On the night of November 18th, 2009 I saw about 20 light pillars in the sky above Mihonoseki, Shimane, Japan. It was very strange, I originally thought it might be Aurora, but researching it proved otherwise. They lasted about 2 hours, unfortunately my camera wouldn't pick them up.
An Internet search brought to light that there are no petrochemical works or gas wells in the prefecture of Shimane that may have caused these light pillars. A more likely possibility therefore is that the pillars were the reflections of bright lights attached to fishing boats (see Section 4 and in particular the black and white photo taken from Fukui showing a group of light pillars caused by a fleet of fishing boats).
We sent Mr. FAULKNER a map of the sighting location and asked him if it would be possible to indicate the direction in which the lights had appeared and give us an estimate of their elevation angle.
Mr. FAULKNER responded right away. Below is the Google Earth image which he returned to us followed by some explanatory notes:
The red X is where I was, the green X is where my friend was and he saw them also. (approx 10 miles away from me) The yellow X's are about where I saw them, about 30 to 40 degree angle. The northern horizon was also pretty bright. In Japan the air gets hazy quite often, not quite cloudy that night but I couldn't see any stars to the north. I could see stars straight up and to the south though. The temperature on the ground was about 5 degrees C.
The black and white picture was almost exactly what I saw, I was thinking it was from fishing boats, since Sakaiminato harbour is the 8th largest fishing port in Japan (I think).
Although I didn't see any pillars close to the horizon, there is a small mountain in the way.
This additional data provided by Mr. FAULKNER pretty much confirms the idea of fishing boats using bright lights to lure squid into their nets.