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UFOs in the daily Press:

Fireball in Japan, January 2003:

This article was published in the daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, on February 7, 2003.

February 7, 2003

Great balls of fire, is that a UFO?

Observatories throughout western Japan were swamped overnight with calls from people claiming to have spotted a UFO, the Mainichi learned Friday.

Dozens witnessed the phenomenon at around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night, and though what they saw may have shook their nerves, there was little need for them to rattle their brains as it appears to have been great balls of fire caused by a falling meteor or comet.

Moving from west to east across the sky, the initial fireball split into three before disappearing.

Courtesy of the Tokushima observatory.
A ball of fire, filmed by an automatic camera at the Tokushima-Minami Observatory Thursday.

"It was white at first and then turned yellow. It was like watching the headlights of a truck from a long distance. I thought it must have been a meteor, but I was shocked as I'd never experienced anything like this before," said Yoshitaka Hazenoki, a member of the board of education in the Wakayama Prefecture city of Arita.

Shinya Narusawa of the Nishi Harima Observatory in Hyogo Prefecture's Sayo told of receiving many reports about the phenomenon.

"We've received information of sightings in Tanegashima (Nagasaki Prefecture)," he said. "For the moment, we think it was a meteor that dropped into the Pacific Ocean."

Observatories around Fukuoka also reported seeing the flaming balls of fire streaming through the sky. Fukuoka Observatory officials said the fireballs were either a meteor or comet.

Reports from Kitakyushu of a bright red light with a tail traveling across the sky in an easterly direction over Kitakyushu were also forwarded to the Mainichi.

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This page was last updated on February 7, 2003.