Nov 23, 2022 I Brent Swancer

Strange UFO Encounters at Air Bases in Japan

UFOs seem to show up in all areas of the world, and one intriguing area where they seem to constantly orbit is military air bases. It is not really known why this should be, but air bases all over the world have reported all manner of strange things in the sky. Here we will look at a selection of such cases that went on over the country of Japan. 

One early series of reports come from the year 1947, where two air bases in Japan had several incidents, beginning with one on July 1, 1947, at Chitose AAB, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. On this day, radar operators picked up what was indicated as two very fast moving objects that were similar in size to a fighter plane. The objects at one point seemed to merge into one, after which they broke apart into separate objects once again. It was also noted that the speed was beyond what one would expect from a conventional aircraft. A report from James F. Olive, Colonel, G.S.C. and Chief, Air Intelligence Division would say of the objects and their movements in a memorandum:

A target was picked up 16 miles north of the base on a course of 180 degrees.  (Point A’). The GCA unit immediately called the tower and asked if any aircraft were operating north of the field. At this instant of this radio transmission, the target reversed course to 360 degrees and was tracked out to a range of 28 miles (Point 3′). The target then changed course to 240 degrees and was tracked out 6 miles. (Point C’) where it again reversed course to 060 degrees and returned to the original point 28 miles north of the base (Point 3′). The target then changed course to 360 degrees and faded out of range.

The speed indicated in the report seems unreasonable for piloted aircraft since it was well into the supersonic range. The target, if an aircraft, would require an extremely large fuel supply for this speed. If rocket propelled, it is hard to visualize its operation for a long enough period of time to enable it to return to its base. The cable report of this last sighting indicated that further details, including weather, would follow. Upon receipt of this information a better evaluation may be possible. Present information does not permit a definite evaluation that the objects reported were either aircraft or airborne missiles but does support the conclusion that they were not natural phenomena.

That same year there was a series of similar incidents, this time at the Air Base and MEW Radar Station, in Fukuoka, Japan. The first was on August 28, 1947, when radar picked up a high-speed unidentified target that made several sharp turns and aerial maneuvers before suddenly climbing at a rapid pace and disappearing. The following month, on September 16 another such object was picked up speeding in on an incoming course, after which it did a sharp turn and “faded out.” It was suggested at the time that this all may have just been misidentified weather phenomena, but General Olive would remark in his memorandum:

Preliminary conclusions based on the above information indicates that great stress was given by the reporting agency to the high degree of proficiency of the radar operators and controllers in each case. An operator of even moderate proficiency would have no trouble in differentiating between a target and weather phenomena. Frontal activity as seen on a radar screen would show depth while the reflection from a meteor exists for such a short period of time that it would probably not be distinguishable from static interference. Therefore, it appears that the incidents are not due to natural phenomena.

What was going on here? Were these misidentified conventional aircraft, weather phenomena, or something else? On August 5, 1952, there was a strange incident at the Haneda US Air Force Base, near Tokyo. At just before midnight on this evening, two Air Force control tower operators at the base noticed a very brilliant bright light in the sky that approached the base slowly and hovered, plainly visible from the control tower. It was noted that behind the almost blinding brilliance of the light there could be seen “a dark circular shape four times the light’s diameter.” This object then performed several curves and aerial maneuvers, all while being tracked by ground radar. It was strange enough that an F-94 interceptor was scrambled, piloted by a 1st Lieutenant W.R. Holder. The fighter chased the UFO while ground radar kept tracking it, and the object went into a series of circular maneuvers, at one point putting on a burst of speed clocked at 300 knots (about 345 mph), before dividing into three separate objects and speeding off. The incident was witnessed by numerous base personnel, as well as local residents, but Project Blue Book and an investigation into the UFO phenomena called the Condon Report came to the conclusion that it was merely a star and an anomalous radar propagation. Ufologists have long disagreed with this official explanation, and ufologist Patrick Gross has said of it:

Project Blue Book, the official public UFO study by the US Air Force concluded that the UFO belongs to the category “unknown,” the euphemism that meant that it could not be anything common. The UFO maneuvers were so clearly under intelligent control that Major Dewey Fournet, the representative of Project Blue Book at the Pentagon, elected it one of the example that would prove that UFOs are spaceships from some other planet. Subsequently the study of UFO maneuvers to prove they are spaceships was simply dropped. Later, the Colorado Project, a skeptical UFO study effort conducted for the USAF that did not want to deal with the UFO problem anymore, minimized the details of the sighting. The visual UFO was reduced to “a light that looked like a star” and the radar track which was obviously the track of an intelligent controlled craft was reduced to “false radar echoes caused by a temperature inversion layer." Professor James McDonald, a world famous specialist of meteorology and atmospheric physics, who disagreed with the handling of UFO cases by the Condon Report, re-evaluated and re-investigated the case and demonstrated how erroneous the Condon Report conclusion on this case – and on many other cases – was.

