Japan investigates unidentified aerial phenomena


Japan is launching an investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) to assess potential threats to its national security, particularly from China.

Japanese lawmakers have decided to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) in Japanese airspace. The aim of this initiative is to determine whether these objects represent a threat to national security, particularly if they come from countries such as China. Inspired by the efforts of the United States, Japan wishes to establish reporting and analysis protocols to better understand and counter these phenomena.

UAP survey: motivations and structure

Background to the survey

Faced with an increase in reports of unidentified flying objects in Japanese skies, legislators have decided to take steps to investigate these phenomena. These reports raise questions about national security, in particular whether these objects could be aircraft of foreign origin, such as those from China.

The decision to investigate UAPs follows the example of the United States, where the Ministry of Defence has recently stepped up its efforts to analyse these phenomena. The Japanese have become aware of the importance of this issue following several sightings of unidentified objects in Japanese airspace, some of which are suspected to be of Chinese origin.

Composition of the investigation group

The enquiry group is made up of around 80 Japanese legislators, including members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and three former defence ministers. Their objective is to determine the nature and origin of the observed UAPs, assessing whether they represent a threat to national security.

Despite the lack of direct support from government agencies such as the Ministry of Defence or Japan’s space agency JAXA, the group of lawmakers has the power to approve budgets to involve these agencies in the analysis of UAPs. This underlines Japan’s commitment to exploring all avenues to understand these phenomena.

Terminology and approach

The group decided to include the term “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP) in its name, adopting a more neutral and scientific terminology than the traditional term “UFO” (unidentified flying object), often associated with flying saucers and extraterrestrials. This approach reflects a desire to treat the question of UAPs with academic and military seriousness.


Potential threats and security concerns

Terrestrial or extraterrestrial origins?

One of the main concerns of the investigation group is to determine whether UAPs could be aircraft of foreign origin, in particular from China or Russia. These countries could be using drones or balloons to spy on Japan, taking advantage of the fact that these objects are often considered to be UFOs and are not taken seriously.

The UAPs observed have sometimes demonstrated flight capabilities that exceed current standards, such as speeds of up to 11,600 km/h and rapid altitude changes. If a foreign nation possessed such technology, it would have a significant strategic advantage over the US and Japanese air forces.

Spying and airspace violations

In 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Defence introduced a UAP reporting protocol for the Japanese Self-Defence Forces (JSDF). In February 2023, after a Chinese spy balloon flew over the US, Japan revealed that three UFO sightings between 2019 and 2021 were strongly suspected to be of Chinese origin. These incidents constitute a violation of Japanese airspace, in breach of international law.

In response, Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada authorised the JSDF to use weapons, including air-to-air missiles, to counter these violating aircraft. This shows the seriousness with which Japan treats these potential intrusions.

Consequences for national and international security

Implications for Japanese defence

Japan, as an archipelago of 14,125 islands, relies heavily on air and sea routes for international trade and food and energy supplies. This requires heightened vigilance and robust air and naval defence forces to protect these critical routes.

Japan is investing heavily in its defence, with the planned purchase of 147 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets and collaboration with the US on the development of the SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor. This defence build-up is essential to counter known threats, such as North Korean ballistic missiles and Chinese Chengdu J-20 fighter jets.

International reactions and collaboration

The Japanese investigation into UAPs could encourage other countries to step up their own efforts to analyse these phenomena. International collaboration, by sharing information and technologies, could improve the understanding and management of UAPs.

The United States, with its All Areas Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), is already conducting extensive investigations into UAPs. Cooperation with Japan could enhance both countries’ capabilities to identify and neutralise these potential threats.

Future prospects and recommendations

Strengthening reporting and analysis protocols

It is crucial that Japan strengthens its protocols for reporting and analysing UAPs to ensure a rapid and effective response to potential threats. The involvement of government agencies and the armed forces in this process is essential for a complete and accurate assessment.

Development of detection and neutralisation technologies

The development of advanced technologies for the detection and neutralisation of UAPs is a priority. This includes improved radar surveillance systems, counter-espionage drones and non-lethal weapons to neutralise UAPs without causing collateral damage.

Awareness-raising and international cooperation

Public awareness and international cooperation are also important. Governments must inform the public about the nature of UAPs and the measures taken to guarantee national security. Cooperation with other countries can enhance threat detection and response capabilities.

Japan’s investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena reflects a growing awareness of the potential threats posed by these objects. By strengthening reporting protocols, developing advanced technologies and cooperating with international partners, Japan can better protect its national security and respond to the challenges posed by UAPs.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.