Japan's Raelians hold parade to celebrate human clone births

Members of the Japanese branch of a cult that claims three human clones have been born since December held a parade Sunday in Hiroshima to celebrate the alleged births of the world's first cloned babies.

About 60 members of the Raelian Movement marched 3 kilometers from JR Hiroshima Station in the western Japanese city's Higashi Ward to the Peace Memorial Park in Naka Ward, holding up banners that expressed congratulations at the births.

Clonaid, an affiliate of the pro-human-cloning Raelian cult, said in Florida on Dec 27 that the world's first human clone, a baby girl named Eve, had been born. The Dutch branch of the cult later said a Dutch lesbian had given birth to a second cloned baby.

Then in Washington in late January, the group said that the world's third human clone, a Japanese baby boy, had been born in Japan.

Clonaid's claims, however, have been widely greeted with skepticism and ridicule as it has yet to provide any proof of the three alleged births.

The Raelian cult was founded by Claude Vorilhon, a Frenchman who claims he was contacted in 1973 by 1-meter-tall, pale green aliens emerging from a flying saucer near the town of Clermont-Ferrand. Vorilhon who later styled himself "Rael" says they told him, in fluent French, that human beings were created by aliens through genetic engineering.

A Japan-based press official for the cult said that the group has 55,000 followers in 84 countries and that Japan has the largest number of followers at about 6,000.