The Fukushima-based International UFO Institute says it recorded 452 sightings over the past year
The privately-owned International UFO Institute, which was established in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima in the summer of 2021, shared the results of its first year of operations on Saturday.
The institute is headed by Takeharu Mikami, the editor-in-chief of Mu magazine (which covers supernatural phenomena and occult mysteries), and operates in Fukushima's Iinomachi district.
The area has long been famous for UFO encounters around Senganmori mountain.
Mikami told journalists that his researchers have so far registered 452 UFO-like sightings over the past year - 125 of which are backed by photos, and 24 others by videos.
YouTube / International UFO Research Institute
All of the materials have been analyzed with the use of special software to ensure they are not fake, he said.
However, only a handful of the images have been released to the public. They capture what looks like saucer-shaped objects of unknown origin in the skies.
"It is not a bird; it is likely a UFO," Mikami said, commenting on one of the pictures.
The authorities have put a lot of effort into promoting Iinomachi district as the home of aliens in Japan.
The local UFO Fureaikan Museum, which works with Mikami, has a collection of around 3,000 documents and other materials on the topic. Over the past year, the number of visitors has grown by about 1.6 times.
There are also plans to attract visitors to the area with a parade featuring people dressed as aliens.