The appearance of a mysterious white object in the sky over northern Japan on Wednesday (June 17) set social media ablaze, with speculation ranging from UFOs to coronavirus and North Korean propaganda.
Images shared by social media users showed a white balloon-like structure floating in the atmosphere, seen from the Sendai and Murata areas in Miyagi prefecture.
Officials in the Sendai Weather Bureau said it had appeared near dawn and hung in the sky for hours, largely unmoving, until obscured by clouds.
The debate became the third most trending topic on Japanese Twitter, with one user suggesting it could be spreading coronavirus and comparing the feeling of unease to Godzilla suddenly appearing.
Police could not be immediately reached for comment and a Sendai government official said inquiries were still proceeding.
“We have absolutely no idea what it is,” said a weather bureau spokesman, declining to give his name. “It may be some kind of weather monitoring equipment, but it definitely isn’t ours.”