For more than a year, international news sources and countless UFO enthusiasts have anticipated the July, 1996 opening of a well-funded "UFO Museum" in the city of Hakui, Japan. Promotional information about the museum had been unequivocal: the museum was intending to present a wide variety of exhibits pertaining to the reality of UFO phenomena and close encounters between humans and aliens. Stories in the mainstream press said the Japanese government had provided the equivalent of $60 million worth of funding for the museum project. Coinciding with the museum's opening, a symposium was planned that was to feature a number of well-known UFO researchers as guest speakers.
On June 12, 1996, a strange announcement was issued by Teleport USA, a Los Angeles-based provider of banking and promotional liaison services between the City of Hakui and the United States. Previously, personnel at this office had spoken enthusiastically about the museum and had actively promoted US tourism to the opening symposium. Suddenly, however, the symposium was canceled, and the reasons given were vague at best. The statement from Teleport USA read as follows:
To whom it may concern:
RE: Cosmo Isle Hakui Museum
We regret to inform you that the Cosmo Isle Hakui Museum Symposium scheduled for July 19 - 21 and the Tour that was set for July 16 - 23 has been canceled. At this late stage in time, it is very unfortunate that for political and bureaucratic reasons this symposium has been canceled. There is opposition and controversy regarding the usage of the word UFO and some of the material that was set to be displayed. Museum officials have decided that now is not the appropriate time to hold this symposium.
Museum officials are looking to reschedule the symposium at a later date. Since no official statement has been made about the Grand Opening, it is anticipated that it will open July 1. Please be aware that The Opening Ceremony is by invitation only.
Thank you for your understanding.
When CNI News contacted the office of Teleport USA, we learned that the museum did open as scheduled on July 1. We asked for more information about what pressure, if any, might have caused the museum to remove or delay its intended UFO exhibits. Spokesman Tetsu (Ted) Matsuo alluded to "election year" concerns among local officials in Hakui, but would not elaborate. He also said the symposium might be rescheduled when "more of the desired speakers" were available. He refused to comment on the allegation, already circulating on the internet, that pressure from U.S. officials might have derailed the museum's plans.
In a later phone conversation, another Teleport spokesperson said that the mayor of Hakui was fighting for re-election and was worried that the subject of UFOs might worsen his chances. According to this spokesperson, the Hakui city council cancelled the long-scheduled UFO symposium at the last minute, costing Teleport USA enormous difficulties and substantial financial loss. However, this spokesperson said that Hakui city officials have already inquired about rescheduling the symposium. Furthermore, "there are probably several UFO exhibits in the museum now." However, this spokesperson, though very close to the project, has not visited the museum since its official opening and could not be certain that any UFO material is on display.
Meanwhile, ISCNI*Flash has learned from another source that the "UFO Museum" might have been an elaborate fiction created by wishful thinkers, and probably never had any backing from the Japanese government.
Even published information faxed to the Flash by Teleport USA indicates that the museum's entire focus was on mainstream space exploration, heavily weighted to the U.S. space program, with little or no emphasis on UFOs.
But a much clearer picture of the real situation emerged from a report sent to the Flash in early August by Mr. Jun-Ichi Takanashi, chairman of the Japan UFO Science Society. From Mr. Takanashi, we learn that a self-styled Hakui museum spokesman named Johsen Takano may have been responsible for creating an unwarranted international anticipation of a "UFO museum" that would never become reality.
With thanks to Mr. Takanashi and the Japan UFO Science Society, excerpts from their report, titled "So-Called 'UFO Museum' and Mr. Johsen Takano" follow.
"The much publicized 'UFO Museum' in Hakui City, Japan, has opened on July 1, 1996, as scheduled... but it turned out to be an ordinary space museum.
"It has never been called UFO Museum in the district [of Hakui]. Only Mr. Johsen Takano, an officer in charge of land planning in the Hakui City municipal office, called it so abroad. It has always been called 'Space Museum' in the city, and it was changed to 'Cosmo Isle Hakui' at the end of 1994.
"This 'UFO Museum' was publicized as 'the beginning of a very important government program following adoption of a new policy to educate the Japanese people about the UFO phenomenon within the next three years' in the Fall 1993 issue of the Circle Phenomenon Research International Newsletter, as the result of a conversation between Mr. Johsen Takano and [British crop circle researcher] Colin Andrews. It caused a worldwide uproar of doubts and comments from all serious UFO researchers.
"But, it was a total laughing stock for all Japanese UFO researchers. We have never known our government's interest in the UFO subject -- there was absolutely no inkling of such interest on the part of our government in the past. Perhaps Mr. Takano expressed his own interest or his small town's interest in UFOs as government interest... and Colin Andrews was deceived, and by his naive or deliberate propagation of this false news, the world was deceived. Ever since, the world has been awaiting the opening of the 'UFO Museum,' but that proved to have been a dream."
Takanashi's paper goes on to describe an apparent effort on the part of certain Hakui city officials to draw tourism to the small (population 27,000) and rather out-of-the-way village by establishing Hakui as "the town of UFOs" in Japan, somewhat as Roswell, New Mexico has done in the United States. Takanashi pointed out that many cities and towns in Japan have museums dedicated to space exploration, a subject that is obviously very popular among the Japanese. After a successful "International Space and UFO Symposium" in 1990, Hakui officials evidently came to believe they could distinguish their own museum from the many others by adding the element of UFOs. However, that idea was dropped as the museum developed -- but not before it had spread all over the world.
Takanashi says, "This was not the government's plan, but the city's (Hakui's) own plan, and it now appears that they have failed in such endeavor miserably... And it appears that the town has already given up the policy to utilize the UFO subject as the special attraction to lure visitors to this remote community."
ISCNI*Flash sincerely regrets that "Japan's UFO Museum" is not at all what we had anticipated. We admit we wanted it to be true -- and we still do. If Japan is not ready to build a truly serious UFO museum, then let it happen somewhere else -- hopefully the United States, among other places -- and soon!
Original file name: .CNI - Hakui Problem
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