A mysterious white balloon-like object was spotted hovering over the skies of northern Japanese city of Sendai on Wednesday morning, causing a state of panic among its citizens.
The unidentified flying object appeared to be attached to two crossed propellers and remained in the skies motionless for several hours. Social media was flooded with video clips of the mysterious object in the sky, with many trying to come up with an explanation for the balloon.
"This white thing isn't moving at all. What is it? Can anyone tell me?" wrote one user, with others chiming in using the hashtag "unidentified flying object" in Japanese. By afternoon, it was the third-most trending topic on Twitter in Japan with speculation about the flying object running rampant.
While some claimed they were being attacked by aliens others pushed the theory that the UFO was distributing North Koran propaganda or spreading the novel coronavirus.
According to Shinichiro Higashino, an associate professor at the department, a close-up image of the object suggests it was equipped with solar panels and may have been used to conduct scientific observations or monitor something.
Object Remains Unidentified
While the most logical and obvious explanation that came from users was that it could have been a weather balloon. A spokesperson from the Sendai bureau of the Japan Meteorological Agency said "the object looks like a balloon for monitoring weather, but it's not ours."
The spokesperson added that they "checked with the Sendai municipal government and the Self-Defense Forces, but they have no idea either."
In his daily press briefing later that day, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also denied any knowledge of the balloon's origin but dismissed theories suggesting it might be the work of a foreign government or capable of causing damage.
Local police also flew a helicopter to investigate the balloon but could not identify the object even after consulting with other authorities and organizations. Kyushu University's aeronautics department also publicly denied the device belonged to them.
While the origin of the floating object continues to remain a mystery, it has been drifting over to the Pacific Ocean, where authorities have lost track of it.