Another case comes to us from Naha Air Base at Naha, on the Japanese island of Okinawa. On June 26, 1963, two base personnel were on watch duty and were looking up at the stars when their typical boring night got interesting when they sighted something very strange in the sky. One of the witnesses would say of it:

It looked like nothing we had ever seen before. I positioned my binoculars for a better look. We did not use the term “UFO” at that point, but we knew the craft we saw did not match anything in the Air Force’s aircraft inventory. We saw a large, slow-moving disk traveling in a steady northerly direction–right smack over our base. We did not see the usual flashing navigation lights or red and green wing-tip lights. All pilots who fly at night must have their aircraft’s navigation lights turned on. It was not just an unusual cloud formation, flares or a weather balloon. In the Air Force, working as communications specialists at control towers and around busy flight lines, Frank and I became knowledgeable about most types of aircraft in the military inventory. It traveled at an estimated speed of one hundred knots. The craft held a steady altitude of three or four thousand feet. It had a diameter of about seventy-five feet. We saw no antennae, dome, windows or markings. It was silent and produced no engine noise. Having a disk shape, it looked as flat as a quarter. The craft’s outer surface appeared smooth, constructed of a dull, yet reflective metallic material. Its outer edges appeared razor thin.

The two witnesses were unsettled by the object, and feared that it might turn in their direction, yet despite how scared they were they had the strange compulsion to keep on watching it. The object ended up veering away from them, much to their relief, and they then climbed up the building’s fire ladder to gain access to the roof to get a better view of it. The witness explains of what happened next:

I had an eerie feeling that we were about to place ourselves in a vulnerable position on the roof. However, seeing it continued to move farther away from us, our first fear that alien creatures might spot us subsided. Raising my binoculars again, I noticed that it had reflected a noticeable degree of light coming from Naha City, found a few miles to the north of our base. We watched it until it faded away out of sight. The entire sighting lasted for about two and one-half minutes. “We’ve got to tell someone,” Frank said. After scrambling down the fire ladder, we sprinted to a staircase leading to the first floor. We reached the C.Q. or Charge of Quarters room to use the barracks phone. We had to tell someone in authority. By then, Frank had begun to hyperventilate. I told him to sit down in a chair and stay calm while I called the base control tower operator.

The minutes seemed like hours. We were dripping wet since the temperature inside barracks was at least ninety degrees and the humidity at ninety-eight percent. My imagination went into overdrive as I waited for Bernard to come back on the line. I thought that at any moment we would hear the roar of afterburners from our F-102 jet fighters as they went scrambling into the sky in pursuit of whatever it was that we reported. Perhaps the Base Commander would come on the line to ask us for more details about the sighting. We might soon hear the shrill of the base’s alert sirens followed by the sight of speeding trucks carrying frantic troops to their battle positions.

The radar operators would inform them that they had picked up nothing, and could not confirm that there was anything in the air at the time of the sighting. It was suggested to them that they file an Unidentified Aircraft Report, but the witnesses declined, wary of making such a report without any corroborating evidence to back it up. They sort of just tried to let it go and put it out of their minds, and in the meantime they took to watching the skies in the following weeks hoping to see whatever it was again. At first there was nothing, but then it seems as if the strange object made a reappearance 

My hopes of seeing it again began to fade after several weeks. However, just as I started to think the earlier sighting was just a onetime fly-by, I saw it again. Returning to my barracks from a second shift tour at the Communications Center, I decided to relax for a while. I sat in a chair on the second floor outside landing. Propping my feet up onto a railing, I began reminiscing about the first sighting. Since I was alone, the thought scared the hell out of me. Just before 1:00 a.m. I was about to call it a night when it reappeared. A craft similar to the type Frank and I saw one month earlier. In an instant, my mind switched from a relaxed state to one of “fight or flight.” My body froze and my adrenaline level skyrocketed. My hair hackled. My heart raced. I could not move my legs. My camera—I left it in my room. In my mind, I calculated the best course of action. There I was, sitting alone in the dark outside my barracks with no one else around, except–what? Common sense soon prevailed. No light beams were shooting down at me from the craft. It became clear that it took no notice of me and was moving northward away from my position. Thank God. After a few seconds, my brain regained control of my body and I was able to move my legs. I stood and took the next logical step, I ran like hell. Sprinting down the long hallway to the center of the barracks to get to the stairs, I thought it best not to look back. I did not.

He wasted no time at all in contacting the control tower, after which three different radar sites scanning the island’s airspace were checked. Once again, no radar confirmation could be obtained, and he was told that there had been nothing in the air as he had described. Once again he was told to fill out a report, and once again he declined to do so, thinking no one would believe him without proof. In the end, we are left without any real proof for any of them, and we are left to wonder. What was going on here? Why were these seemingly otherworldly forces drawn to these places? Is there anything to this at all, or is it all misunderstandings and figments of the imagination? It remains to be seen. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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