Japan defense chief mulling action in event of UFO attack


Fri, Dec 21, 2007 - Page 1

As Japan takes a more active role in military affairs, the defense minister has more on his mind than just threats here on Earth.

Shigeru Ishiba became the second member of the Cabinet to profess a belief in UFOs and said he was looking at how Japan's military could respond to aliens under the pacifist Constitution.

"There are no grounds for us to deny that there are unidentified flying objects [UFOs] and some life-form that controls them," Ishiba told reporters, saying it was his personal view and not that of the defense ministry.

Ishiba, nicknamed a "security geek" for his wonkish knowledge of defense affairs, noted that Japan deployed its military against Godzilla in the classic monster movie.

"Few discussions have been made on what the legal grounds were for that," the minister said with a slight grin, drawing laughter from reporters.

Ishiba said he was examining different scenarios for an alien invasion.

"If they descended, saying `People of the Earth, let's make friends,' it would not be considered an urgent, unjust attack on our country," Ishiba said.

"And there is another issue of how can we convey our intentions if we don't understand what they are saying," he said.

"We should consider various possibilities," he said. "There is no need at all to do this as the defense ministry, but I want to consider what to do by myself."

Ishiba's remarks came after the Tokyo government this week said it had no knowledge of UFOs, prompting a surprise rebuttal from the top government spokesman.

"Personally, I absolutely believe they exist," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said on Tuesday.