existence of UFOs) from the viewpoint of our nation's security and the public's interest and anxiety amid endless eyewitness reports," Yamane said in his question.

The government said it has not collected information, conducted any research or exchanged information with other countries regarding UFOs.

But if the Air Self-Defense Force should detect an unidentified object that could possibly invade Japan's skies, it will scramble a fighter for visual confirmation, the government said.

The government added that so far it has only discovered birds and other objects beside aircraft — and no UFOs.

The UFO statement, coming amid controversial issues like the pension debacle and the Defense Ministry's bribe scandals, apparently provided a brief moment of relief for the Cabinet.

When asked about his beliefs regarding UFOs, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda smiled and told reporters that he has not "identified (such objects) yet."



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