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A research facility on UFOs will open later in June in the city of Fukushima, in hopes that the truth behind the unidentified flying objects witnessed around the world can finally be uncovered — and that the facility will become a new tourist attraction.

On June 24, the research facility will open inside UFO Fureai-kan, a center devoted to UFOs. The research facility will analyze witness reports, plan events to lure UFOs to Fukushima Prefecture and create a network of researchers at home and abroad. The center is located in the town of Iino, which is known colloquially as a “UFO town.”

The move comes amid growing attention on UFOs in the United States.

In May, a former U.S. Defense Department official in charge of military intelligence operations made headlines when he said the mysterious crafts are real. The Pentagon is scheduled to deliver unclassified reports on UFOs to Congress later this month.

Takeharu Mikami, editor in chief of monthly magazine Mu, which features supernatural phenomenon, will head the UFO research facility and 30 local residents will help out.

A website for the research facility will be available from its launch to gather photos, video footage and other information on UFOs, and later compile an analysis. It will also hire foreign staff to handle inquiries from abroad.

There have been reports of illuminated flying objects in the town of Iino since around the 1970s. For that reason, the UFO facility is planning events that focus on ways to attract UFOs.

Commenting on the reason behind the number of local witness reports in the past, UFO Fureai-kan suggested that Senganmori mountain, which is shaped like a pyramid, may be attracting them, and that the area has strong magnetic fields that can interfere with the use of a compass.

Members will walk around Senganmori mountain to see if there are any clues there. The project will be funded by Fukushima Prefecture.

UFO Fureai-kan was founded in 1992 as part of project to boost the local economy. The center is owned by the city and run by a public entity. It attracts about 30,000 visitors annually, and houses about 3,000 documents and other materials donated by the late Kinichi Arai, a UFO researcher.

June 24 is dubbed “UFO Day,” after what appeared to be the first-known UFO was spotted in the U.S. in 1947.

This section features topics and issues covered by Fukushima Minpo, the prefecture’s largest newspaper. The original article was published June 13.

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