A new Japanese parliamentary group, featuring a number of senior politicians including a potential future prime minister, has been formed to probe UFO sightings with the aim of moving research into the mysterious phenomenon more towards the mainstream.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Clarification League for Security-Oriented National Security will be officially founded at a meeting in the Diet on June 6. The group will be chaired by Yasukazu Hamada, head of parliamentary affairs for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, while Shinjiro Koizumi, a former environment minister who has been tipped to be a future prime minister, will serve as the secretary general.

Former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba will be an adviser to the panel, which will also include Kei Endo, chair of the Japan Restoration Party in the House of Representatives, and Diet member Yoshiharu Asakawa.

 At a press conference to announce the creation of the group, both Endo and Asakawa claimed to have seen UFOs – or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – themselves.

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